Monday, December 24, 2012

Countdown to Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  Love, The Toler Family
This time last year, we were making our grand Christmas tour of the Southeast!  We drove from Texas to enjoy time with family and friends in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.  It was a whirlwind trip, but we have such great memories from it.  Towards the end of our trip, my anxiety levels began to rise and the thought that we wouldn't be spending Christmas with our friends and family for several years was a bit overwhelming.

Fast forward a year and here we are about to celebrate our first Christmas in Mexico.  My goal this year is to start setting up some new traditions for our family so that we can all make new memories while holding on to the ones from years past.  I want our kids to appreciate the traditions of the culture in which we live while still enjoying the traditions of our culture from back in the States.  Thanks to Pinterest, I think we are off to a good start!

Tradition #1 - Our Christmas tree- Even before we left the U.S., I found a craft where you make a Christmas tree out of felt (originally designed for toddlers so that they would leave the "real" tree alone).  What a great idea for a family who needs to keep their belongings to a minimum.  I pictured us making felt ornaments, decorating the tree, and then rolling it up at the end of the season.  Thankfully, the kids loved the idea and I think it turned out great.  The lights don't always stay connected to the wall, but it works well enough!

Our Christmas tree complete with gifts thanks to the Homebuilders Sunday School Class from First Baptist Dallas! 

Tradition #2 - Our Advent Calendars - Kieran has been looking forward to December for several months now.  I knew that we needed an advent calendar to help avoid the daily, "Is it Christmas yet?" question.  I also wanted an advent calendar that would encourage us to experience Christmas in Mexico.  Again, I found a neat advent calendar on Pinterest that uses a mini muffin pan (since I don't have an oven, I figured I might as well us it for something!).  In each muffin spot, I put a slip of paper with an activity and an advent Bible verse along with two pieces of candy.  Some days the activity includes reading a Christmas book or watching a Christmas movie.  This weekend, we are going to see the Christmas lights downtown and enjoy a Christmas concert Sunday afternoon.  The kids have already enjoyed breaking open a Christmas piñata and making Rice Krispy treats.

Making Rice Krispy Treats.  We used jello powder with a little water for the "icing".
 Tradition #3- Our Christmas Pajamas - In the past, I've tried to get the kids a new pair of PJ's for Christmas morning.  I went shopping and found that the selection of Christmas pajamas was very slim and a bit pricey (the only thing I could find in Kieran's size was literally a heavy fleece Santa suit!).  Instead, I bought the kids some white long johns and we are going to attempt to make some tie-dyed snowman PJ's this weekend!  Hopefully, this new tradition will not be a bust!

Tradition #4 - Our Christmas Morning - Right now, we are really not sure what our Christmas morning will look like, but I imagine the excitement on the kids faces will be the same no matter what country we are in and the joy of spending the day together as a family will be just as sweet.  Thanks to modern technology, we will probably be able to spend the morning "together" with our family in the States via the webcam and Google chat.  It will not be the same as being together, but we are blessed to have this connection.
Kieran (King Melchor) and Elyse (Little Star) in their first Christmas Pageant
 As we wrap up our last few days in school, we look forward to having some "down" time to enjoy celebrating the birth of our Savior.  We are praying that you, too, will be blessed with this time of celebrating your own traditions with your family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año! 

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