By: Jennifer Murray

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like a 1st Christmas…..

It’s (finally) beginning to look a little more like Christmas at the Murray house. So I haven’t started Christmas shopping and the Christmas card isn’t complete, but it will all come together…..I just don’t want to get lost in the “to-do-list” and loose the joys of our 1st Christmas with the boys.

Another first: The boys’ 1st SNOW! This morning we woke up to a blanket of snow in Indiana.

Over the weekend, the boys watched their 1st Christmas movie: A Charlie Brown Christmas! It’s a required tradition in our house to view this timeless holiday classic at least once during the season. It gets me every time I hear Linus’ little voice quoting the Christmas story.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Linus is so right! Speaking of traditions….We would LOVE to hear some of your favorite family Christmas traditions. I’d love to compile some of my favorites for a future post – so maybe your family’s tradition will make it on the list or perhaps be incorporated into our family Christmas! Send us a comment or an email to quatro_mama[at]yahoo[dot]com

I can’t wait to hear all of your personalized ways that you celebrate this season!

35 Responses to “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like a 1st Christmas…..”

  1. Anonymous
    December 5, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Sooo cute!! .. I love charlie brown!!

  2. ASHENFELTERS
    December 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm #

    Well, I have so many trditions I love about christmas.But one that we more recently started comes to mind.I have been concerned about how much Jesus’ birth has become all about the presents.So we have started a new tradition,to minimize the gifts and give them more meaning.We do 3 presents in honor of the gifts given to baby Jesus.#1.Gold-we give them 1 thing that they have REALLY wanted.
    #2.Frankincense-something for their bodies,such as clothes,perfume,lotion..ect.
    #3.Myrrh-something for their spiritual life,such as a bible,study books or for my little kids,c.d.s with christian music.Wow, this message is really long.I think I am done!:)

  3. DJones
    December 5, 2007 at 2:46 pm #

    we also have to do the Charlie Brown Christmas…and all the classics. my kiddos love them also.

  4. Anonymous
    December 5, 2007 at 3:13 pm #

    One tradition we have is on Christmas Eve we each open 1 present, which is always new pajamas for the Christmas morning pictures. Then we all put our pj’s on and each person in my family reads one book from a collection of stories- How the Grinch Stole Christmas; The Gift of the Magi; The Polar Express; Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus; and The Night Before Christmas. It is always so fun….and my mom and I always need a box of tissues!! 🙂

    Emily Fay

  5. Amy from Occupation: Mommy
    December 5, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I made a Christmas tree skirt from a kit and put a plain white backing on it. Now every year each of our 3 girls stamps her handprint on the back on Dec. 26th. I then write each girl’s name and the year by her handprint. They LOVE seeing their tiny (gold ink) first handprint and their hands getting bigger and bigger (I then alternate red and green ink) each year. Enjoy your little blessings!

  6. Laura
    December 5, 2007 at 5:38 pm #

    We do a lot of things that everyone else seems to do like:
    Christmas Pj’s on Christmas Eve.
    Acting out the nativity.

    But my favorite and most unique one is a candle cermony (not really meant for really young kids). We all stand around the table (even extended family) and we go around and say why we love the person next to us and then light their candle. At the end we talk about how all our lights bring us together and about our love as a family. It’s one of my favorite times of the year and my children really love it too! It’s great for them to see love expressed this way.

  7. Jamy
    December 5, 2007 at 6:15 pm #

    My favorite tradition is spending Christmas eve with my grandparents. This orginally started out because my parents were seperated and my grandparents wanted to give us their presents first but over the years it became something that we all treasured…

    We always go early and play board games in the afternoon and during this time there is a “LOVE JAR” where you place slips of paper with something you have loved about this year… When we were young it kept us busy practicing our writing and as we got older it reminded us that christmas wasn’t about the gifts but the love that we shared.

    Then we have dinner, after dinner we open the presents that my granparents got for us and they open ours. It starts christmas off a little early but I can’t remember a time they ever got my siblings and I more than two gifts each (1 gift always being pajamas)… They always had more to open than we did because my siblings and I would each get them a gift.

    I look forward to contuing this tradition with my daughter… my grandparents and my mom on christmas eve each year.

  8. Sarah Reaves
    December 5, 2007 at 8:01 pm #

    Same tradition of PJs on Christmas eve. We also then take turns reading “The Night Before Christmas” before going to mass. After mass we drive around town looking at lights/decorations and drink hot chocolate! YUM!

  9. Tony & Jaimie
    December 5, 2007 at 8:54 pm #

    so true…too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays…don’t forget to stay home and enjoy the real reason for the season. 🙂 ok, sooo ONE of my many favorite traditions is the annual christmas morning picture in front of the tree. I just love looking back on our wild hair, crazy pajamas and now how our family has grown in the last few years. Move over the 5 of us kids in my little pony and incredible hulk pj’s…here comes 13 “kids” with coffee, glasses and old colts sweat shirts!

    JZ

  10. Amanda
    December 5, 2007 at 9:13 pm #

    One of my favorite traditions is to drive around on Christmas Eve and look at Christmas lights. Now that my son is 3.5 he gets so excited about all the lights. I LOVE seeing this time of year through his eyes. Makes it that much more magical!

    One thing I’ve started with my son is making cookies. Yes we leave them out for Santa, but the time he gets to spend in the kitchen just me and him is priceless and he remembers it.

    I also let him pick out an ornament every year for the tree.

    One thing my grandmother does is she gathers all the great-grandkids (used to be all the grandkids) around her and reads the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus out of the bible. It’s so great and you could hear a pin drop in that room when she reads it. Even the adults get teary eyed. 🙂

  11. BethE
    December 5, 2007 at 9:27 pm #

    My favorite Christmas tradition is making our own marzipan. You make the dough with almond dough, marshmellow paste, and confectionary sugar. Then you get to shape it into fruit shapes and paint it with foos coloring! Lots of fun and sooo yummy!

  12. Aimee
    December 5, 2007 at 11:43 pm #

    We live in Northwest Indiana, and the snow was marvelous!! 🙂

    Anyway, one of our biggest Christmas traditions is to go to Michigan the Saturday after Thanksgiving to a tree farm to cut down our tree! We make a day of it, and the kids love it!:)

  13. Veronica @ Luv My Quiver Full Of Arrows
    December 6, 2007 at 2:57 am #

    A friend of mine bakes a birthday cake for Jesus each year. It really helps the little ones understand the REAL reason for the season, and is a wonderful tool to share Jesus with extended family. We are going to incorporate it into your Christmas traditions now, too.

    We do the pj’s on Christmas Eve, too. I had not idea how many other people did that! I am going to adopt the picture in front of the tree with the crazy hair. Those pictures will be worth a million words when my 5 kids are meeting their future wives and husband. Priceless.

    Loved everyone’s ideas!!

    Veronica

  14. Veronica @ Luv My Quiver Full Of Arrows
    December 6, 2007 at 2:58 am #

    OOPS, I meant we are going to incorporate it into OUR Christmas traditions. Silly me :0)

  15. Wade's World
    December 6, 2007 at 9:06 am #

    Our church has a Vesper’s come-and-go service on Christmas Eve, and individual families can go to the front and receive the Lord’s Supper. My family is really small, so it is always quiet and personal, but last year I got to take my then 3 month old son with us to be part of it with us. It just meant so much to have my parents, sister and brother-in-law, husband, and son together remembering Jesus’ life. When we are finished, we all pile into the cars and go look at Christmas lights.

  16. Alice
    December 6, 2007 at 10:05 am #

    I have been a lurker for a while but wanted to share our Christmas traditions. We always have an advent calander. I take the baby Jesus from our manger scene and wrap him up and hide him in the house. The first thing we do on Christmas morning is find baby Jesus since it is suppose to be about him. We unwrap him to symbolize he is the best gift of all, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and then read the Christmas story. This year since our daughter is 2 1/2 we plan to take on a tradition from my mother-in-laws side of the family. Putting their shoes out and in the morning they are filled with candy or small toys. I love Christmas traditions.

  17. Anonymous
    December 6, 2007 at 11:00 am #

    I am not much on tradition but one thing I have done year after year since my daughter was born in 1995 is a special ornament. I know most people do a “baby’s first xmas” thing but this is a little different. It has become more of a collector’s set and something I can pass down to my daughter when she is old enough. I get mine from Figis (they have a website if you want to go and see what they look like) – theirs is a cute red-wagon ornament with the year printed on the side and then each year they change what is in the wagon. It is always a cute holiday theme. I actually had a shelf built so each year at Christmas I can display the ornaments without worrying about them falling off the tree.

    This is something that is simple to do and we look forward to seeing what the new ornament will look like each year.

    Happy Holidays from Dallas, TX.

  18. Lindsey
    December 6, 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    We always open a gift on Christmas eve – church clothes – then we wear them to the Christmas eve service at our church. It’s an hour of special Christmas music, congregational singing, and reading Christmas Bible passages. After the service, we drive around looking at Christmas lights.

  19. Anonymous
    December 6, 2007 at 12:45 pm #

    We really enjoy your blog, you have a beautiful family. Our family tradition is for our three daughters. Each year Santa brings them three presents to represent the three gifts that the Wise Men brought to the Baby Jesus. Our hope is that this will preserve the true meaning of Christmas. We also watch all the Christmas Movies, order pizza and decorate the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

    Have a great Holiday

  20. J
    December 6, 2007 at 2:27 pm #

    we have several traditions – like the other PP – new pj’s, advant calendar, birthday cake for Jesus, Christmas lights, new ornament every year put away for each child, Holiday videos – but we also do something else special.

    We save our Christmas cards we receive, after Christmas, we put them in a basket and for the next however many cards we have, we pull one out of the basket at dinnertime and pray for that family or individual who sent us a card. It extends the season a bit, remionds us to pray, and we get to enjoy the cards awhile longer.

  21. Anonymous
    December 6, 2007 at 2:44 pm #

    Really enjoyed the comment about A Charlie Brown Christmas. We were having Bible Study and were talking about the birth of Jesus. I mentioned how I love that part of the movie where Linus is reciting the Bible. They all think I’m crazy! I’m not to far from it!!! We were talking about next weeks Bible Study and I suggested watching A Carlie Brown Christmas. Again they think I’m nuts.
    As for tradition, we’ve done the pjs and the pictures in the morning, the grandfathers on Christmas Eve, he has passed on, so now it’s at our home with all the family and read from the Bible about the night that Jesus was born. We had a counter with pockets,I would fill them with kisses. It helped to pass the time while waiting for the big day.
    When we married, on Dec. 1st, we had to get everything for decorations. We bought or made ornaments for all the kids each year. When the time came and they had their own places they received their box of ornaments to start their tree. Fearing that day would come we bought an ornament for us each year so we would have some left. As we would put them on the tree it gave us a chance to talk about each year. One special one, I made, it was 2001. Just a small square painted blue with a waving flag with the words God Bless America. To remember the people who left us that year because of 9/11.
    May God Bless You this Christmas Season and let us not forget the true reason that we stop to celebrate…Our Saviors’ Birth.
    Lynn Stein

  22. Anonymous
    December 7, 2007 at 9:24 am #

    We do the Christmas card prayers all year too and we love it! We started celebrating St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6th) this year and we celebrate 3 Kings Day on Jan 6th (we make crowns and wear them at dinner and we each get a spiritual gift to end the season). We also keep our Nativity scenes up until Feb. 1st even when we have put everything else away….

  23. Adrienne
    December 7, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    I am originally from Louisiana, and my big family get together was on Christmas Eve. All of the different families went to church that afternoon and met up at my Granny’s house for dinner. We’d have gumbo and potato salad!! We would exchange presents with all of the cousins, but only after the kitchen was all clean! Then on Christmas morning my grandparents would make the rounds to all of our houses to see what we got from Santa! It was their way to have us all together for the holiday, but we could be home to enjoy our Santa presents.

  24. The Murray Crew
    December 7, 2007 at 3:49 pm #

    Love these! Keep ’em coming!
    Love,
    The Murray Crew

  25. Kiki
    December 7, 2007 at 7:11 pm #

    We just started a new tradition this year, a Jesse Tree. Every night, for a month before Christmas, we read a short (one page) story from the Bible. It starts in the Old Testament and ends with the birth of Jesus.

    We also do the pj’s and I kind of want to start the ornament one and definitely the card one, that is really cool!

  26. Jamy
    December 7, 2007 at 8:43 pm #

    Okay so I had to come back and add how we count down the days to christmas… Advent Style… We have a table top christmas tree that lives on the dinner table… Then we have a small box with tiny ornaments (24 + tiny angel), each evening for dinner we take one ornament from the box and place it on the tree, over the years things have happened to the ornaments and we enjoy laughing about each piece and it’s story as we place it on the tree. For instance when my brother was about 3 he colored all over the mini sled… every year we laugh at him and he gets embarressed again and again….

  27. Cindy Hamilton
    December 7, 2007 at 9:16 pm #

    This is a fairly new tradition in our family. When my niece and nephews were little it was always kinda crazy trying to go to Christmas Eve service so we started having our own. At first, I didn’t think I’d like the idea, but we all get involved. We all read different scripture verses, and the kids add the figures to the nativity scene one by one. We sing hymns including “Silent Night” by candlelight. Now that the kids are older we’re talking about going back to church for Christmas Eve, but I think I’ll miss our own family service.

  28. Angela
    December 8, 2007 at 12:05 am #

    One of my favorite Christmas traditions is before my family opens presents one of us always reads the Christmas story from Luke 2. It is a simple reminder that He is the reason we celebrate!

  29. Gretchen
    December 8, 2007 at 7:02 am #

    Jen,

    Josh and I have started the tradition of celebrating advent on the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. I wrote about it last week on my blog, but basically it’s a tradition that involves lighting candles, reading scripture and singing and directing our thoughts on the Greatest Giver as well as the Good Gift.

    I try to build Christmas activites around Advent — so I decorate at the beginning of Advent (like getting ready for his coming). I put out 4 candles by our manger scene and try to make that area look special and central (of course we have a tree, wreaths, etc as well!).

    I used to think Advent was a Catholic holiday, but I now I know many evangelical churches celebrate it as well and I cannot communicate how much it has shifted my focus at Christmas from the blessings to the Divine Blesser. As C.S. Lewis says you “follow the sunbeam back up to the sun” and not just thank Him, but adore One who gives so much out of His richness. How abundant He must be to bless us so!

  30. Anonymous
    December 8, 2007 at 9:02 am #

    This is such a fun post! I really enjoyed reading everyone’s special tradition and thought they were all so good!!
    Ill share a few of our favorites.
    We share the Luke chapter 2 with our kids before we send one family member on with a note that may say… Caleb, go look in the dryer. Once Caleb would claim his gift, he would run back to us and take the note off his present and give it to who the note is for, for example… now tell Joel to go search somewhere in his closet for his gift……and so on it goes. Sometimes all three kids go together and help each other. What we like about it is, it stretches out the time, and allows so much laughter, smiles, talks, sharing, helping and even exercise.:) The kids absolutely love it. You could even say something like, ok now Brooks, go look in the tub you attempted to climb in but got stuck and daddy had to come to the rescue. ha.:)
    Another one, we decorate cookies and together as a family, we deliver them to our local nursing home. The old people just love seeing the kids and its wonderful to see the kids interact with them. We never realized how lonely they can be on Christmas day, so that is so special for them to get some goodies from our kids. We havent left the nursing home yet without tears in our eyes. Theres just something special about old people that touches our hearts. This year, I was getting ready to make cookies, and two of our kids came up to me at different times and asked if we could take them to the old people again. I didnt realize they enjoyed it. Hey, just think of the Ahhs… and Ohhhhs… you’d hear as youd tug 4 wagons of love and cookies or candycanes and took them on a stroll throughout the nursing home. Oh, what a lovely sight that’d be to those lonely eyes.:)
    Ok, another one…I like to buy wooden orgnaments, you can get them at the craft section at Walmart for 88cents or something like that. They have trains, cars, airplanes, etc. I buy a different one each year and let the boys paint one and sign their name on the bottom, it makes cute, colorful orgnaments. What is special about them is it is their own painting, yet they are so adorable. I let them put them on their little tree in their bedroom. I plan to keep them when they move on, and tell stories to the grandkids about them.
    We also do the christmas card, picture prayer thing. Someone mentioned that earlier, taking one out and praying for them that day. Sometimes we forget, but its definitely a wonderful way to teach kids how to pray for others. We like to talk about how that family is special, hoping to teach the kids how to talk positive aobut others.
    I know this is getting long, so I better quit and let others have the room to share their ideas.:)

  31. Tricia
    December 8, 2007 at 9:06 pm #

    Hi Murray quad family–I’m a Texas lurker and mom to a two-year old and an 8 month old. Your boys are SO precious! We are a young family so our traditions are fairly new. The kiddos get one present on New Year’s Eve–new jammies. They sleep in their new jammies and then we all have some cuddle time in our big bed on Christmas morning. Then we open presents, have a big breakfast (cooked by daddy and his helpers), then play with presents until family comes. The jammies and big breakfast are the special tradition that I hope we will keep up and cherish as our family grows up. Enjoy all of the “firsts” and thank you for keeping your blogworld posted on your familiy. Reading your story makes me want multiples!

  32. Dovetail Dental
    December 9, 2007 at 1:04 am #

    hey! we have a tradition in our family where my mom and dad put out brand new coloring books and crayons out for Christmas morning. This gave us something quiet to do before waking up our parents:) as we got older they got us each coloring books that related to what we liked to do that year (for instance, on year I really loved precious moments so they got me that theme). even though we are all grown now, we still get special crayons and coloring books every year and believe it or not – we still color!

  33. Candace
    December 10, 2007 at 8:49 am #

    So every kids wants to open JUST ONE present on Christmas Eve, so for us that one present is new pj’s! And they get to wear them that night. Now Austin is not old enough about getting new pj’s, he just likes to rip open the package. Another tradition is that my family watches White Christmas on Christmas Eve, not before and not after. And we also have a candlelight service at chruch with communiton that we attend every year.

  34. nataliejo89
    December 10, 2007 at 3:31 pm #

    My parents never told us about Santa. So Christmas Eve was just a little different at the Shetler house. We dressed up as sheperds, angel, mary & joseph and put on our own little Christmas play. The angel was a very sought after part because you got to come down the stairs slowly shining a flashlight and say hark to the sheperds. Oh, the memories.

  35. Anonymous
    December 21, 2007 at 11:32 pm #

    A great idea that I discovered after my children were too old to appreciate it and that I can’t wait to share with my grandchildren when I have them:
    All children love to open gifts ahead of Christmas so, purchase 24 books about winter, Christmas, snow, etc and wrap them all individually. They don’t have to be new, you can shop garage sales, Goodwill or even borrow from the library. (just don’t forget to return them on time – there are those pesky fines!) Put them all in a basket or bag. Each night the kids open a “present” and have the story read to them. This is a great way to count down the days and foster a love of reading at the same time. Christmas Eve could be the Nativity story or The Night Before Christmas. If you own the books, pack them up for wrapping and reading next year. You can purchase more age appropriate books as the children grow.
    Emily Fay’s Mom. Lori

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