Redesign on a Dime-Rustic Farmhouse Christmas Tree Stand
The tree is now ready to decorate and enjoy throughout the Christmas season without having it take up half your living room! Merry Christmas!
The tree is now ready to decorate and enjoy throughout the Christmas season without having it take up half your living room! Merry Christmas!
Is anyone else loving the #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign? I love it so much that I want to share it with those of you who may not have heard of it yet. Brighten your Christmas! #LIGHTtheWORLD
On the 1st of December I sat down with my kids and watched this video from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We loved it and hope you do too!
Throughout the month of November I thought a lot about the kind of person I am right now compared to the person I want to become. I have recognized some gaps! These thought gave me a greater desire than ever to become more consistently loving, compassionate, and kind. I have been considering different ways I can use my time, skills and resources to reach out and serve others.
When I saw this video I admittedly cried! The spirit that I felt as I watched Christ serving in such simple, yet loving ways, was a great reminder to me that service can be simple. It also reminded me of why Christ served. Jesus Christ served because of His love! He did not serve to make a political statement or to prove that He was just a really great guy. He did not serve because of others expectations. He did not serve for power or popularity. He served because of His eternal love for His Father in Heaven and for His Father’s children, us! I am so grateful for His service and the motives behind that service.
The #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign has given me a new perspective on how and why to serve. The last few days I have asked myself many times, “How would Jesus help this person?”, or “How would Jesus comfort this child?” I have A LOT of work to do to more consistently serve like the Savior. We all do! But I am excited to continue making attempts throughout this month and beyond. I know that Jesus Christ wants me to experience the joy of serving for the right reasons like He does.
Click here to learn more about #LIGHTtheWORLD
Click here for a calendar with 25 days of ideas to #LIGHTtheWORLD.
Click here for great videos of the life of Christ.
As the old saying goes, the best things in life are free. Allow me to share the last moment I was struck with this truth. I raised my eyes from my work at the computer as I remembered I was supposed to be keeping an eye on McKay and Hattie, two of my first grader “Grands.” Muted by the large picture window, I could still hear them giggling and calling out to each other. Ah…the simple life of a six-year-old! I peered through the glass that separated me from the carefree cousins. I could not see them, but I could see the results of their creative work. Framed in the afternoon sunlight, sitting on the backyard patio, was a box, along with seven brown paper lunch sacks stuffed with something. Hmmm… What are they up to? Time to find out!
I stepped out the back door, peeked inside the mysterious paper bags, and then scanned the park for the children. The two pals were having a perfectly joyful time filling my paper lunch sacks with fall leaves and pinecones. But to what end? The solving of that mystery came as I read the handmade sign that had been carefully glued to the front of the box.
The sign read:
Leves 4 Saile
1 $ per Bag
from Hattie and Mckay
The box, surrounded by bags stuffed with leaves, was sitting so that all passers by could see it plainly from the park. McKay and Hattie had gone outside to play and happened upon a very real treasure, so they decided to capitalize on it. They had set to work collecting beautiful leaves and pinecones in a park full of leaves and pinecones and then put them up for sale, clearly believing that surely someone would buy. Who could resist?
There was quite a “six-year-old” type uproar as the moms, who needed to move on with their day, arrived and announced that it was time to “clean up” and come in the house. “But no one bought our leaves,” they cried (literally)!
Feeling tender toward the young entrepreneurs, we each dug into our wallets, gathered several dollars, and purchased the bags of “nature.” The children could not have been more thrilled. I was a bit chagrined to realize I had not previously taken enough notice of the leaves to bring some in the house myself. It took two six-year-olds to bag them up and advertise them for sale before I notice what was beautiful, just outside my backdoor, and free.
As I moved on to the next part of my day I was reminded of the lyrics of the lovely song from the musical Oliver, “Who will buy this wonderful morning…who will tie it up with a ribbon, and put it in a box for me”
I also thought of the words the Lord spoke centuries ago through the prophet Isaiah, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). These words are a divine announcement that what we need to buy in this life, the things that will actually quench our thirst and fill our hunger for more and more and more, are free.
So, how do we “buy” what God gives to us for free? How do we buy a park carpeted with fall leaves, a sky twinkling with stars, the pinks and oranges and fiery reds of a sunset, the first snow of winter? We “come,” just as Isaiah instructed. We notice. We appreciate. That is what God requires. The exquisite things of this earth are not for sale, and they cannot be boxed, or bagged, or bottled for the future.
Even for a diehard Thanksgiving lover like myself, over the next few days orange and brown will be put away and Christmas red and green will be in style. The fall wreath will necessarily come off the door, and I will box up my simple fall decor. Once again it will be that time of year that is filled to the brim with stuff. And even though it may be “black Friday” or “cyber Monday” or “last chance Tuesday,” that stuff will cost money. But this year, though Christmas purchases will be part of my celebration, I want to buy all I can buy “without money and without price.” It is by far the free sounds, and sights, and stories, and gatherings, and loved ones, and most of all the love of our Savior that make this the most wonderful time of the year. I want to see what God and all the lovely people around me are so generously trying to gift me for free.
The children do not hang on to fall. They have all moved on. They know that God has moved on. He is decorating for Christmas! As of yet they have not bagged the snow that fell in the park this week and put it up for sale. But as I looked at three of them kneeling on the bench, and gazing out my picture window on the morning of the first snowfall, I knew I was looking at children who know how to buy without money and without price! The most wonderful things of the “most wonderful time of the year” or of any time of year, don’t cost a dime. The best things in life are free!
Holiday traditions at our house are quite a big deal. A few years ago we stumbled upon a fun new idea and decided to give it a try. It has quickly become a highlight of our Christmas season. This holiday tradition takes as long as you want it to, only costs a little gas money, involves every member of the family, and is sure to be a good time! What is this fun holiday tradition you might ask? It is a Christmas light scavenger hunt!A Christmas light scavenger hunt is simple and easy to do. Just print off this list below, jump in the car on a December night, and keep your eyes open for the items on the list as you drive around town.
Over the past few years we have done this Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt a few different ways so I thought I’d share each of them with you. For each game, here is a checklist of what you need and what needs to be done.
Print Here – Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt Printable
“The Family Night”– Simply load your family into the car, grab this list and a pen, set a timer, and away you go! Keep track of what you find along the way and add up your points. When your time is up go to a local donut shop or grab a cup of hot chocolate to finish off the night perfectly!
“A Little Friendly Family Competition”– Start by dividing your family up into two different groups. The year we did this we had a “girls” team and a “boys” team. Each team took a picture of the item we saw and then marked that item off the list. This was a timed event so we made a rule that for every minute a team was late they lost 1 point. That way everyone made it back to our “meeting place” on time. Once we added up the totals we then declared a winner! I am sad to say the girls team lost that year, but we had a great time! (The next time we play the game this way, the boys are going down!)
“Keeping up with the Joneses”– Last year we invited our wonderful neighbors to join us in a little friendly Christmas light scavenger hunt competition! This game also had a prize for the winning family so there was a fun little incentive to play for! This was a huge success and our kids had fun being all together as a family in the car but also loved having a little competition with the next door neighbors! Finishing off this friendly competition with a little treat would also be a perfect way to end the night!
“Street Race”-This year we plan on doing our Christmas light scavenger hunt on a bigger scale. We will be gathering our neighbors that live on our street to join in our fun tradition. For this competition, we will award the winning team with the Neighborhood Christmas Light Scavenger Light Trophy! (I think I will go to our local thrift store and get a trophy to decorate with Christmas lights. This way we can use it year after year!) We will end the night with cookies, hot chocolate, and some possible sharing of scavenger hunt highlights!
I can’t wait to share this tradition with our neighbors and hope that you also find a night in the next few weeks to get out with your family for a little Christmas light scavenger hunt fun!
I am linking up to Kendra’s blog where she is sharing her Minivan Express family activity that they do. Click HERE to see it. This would be another great thing you could do along with the Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt!
The words “family tradition” and “Christmas time” go hand in hand at our house and I’m sure it does at your house as well. My kids look forward to many different family traditions we do throughout the year, but the ones we have at Christmas time seem to bring the most excitement to our home! I can’t wait to share a favorite family Christmas tradition we have with you!
After our first child was born we thought it was important to start creating some family traditions and we knew the Christmas season was the perfect time to start. One December afternoon my aunt and I met up at the mall to help me get out of the house with my newborn baby and to help me with my “cabin fever”. On our outing we headed into a Christmas store. While we were in the store, she shared with me a tradition that she and her husband had started in their family the year before. On Christmas Eve, they give their children an ornament that has something to do with the child’s interests over the last year. This has now become a long-lasting Christmas tradition at our house and one that tops the list of family favorites!
On Christmas Eve after the festivities are done and kids are snuggled in their pajamas we gather as a family around the tree. We read the story of the Nativity from the New Testament, unwrap and read a new Christmas book (another family tradition), and then each child unwraps their Christmas ornament and hangs it on our family tree. The kids love seeing what my husband and I pick out for them to represent them for the past year. We also started including an ornament for my husband and me each year to “unwrap” on Christmas Eve. It’s usually something from a trip we took together or as a family or something big that happened at our house over the past year.
So how do I find the ornaments for each child you might ask?!?
Throughout the year we keep a mental list of things our children have learned (like riding a bike), sports they have played, TV shows they love, hobbies they like to do, places they have gone, or anything else that will remind them of that year in their childhood. We have also used milestones like baptism, school events, scouts, etc. I find it helpful to look through our pictures on our computer to help spark some different ideas for each child.
Now comes the time for the ornament hunting. We have found ornaments in all kinds of places. I keep my eyes out at all the big box stores throughout the early Christmas season, shop online, go to specialty Christmas shops, and craft stores. I know this might sound like a lot of different places but those are places I usually go while I’m getting my regular Christmas shopping done anyway. Usually with each child I have two or three different ornament ideas that would work for them and that way I’m not limited to finding one particular ornament. I have had to get a little creative over the years if I can’t find an ornament that works. For example, I have used small toys like Legos and figurines, used small picture frames, and even handmade an ornament or two. Also, don’t forget to write the year on the back or bottom of the ornament so that your child will remember what year they received each ornament.
Each of our children has their own box that keeps their ornaments safe and organized when not on the tree. Opening their boxes and decorating the family tree is a highlight for them. I love to hear their excitement when they rediscover ornaments and hear them laughing about things they used to love and have since “grown out of”. It’s a little look down memory lane for them and a way to keep memories of their childhood alive even though they are growing up faster than I ever imagined! As they get older they will accumulate a box full of their memories to take with them when they leave the nest. This can be a perfect start for their own family Christmas tree. Luckily I’m not quite there yet with my little ones and I will cherish the moments that they have been decorating our family tree together!
I’m sure you’re probably saying to yourself “my kids are all different ages now and I didn’t start this when they were babies so how can I start now?” That doesn’t matter! Start now, you won’t regret it. There are lots of memories still to be made and this is a great way to capture them!
Christmas traditions have always had a special place in my heart. I look forward to each of them with excitement as the Christmas season draws near. I know the traditions we create now will be the memories our children cherish in the future.
What is a Christmas Tradition you love to do with your family?