Over the years we have carved our own traditions and have made the Christmas season easier for me. Even before he died I didn't like them. All the rushing and arguing over silly things. The abundance of more stuff that you have no room for and the general feeling of selfishness really bother me. They always have but it has been just the last few years that I have come to understand it.
In Relief Society one year we had a lesson on traditions and carving your own. That one lesson made me really see what I needed to do. Instead of living traditions that weren't me, that I didn't understand, or only had vague memories of, we as a family should make our own. So that year was the first year we made a birthday cake for Jesus and from then on we have slowly added more traditions for our family.
Last year I really felt the need for change concerning our tree and this year we have set a balance that works. I wanted a more spiritual Christmas and to leave the world outside even more than we have been.
We started doing the Jesse Tree that I am sure many have seen on the net. I converted it to fit within our beliefs and bringing in more than what I found. Bringing in the Book of Mormon and just more. We dug through our ornaments and picked ones that would fit with each story some are odd like Spider Man is for Issac (it was an ornament for Yguy when he was little). We do have a handblown glass whale for Jonah. We plan on doing more with this over the year reworking the scriptures making an LDS version and making ornaments to fit the stories.
We also tossed the old Christmas tree and used garland this year instead. I like it very much and might keep it instead of a tree. I packed up all our stuff with Santa I just put them out because I had them or I just left them in the boxes. I sold all of it at a yard sale a couple weeks ago. I did keep the 2 collectors ornaments with Santa on a Harley they represent a time in our lives when we had a Harley and who we were.
I started putting the focus more on the birth of a child who changed the world and focusing on that has made a difference for me. When the kids were little we threw out the Santa notion and laid it all out to the kids they were so happy and excited that mom and dad were Santa instead of the thought of the stranger coming in the house with gifts. LOL We also narrowed the gifts to 3 representing the 3 the savior received as well as their stockings. As the kids have gotten older we have wanted to do more in the way of service and have some but I want to do more but Yguy wants his gifts instead. ;)
By making simple little changes the holidays have become a little easier for me. By keeping it centered on our family and centered on why we celebrate this season brings a new meaning for me and as the years go by I will learn and grow more into the true meaning of Christmas.
We started collecting this last year we always wanted a village and these were marked down. I don't know if we will add to it this year though.
Our Christmas garland is hung on an arch way between our living room and dining room. I usually hang cards on it but I hung them somewhere else this year. I made little grapevine wreaths from the wildgrape vines in our woods to hang the garland from.
This is something we have done for a long time, make ginger bread houses. This year we found this little village and did it instead. The kids worked on it yesterday.
I hope that all your traditions that you make in your own home are a comfort to you and yours and that this holiday season you have seen the reason for the season.