celebrating the season

Every year I promise myself that I will not get stressed out, I will spend less, do less and try to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Every year I always end up stressed out, feeling guilty about how much I've spent, feeling sick about how much stuff my children have, and wishing I would have focused more on the Savior's birth.

This year, more than ever, I knew our Christmas needed to be different. I began noticing some warning signs in my children that they were becoming spoiled brats. I don't need to go into the ugly details, but it was bad. Not to mention, they really had a hard time thinking of things they wanted for Christmas because they already had more than they can keep up with. I decided that this would be the year I focused on Christ instead of Christmas.

I didn't do anything HUGE to make this Christmas different and I was probably the only one who noticed. Yes, I still bought plenty of gifts for our kids, family and friends. Yes, I still did all the normal parties and had lots of fun. The difference was simply in me. I changed my
FOCUS from Christmas to Christ and, because of this, I was changed!

I really enjoyed this Christmas. The entire month. I never once (not even one time) felt stressed or overwhelmed. As you all know, that's a Christmas miracle! I had house guests. I hosted parties. I volunteered at school. I made candy. I went shopping. The whole time, I simply enjoyed celebrating the season.

The end result. I strengthened my testimony in Christ and I felt the true Christmas spirit. My family was happier and my boys LOVED this Christmas every bit as much as the others. I had so many wonderful experiences this month because my focus was where it was supposed to be. For me, this has been my best Christmas ever.

Here are a few things we did that really helped me celebrate the season:

Tim spoke in church the Sunday before Christmas and my family came to support him. It made our Sacrament Christmas Program that much more special to have our family there.

It was fun delivering gifts to our neighbors. We made homemade candy with my Grandma (as we do every year). I decided this would be a nice and simple gift to give away. My boys love delivering these to neighbors and friends. It's so great to see them enjoy giving! This year we decided to shorten our giving list. We have so many wonderful people who live by us and we'd love to give to EVERYONE, but that's sort of getting impossible. We decided this year to just give to our neighbors, the kids teachers and a few friends.

I absolutely loved spending so much time with family. As you already know, I loved holding these babies almost every other day. The Christmas season would not be the same without endless amounts of family time.

I really wanted to give as much as we could this year. We were happy to help the Romans with a Sub for Santa. This was a great opportunity for our kids to help us give to someone else. Many of the other things that we do go unnoticed by the kids. In this case, our boys were able to pick out some clothes and toys for boys that were their same age. Not to mention, they loved being sneaky delivery elves!

Parker's preschool program was a highlight for me. It was so fun to hear Parker singing Christmas music all month long. He even taught a song to Payton. I would constantly hear my boys singing and humming to themselves. Parker's Christmas Program turned out really nice. His teacher taught them sign language to Silent Night. It was so precious! They were lucky to have Santa join them at their party this year. My Mom and Sister were able to come and watch.

I had many "payoffs" this holiday season, but one of the most special ones I discovered after Christmas. I was going through Payton's homework from school and found the following holiday writing assignment where they were supposed to write about wreaths:
I like wreaths because they are Christmas. I like Christmas because it is Jesus birthday and I like Jesus because if he didn't send us to this earth and he is a good person. We need to follow his example and do what he did. He is our Father. He is nice to us. We need to be nice around this time of year because it is Christmas time.

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Patty said...

WOW Brittany! Why can't I get through one of your beautiful readings without crying! I enjoyed this Christmas differently, too! I Loved the family time, the babies, Tim's talk, your creative house, Tim's creative basement, and most of all - watching, hearing your testimony! Thank you!