Monday, December 11, 2023

Get to Know Your Geeks: Christmas Traditions

Taking a break from the geeking and ranting, I wanted to take a moment and focus in on the holiday season. Every year I tell myself that I want to follow the Church's Light the World campaign, but every year the season seems to get away from me before I realize it. Despite my forgetfulness, I love that the Christmas season seems to bring out the Light of Christ in our souls. Whether it's service, gifting, or something else entirely, a mature understanding of Christmas gives us the opportunity to look outward and towards Jesus Christ. As such, I wanted to share some Christmas traditions our team practices (and/or practiced growing up) that have pointed us towards the Savior at this time of year.

I can't say I enjoyed this growing up in Canada, but for years my family participated in our stake Nativity Pageant. Underneath my shepherd's costume was my thick winter coat and gloves. Impossible to keep warm with so many layers. After our stake stopped doing our live nativity, another local stake still had theirs. And being able to come inside quickly after the performance made it so much more enjoyable. I'm glad the live nativity has a feeling of nostalgia now. Despite the cold, the repeated story engrained the Christ child's story in my brain and into my soul. Last year, a local stake here in Dallas had a live nativity. What a wonderful experience to share with my daughter and wife! And bonus points that we didn't have to triple-layer in winter clothes to go, just a light jacket (almost makes up for the dreadful Texas summer heat). Now I just need to find one we can go to this year. I hope to make it an annual tradition!


As a family that is forming Christmas traditions we wanted to do something different than what we were raised with. In 2016 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints started a program called Light the World and everyday there is something you can do. Like Spencer, I too am forgetful, but one tradition we do as a family is save enough money for the Light the World giving machines and buy a something that can help another family throughout the world. One of our favorite purchases is buying a goat. This year though I might persuade my children to buy S.T.E.M. Experience because I am part of S.T.E.M.

Another family tradition that my wife and I do is give our children three gifts. Each present represents a gift that Jesus Christ received from the wise men (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). Gold is valuable and can represents wealth and desire, so we give our kids something they want. Frankincense was used for perfume or incense that covers smell, so we interpret that as something the child needs (like socks! Haha JK). Lastly, myrrh was used for the temple where we can go to seek knowledge. Reading is great for our education, so we give our children a book.


Growing up, my favorite tradition was updating the advent calendar every morning. My brother and I would race to be the one to move us closer to Christmas Day.

After I came home from my mission it became a tradition to listen to or watch the Grammy-Nominated Christmas concert MOTAB put on with Sissel Kyrkjebø. I had become obsessed with that soundtrack. Then found out that Chad had again, beaten me to it. He had heard Sissel perform live.

These days we have a few Christmas movies we watch every year, like Muppet Christmas Carol, and Home Alone. There are too many to list them all.


While Christ is to be the center of Christmas, we focus on placing him at Christmas in how we speak to our kids about it. We make sure they understand the miracle of our Savior's birth. We remind them how our Heavenly Father gave us the Savior. That Jesus gave us his life and the atonement. No gift we can give will ever top those. But we also want our kids to see that the spirit of Christmas is giving. To put thought into what we do. And that doesn't mean the biggest, newest, or most expensive gift. There should be no contest at Christmas. We aren't competing. These are the things we try to get our children to understand about Christmas.


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