Papa Nevels has arrived home from work, settles in on the couch and the girls climb onto his lap for cuddle time. Zoe brings her baby doll “Abby” (which coincidentally she confiscated from Jada shortly after she received it for her 1st birthday). A fire is blazing in the background and the atmosphere is cozy, warm and peaceful.
…Momma Mina snaps a picture…
As they snuggle in close, Baby Jada reaches for “her baby doll” Abby… and Zoe snaps it back out of reach. It’s definitely not the first time that Zoe has played keep-away with Jada, but it was certainly one to remember.
…Mommy continues to snap photos trying to get the perfect picture, but instead captures this…
As Mommy watches a dejected Jada look longingly at the doll and then glare at Zoe, she exclaims to Papa Nevels:
Mommy: I’m going to have to get Jada a doll for Christmas.
Zoe: I want a Christmas Doll!
Papa Nevels: You already have a doll Zoe. You have Abby!
Zoe: No, that’s Jada’s doll! (She proceeds to hand over Abby to Jada)
Zoe: I want Christmas Doll! Get dressed? Go Outside?
Papa Nevels: No, we’re not getting a doll now. You’ll get one on Christmas. Not right now.
Momma Mina continues to photograph this incredibly funny scenario and manages to capture the response of a very disappointed Zoe who realizes that she won’t be receiving a Christmas doll that evening…
…and then without warning…
Zoe snatches back Abby and exclaims:
Zoe: Jada can have Christmas doll!
So maybe I could have simply re-told the story without the photos, but honestly, these fuzzy, grainy pictures are worth more than 10,000 words! Zoe is 2 years and 9 months and she has an understanding of what’s new and old, despite the fact that what she currently has in her possession has kept her happy and satisfied for months and months on end.
The holiday season is approaching full speed with all of its beauty, festivity and wonder, and with it comes a barrage of store advertisements, one -day deal coupons and long lines for products that otherwise might sit restless on the store shelves. As I think about what I want my daughters and my budding family to gain from this Christmas season, I realize that I want it to be more than just the temporary satisfaction of a Christmas Doll. I want to instill in them that the real meaning of Christmas is more than just the giving and receiving of gifts, even if it is for the needy. But that it is more about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and understanding what his birth means to us today.
And so without further adieu here are 5 ways that I’m going to ring in this holiday season:
1. Take the Nativity Scene off the Shelf!
What good are those figurines if they’re collecting dust on the shelf? Take them down to the carpet and start having fun with the kiddies! Bring out the farm animals, Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus and start explaining! Where were they going? How far did they walk? Was it cold outside? What gifts did the 3 wise men bring and why?
2. Books Books Books!
When you’re at a loss for words, you just can’t go wrong with a good book or two. Bedtime is a great time to slip in the true meaning of Christmas and without the dreaded “listen and learn” attitude. Every kid loves to prolong the time between play and bedtime. Here’s a great way to meet in the middle.
3. Sing out!
Music is the best teacher…and I’m not just saying that because I’m a singer! It really is! Even now, I sometimes catch Zoe singing “Jesus Loves Me” interspersed between the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Ring-around-the-Rosies.” Pandora radio is a great way to get good holiday music without breaking the bank. Type in “O Holy Night” and start belting it out while you clean house or bake cookies or while you play together. I promise your little one will joyfully join the chorus.
p.s. I’m not totally against “Here comes Santa Clause” but remember we’re working on the true meaning of Christmas and not just getting gifts.
4. Creative Volunteering
Spending some time at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen is always a great way to get kids and adults thinking about something other than themselves. But if your kiddies are itty bitty like my Zoe and Jada, consider making holiday cards with bible versus. You can type out a verse, paste it on construction paper and let the kids decorate them anyway they wish (its the best part). Consider baking cookies and let the kids hand-deliver the goods to a local shelter.
5. Gift Giving
Okay…so I’m not anti-gift giving. In fact, I still intend to get the girls “Christmas Dolls,” but I’m also going to have them pick gifts for one another. I know that at this age they’ll need a little help picking gifts for one another, but its another lesson in thinking of not just anybody, but a loved one. Sometimes we work so hard to take care of and impress strangers, that we neglect our own family members and their needs.
How do you reinforce the true meaning of Christmas to your little ones?
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