It was late summer when I picked up two bulletin boards from Wal-Mart to be hung over the beds of each of my sons. These were to become the boys “brag boards.” Basically, I wanted a way to showcase my kids’ creative work that they did in Sunday school and at home. As the holidays approached, I got the idea to update the bulletin boards to reflect each celebration.
We started with Halloween and then moved on to Thanksgiving and now we are in the midst of celebrating Christmas. I printed out a December calendar for Jared and Luke with December 25th highlighted. Each morning, the boys paste a sticker onto the day’s date. As they slowly fill the calendar, they can see how we are getting closer and closer to Christmas.
Besides decorating their bedroom, we also purchased a Christmas tree and placed it in our living room. Of course, the first task was to create boundaries to ensure the survival of our five foot Douglas fir and its delicate ornaments. I told the boys that if they touched the tree, they would get a slap on the hand and then have to sit in time out for a minute. After a few days of “timing-out” four or five times, they finally got the point. What they really enjoy is sharing the responsibility of turning on the Christmas tree in the evenings. Each night, they take turns doing this. It is the only time they are allowed to approach the Christmas tree before Christmas day. We are very proud at how the boys have complied with the rules, and (so far) we’ve only had one circular globe of Christmas joy shatter on the ground.
At this point, we have decided not to push our luck by leaving wrapped Christmas gifts under the tree in advance of opening them. We keep our gifts tucked in various hidden corners and crannies of our house and slowly wrap a few when we have some spare time in the evening hours. They will all be placed under the tree on Christmas Eve after the boys are in bed.
Besides these things, we have made special Christmas bookmarks, and assembled our own gingerbread house made from a kit we picked up at the store. At their nightly story time, we’ve also added a special Christmas story devotional and sometimes sing a Christmas song.
The opportunities are endless during these early years of their lives, because their young minds and hearts are open to whatever tradition we want to begin with them. It’s exciting to think of all the creative things that we can do that will one day become treasured memories for each of our children.