Next week Laura and I will be sharing with the young mothers in the MOPS program here at our church on the Christmas traditions that we have developed as a family. So I thought I would take time to put a few of these traditions down in writing.
Over the past 25 years our family has developed some Christmas traditions that we look forward to every December. One of my most favorite of these traditions is our "Wrapping Excursion." Sometimes one of the worst "put off until the last minute" Christmas activities on everyone's "to do" list is the wrapping of the gifts. Laura and I decided years ago to make this something we would always look forward to.
We set aside 2 nights and 3 days somewhere in the first half of the month of December for what I like to call our "Wrapping Excursion." Right about Thanksgiving time I will start searching the internet for the perfect location. We go to a different location each year but it can't just be any place - it has to have all of the right qualities at an affordable rate. There needs to be a large shopping district nearby. The hotel, cottage or B&B we select needs to have at very minimum a private first floor entrance to our room; a fireplace, and a sitting area to our room or suite.
When the "Wrapping Excursion" date arrives we pack up all the gifts we have purchased so far, all of our wrapping paper and boxes, a Boom Box with Christmas CD's; a lighted Christmas Tree, and some additional Christmas lights to string around the room. We then head off on our "Wrapping Excursion" to finish all of our Christmas shopping and to wrap all of the presents. And with whatever time is left over we find other things to do and see in the area where we are staying.
We just got back from this year's "Wrapping Excursion" in Grand Rapids. It was a such a wonderful time! Why do we do this? This tradition allows us to accomplish two very important things:
First, it allows us to finish all of our Christmas shopping and get all of our wrapping done in a fun and relaxed setting well before December 24. We have found that the less stress and pressure we have in our lives going into December 24, the more we can enjoy our family and celebrate the beauty of Christmas to its fullest.
Second, this allows Laura and I to set aside time at a very special time of the year to focus our attention on each other, make some holiday memories, and have some Christmas traditions that we can continue to enjoy as a couple year after year, even after the kids are grown and gone.
We believe that one of the greatest mistakes young couples make is to make everything about their Christmas traditions focus on their children. Don't get me wrong. Most of our Christmas traditions were because of our children as you will see in subsequent posts. But how often do you hear stories of couples whose marriage was 100% absorbed with with their kids, and when the kids were grown and gone, the marriage fell apart?
It has been important to Laura and I to be sure that as we raised our children and poured into them as parents that we also set aside time to invest in each other and into our marriage. This "Wrapping Excursion" tradition allows us to do just that. Even as the other Christmas traditions that revolved around our children run their course, this is a tradition that we will always have to look forward to and to enjoy.