Its that time! Time to put up Christmas trees, deck the halls and sing Fa La La La La. Its time for twinkle lights, wrapping paper, crackling fires, frosty nights, wind chapped cheeks and red noses. Candy canes, Christmas cookies, Elves and SANTA!
The girls are totally in to Santa this year. TOTALLY. And their Scout Elf, Pip. We read our Elf on the Shelf book daily and every morning they are so excited to see what mischief that little elf has been up to overnight. Just ask one of them... They will gladly tell you all about it!
Santa is the greatest parenting tool ever. I'm probably going to get slammed for saying that, but whatever. He is my best friend about 11 months out of the year. You read that right, 11 months. None of this Santa is only for Christmas time bullcorn around our house! Starting about February, the girls are met with thought provoking questions such as, "Do you think Santa would be happy if you did that?" "Hmmm... Do you think Santa saw you hit your sister just now?" "Are you going to be on the 'Nice List' or 'Naughty List' this year?" Its not a magical fix all for crazy toddler/small kid behavior, but hey, if it helps, it helps :)
Along with making our Santa Lists, this year, I want to make more of an effort to teach the girls about the true meaning Christmas... The past 4 years, the focus has been on Santa and presents and all the hoopla that goes with it. This year, I hope to do a better job bringing home the message of Christ during the holiday season. Now, I am by no means super religious. In fact, shamefully, I'm what you would call a 'Easter Greek' (someone who only goes to church on Easter - Greek because I'm Greek Orthodox...) However, I do believe and I have my own ways of celebrating Him. I'd like my girls to have that too. I have a few children's books about Christ and Christmas I need to bust out and put in regular rotation and I think I have a DVD about the first Christmas, too. And maybe its time to invest in a Nativity Scene... How have you brought Christ back into Christmas in your family? <- You see that? See what I did there? I'm so clever ;)
One thing we do very well around Christmas time (and all year, really) is give back. We make a special point to make donations to various charities through out the year. Whether it be time, money or physical donations, we are happy to give. Working with charities is one of the big ways I celebrate Him; giving of myself to others. I, by nature, am a pretty selfish person, so the giving back helps me keep that part of me in check... Or at least I hope it does! Some of the programs we support are:
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
American Heart Association
John 3:16 Mission
I encourage you this holiday season, if not year round, to find a charity to support. Donating your time or money (even if its only $5!) really makes a huge difference! If you are not sure where to start, check out one of the charities I listed above. Obviously the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is my nearest and dearest for many reasons (read about that here) but all of the ones above are wonderful. A fun and quick way to spread a little Christmas Cheer and support a charity is to send a letter from Santa to your loved ones! Yes, I've mentioned before... I'll probably mention it in every post for a while. CFF Santa Letters is a special project that my office is working on this season, so its on my mind. If you have a minute, check out our CFF Elves' Blog and send someone a Santa Letter! Your donations to CFF make a direct impact on the lives of those living with CF, like the kids in this post. Don't know much about CF or know anyone with it? Check out one of our CF mom's blogs, A Little Hope from Oklahoma. Kristi is one of our most active CF moms and she documents her life, struggles and hopes for the future, with a son who has Cystic Fibrosis.
Here's to making a difference this Holiday! YAY!
Well, that is not where I intended this post to go... It was going to be a list of things the girls were asking Santa for this year... But hey, when the Spirit moves you, it moves you :)