December can be such a hectic month! For me the stress is toned down when I plan ahead and leave myself enough time to get things done. I truly want the month to be about heartfelt moments and traditions.
This weekend is about decorating and creating that "Christmasy" feel, to quote my 14 year old son. The same dear child who called to my attention today that "we all seem to get along better when the house is decorated for Christmas...see Mom you and I haven't argued once since the boxes started coming out"!
One tradition that has been a staple since the boys were very young begins the first day of December, "preparing Baby Jesus' bed with straw". (A tradition modified a bit from my own childhood)
We each do random acts of kindness through out our day (hold a door for some one, let a classmate have a turn on the swing, let someone get in front of us at the checkout line etc.) and then we join together at night and share what we did.
For many years we would pick a name of a family member in the home and have to secretly do kind acts for them. Turn down their bed, close the shades for the person who's job that was, take out the recycle bins for another family member etc. For each kind act we do, we each place a piece of straw in the manger. Our mission is that all our good deeds provide a soft place for Baby Jesus on Christmas eve, when we have a procession and place him in his bed.
It's something that has remained a constant through out the Christmas seasons for us. We are tossing around ideas for this year...thinking of mixing it up a bit.
Whatever we end up doing this year, just knowing we are all working towards the same greater goal of wanting to touch the lives of others warms my heart.