Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Family FECS' Christmas Traditions


I have made a post on Danish Christmas tradition and some great ideas on Christmas traditions for Christians that I have found on the internet:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/keeping-christ-in-christmas.html
http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/danish-christmas-traditions.html

After going through them, I have picked out those that we wish to keep for our family. Those which we didn't manage to do this year are highlighted in red as a reminder for ourselves next year:

During the month of December...

1. Create an Advent Calendar with 24 days of Christmas that contains a challenge that is fun and educational and activities that teaches your child to give share and include the biblical meaning of Christmas. Here is my post on making Advent Calendar:
http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/making-advent-calendar.html

Danish Advent calendar - julekalendar
2. Building up the Nativity scene


3. Set up a Nativity scene without Baby Jesus in the crib to begin with.

Whenever you catch your child doing something nice or doing a chore without being asked, put a colored cotton ball on top of the crib. Whenever he creates trouble, make him take out one colored cotton balls. On the day of Christmas Eve, count how many colored cotton balls remain before placing Baby Jesus on the crib to complete the nativity scene. Your child gets to exchange the cotton balls for Christmas cookies (e.g. Danish pebernødder) to be shared with his friends.

4. Count down Christmas with books.

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/christmas-books-for-children
http://simpleasthatblog.com/2013/11/family-tradition-christmas-book-countdown.html

5. Decorate our home with Christmas star flowers.


6. Decorate the window with Danish Christmas orange and clove.





7. Light the Danish calendar candle to count down the 24 days of Christmas.


8. Light the Advent candles, one for each week. We mount 4 candles at the top of our Christmas tree as our Advent candles.



9. Buy a pine cone and wait for it to open up for the pine nuts.

 

10. Go to the forest or look in your garden to find the nature's raw materials (acorn, moss, pine needles, etc.) to make Christmas decoration adorned with a calendar candle for 24 days of Christmas.


11. Make Danish Christmas wreath


12. Decorate door with Christmas wreath


13. Wear Christmas hat at home, in kindergarten and in school.

14. Participate in a Christmas play.


15. Serve Clementines. The best time to buy them when they are the sweetest is in Beginning to mid December. It cost 25 DKK per wooden crate from Netto.


16. Crack yourselves Christmas nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts... etc. unshelled)


17. Possibly house-lighting, then step out of the front yard to watch together.

18. Visit Christmas market at Tivoli.


Givings at Christmas...

We have not done so well in this area yet, which we hope to improve.

19.  Bring a less fortunate kid out to see Christmas market:

http://www.frivilligjob.jobbank.dk/job/34463/familiekurser-med/frivillige-til-familiekurser-med

20. Serve Danish Christmas salad

You can make Danish Christmas salad with red cabbage. There is a recipe here:

http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/crispy-red-cabbage-salad/

21. Bake pebernødder or gingerbread men cookies for grandparents, neighbours, etc.




22. Decorate cookies together.


23. Make Danish Christmas marzipan chocolates for grandparents, neighbours, homeless shelters, etc.

 

More pictures here:

24. Practice singing Christmas carols together and go house to house or children's home singing carols together.

25. Encourage your child to write a letter to grandparents telling them he loves them and what he wants to do in the next year.


26. Make a hamper filled with food and goodies. Place a note to the family/people you would like to give to and tell them of the things they did which you are grateful for. We made a hamper for J's teachers from his kindergarten.

27. Let your child shop for kids in his age group (3-5 gifts each) and give to the children at the children's home.

28. Make a hamper filled with food, bread, household items, etc. with a note to a welfare home, children's home or old folk's home. End the note with, "Love, from the Phantom Family"

29. Project Phantom with Christmas cookies with a card, "Love, from the Phantom Family." or "The Phantom Family strikes again!" Ring the door ring and run like wildfire. The thrill of being annoymous, plot, drama and mystery will make a great adventure. It will also teach your children the principle of anonymous service and integrating it into your family life.

During the week before Christmas...

30. Give up a meal, fast and pray during that time instead for the poor and the hungry in the world or cook a meal for the less fortunate.

31. Conducting our Weekly Family Meeting Night in candle light.

32. On the Sunday before Christmas, get up early to make pancakes, croissant with ham and cheese, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed apple/orange juice for breakfast. Then read from the story of Luke 1:30-35, 2:1-20 and Isaiah 7:14, 9: 2-7.

33. Attend the Christmas service together as a family at church.

On Christmas tree...

34. Buy a potted Christmas tree plant instead. Then plant it after Christmas in a forest or in our backyard.


35. Decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments that point to Jesus such as shepherd's staff, star, manger, etc. and explain how each item reminds us of Christ:

The lights - Jesus, the Light of the world
The tree - the Cross
The gifts - God's gift to us

We use the iron bead artworks from our Little FECS for the sheperd's staff, star, heart and the letters "J E S U S". But we are still missing the cross.



36. I got the idea here. Put a set of 24 Nativity-themed ornaments into the Advent Calendar. Each night let our Little FECS to take one out and hang on the Christmas tree. Then read the Bible that tells that part of the Christmas story. Sometimes it only takes two minutes, sometimes we add the reading of a Christmas story book that complements the scripture from that day. It is a great way to tell the story of Christmas. It is at the end of the day, and it reminds our child of what Christmas is really all about, as he goes to bed. 

On Christmas presents...

37. We open the presents earlier on Christmas eve so that the children can concentrate fully on the Christmas story from the Bible and Jesus' birthday on Christmas day.

38. Hide one of the presents, and place an envelope with a clue where to find the present under the Christmas tree instead.

39. Open present one at a time so that everyone can see what everyone got and we can all thank each other. It is much more meaningful than everyone ripping open gifts at once.

40. Tell why we give gifts too - because God gave to us and we want to love others. Explain that Jesus was the reason for Christmas. Because God sent His Son as a gift to us, we could also share gifts with others.

41. One of the gifts will be a new PJ that they will go to sleep on Christmas eve :-)

On Christmas Eve 24th...

42. Wear Christmas hats.

43. Read the birth of Christ from Luke 1:30-35, 2:6-8 and Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 at bed time, if you didn't manage to do so during the Christmas party.

On Christmas Day 25th...

44. In the morning, read the nativity story from the gospel of Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 and Matthew 2:1-11 from our bed. If your kids can read, have them read some of the verses too.

45. Put on Christmas carols and lit the Christmas tree in remembrance of Jesus being the light of this world.

46. Make tomato or carrot soup, bake buns, make pancakes, ham and cheese croissants, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed apple/orange juice for brunch. You can find the recipe here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/tasty-quick-easy-carrot-soup-made-with.html


47. Place the nativity scene on the coffee table and make and record a Christmas play from the nativity story from Luke 2.



 
25 Dec. 2014 (5Y9M20D)

48. Go for a long walk in the forest or park together and take the local train back to enjoy the scenery.





49. Lit the candles on the Christmas tree, dance and sing carols 'Away in a Manger' around it. Some youtube videos to the song:

http://youtu.be/FnVorT14i4I
http://youtu.be/9v8vBmbGlis
http://youtu.be/AnwO_0DrpCk
http://youtu.be/Guq-iP5jcf0?list=RDGuq-iP5jcf0



50. Read a Christmas story book with pictures from the gospel of Luke and Isaiah and let your child "read it."

51. Talk about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas.

52. Pray for time together and a special blessing on each one person.

53. Share stories about how God has worked in your life (that year). While the family is together during the holidays, use the time to share your personal stories about faith, redemption and life change. Also, reflect on the previous year and talk about how you have grown in your faith individually and as a family.

54. Watch a movie related to Christ and discuss the movie. We watched the movie "Jerusalem" at the Planetarium (http://planetariet.dk/oplevelser/det-sker/premiere-p%C3%A5-jerusalem). It cost 144 DKK per adult and 94 DKK per kid, and the movie tickets include entry to the museum. FDM card members get 20% off. If you watch the second movie on the same day, it is at half price of the original price.


Here are some videos on Jesus for children on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn0iwWrkgb0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH46G-n8ulA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbtMopFS49o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-16Ber1iLo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI2z_4fnAVc
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_the_Bible

55. Give up your beds and sleep on pretend hay - the floor together to remember what they have endured, as Mary, Joseph and Jesus did that first Christmas. Read a story on the birth of Jesus as you hit the "hay" :-)
30 Dec 2014 - Since I only thought of this idea after Christmas, it is too late for this year, but I have started to gather our "Pretence Hay" made from shredded paper little-by-little in time for next year :-)





On Boxing Day 26th...

56. Go through the toys and pick out the same number of toys that your child received to give away.

57. Hold a Family Retreat Day.

Look back at the year past: how is your family doing? What would you like to improve? What would you like to immortalize as memory?

Review  your family mission, goal and vision, are you meeting them? Is there anything to be changed?

Look forward to the new year: are there anything you would like to include or change as part of your family tradition....? What are the challenges for the coming year? What are the opportunities? Are there anyway you can improve to help other families, or to volunteer? How can we do better than the year before, in carving out time for volunteer work?

Take out the new year calendar, and start plucking in the dates for our family traditions and activities, before the new year begins.

58. Dry up your christmas tree, go to the beach and burn it on New Year's Eve. Incoporate the burning of regrets into this or:

59. Take out the Christmas tree from the pot and plant it to signifying a new beginning and a new life.

References:

http://simpleasthatblog.com/2013/11/family-tradition-christmas-book-countdown.html

http://joytotheheart.org/2014/12/09/5-ways-to-remember-luke-2/

http://momlifetoday.com/2014/12/family-traditions-keep-kids-pure/


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