Focusing the family

The first of last month, we got a surprise package in the mail—a Thanksgiving advent. It was the first time we had ever tried anything of the sort with our kids. With a four year old and a three year old, we weren’t sure how long their attention span would last.

Thus, it being our first attempt, we only counted down for about half of the time that the advent banner actually had room for. Each day, we wrote our “thanksgivings” on a card and placed it in the pocket. The kids never hesitated; for eighteen days they both knew exactly what they were thankful for, with very few repeats. Then on Thanksgiving, we took out our cards and read them all.

It was a very special moment, an ideal Thanksgiving memory, and a definite tradition in the making.

Now, we are days away from beginning our Christmas advent, and I can’t wait. Neither can the kids. I think what is most appealing about these activities is the focus it brings to our family. Together, we are taking time to emphasize one thing; together, we are making a memory that is filled with the purpose of the season.

We’re making meaningful holiday traditions, traditions that are stress free. We missed some days with our Thanksgiving advent and doubled-up on other days to make up for it. I wasn’t there for a few of the cards that were filled out (because of Bible studies or other evening events). And yet, at the end of Thanksgiving, as we read through the cards and remembered back, it didn’t really make a difference. Whether or not the participation was flawless didn’t matter, the memory was still complete.

So here’s the “Mary” holiday challenge: take a moment to focus as a family. It doesn’t need to be an ornate tradition that adds stress to the already stressful holiday prep.

It only takes a moment to make a memory.