Biblical holiday traditions, Catherine Castle's Home for the Holiday blog series, Christmas reenactment, Christmas scavenger hunt, Christmas treasure hunts, Home for the Holidays with Author Rachel Windham, Jesus Box Christmas tradition
I hope you’ve been enjoying the Home for the Holidays posts this week. Rachel Windham is my guest today and she will be sharing some fantastic traditions her family have that remind them of the Reason for the Season.
Hi! Welcome to Home for the Holidays with Author, Rachel Windham.
Celebrating the WHO of Christmas became an important part of our holiday traditions many years ago. It started with my mother’s sudden blindness. One minute her world was filled with light; the next was total darkness. Not only did that pitch her into an unfathomable place, it altered our family dynamics. Holiday festivities she’d once hosted were deposited into the hands of others. Christmas was my delegated holiday, and I struggled to bring a sense of normalcy to our family as we grappled with the changes cast upon us. It seemed that the closeness we had always shared was buried beneath the redefined roles we had been given.
I knew I could carry on Mama’s traditions of offering platters of treats and having wrapped gifts for everyone, so I kept those things, following her example of making everyone’s favorite dish: peanut butter balls for my brother, blueberry cheesecake for my ailing dad, no-bake oatmeal cookies for the kids… But I also felt we needed more. We needed to make memories that went beyond eating, conversation, and gift-giving.
For me, Christmas was about celebrating the One who came to earth to save us. So that first Christmas, I dressed each child in Christmas story costumes, and donning my own biblical attire, told the story as they acted it out. Each child was then given a gift, symbolizing the Savior’s gift to us. That launched the next Christmas idea, one that would accommodate the children’s increased activity levels. This time, the children were the wise men traveling from afar. They started with a simple map that led them throughout the land, otherwise known as my house. Each place they visited (the bedroom, the bathroom…) offered surprising hospitality in the form of a small trinket until they finally arrived at the tree, where the Christ child, the truest Gift, lay wrapped in swaddling clothes.
The treasure hunt varied from year to year, but always there was an adventure that gave the children interactive fun, which they talked about the remainder of the year and which allowed the true meaning of Christmas to be a part of our gathering. Once, when the kids seemed on different maturity levels, I gave them individual clues for their quest, which as usual, eventually led them to the tree, to Jesus, to the reminder of His being our forever Christmas Gift, and to their awaiting, wrapped packages. Their separate journeys symbolized how we take different paths in life that lead us to Jesus, the gift waiting for us all.
As the children grew, other elements were incorporated. They decorated a birthday cake for the Christ child and sang “Happy Birthday.” A Jesus Box was added and opened on Christmas morning. In it were gifts to God, things ranging from problems and promises to talents and toys. Christmases have come and gone, and family dynamics have fluctuated, but always there are Mama’s goodies, the making of memories, and the focus on Jesus in our celebration
About the Author:
Rachel Windham’s priorities are God and family. Her books include children’s works, juvenile fiction, a greeting card resource, and most recently, a pet lover’s devotional. This year, she hands off the Christmas baton to her daughter and niece who plan to tuck the food, scavenger hunt, and Christmas story traditions into a Dr. Suess theme. Learn more about Rachel at rachelwindham.com.