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Nanoi from Kuching, II OTHER
celebrate as usual,24th december night we go to the church praying just like the other poeple do...25 dec,morning also go to the church,praying....went back from the churh we gathering wth family and freinds....to celebrate the christmas..

Carla from Montevideo, UY
A few year ago my frien Gloria and I started our own tradition of preparing online material for each day of advent ( an image, a task, a thought, a pray, a song....) and distrubute it by email to all of our friends. This way be kind of force them to get aout of the daily routine, and have at least a 5 min daily praparation.

Christmas in Uruguay are somewthat differnt than in the States, since is summer. No snow on trees, usually trees are artificial with lots of lights. We have late dinner with the family at Christmas eve like 22:00 and celebrate with champaigne at midnigth and open all presents afterward before every body leaves to go home or to go on celebrating with friends ( the joung ones).
IĀ“love to have a white Christmas by a log fire!!!

Marie from Charleston, SC US
Since Christmas is Jesus' birthday, our younger children (me too) make him a present. We wrap an empty box, cut a slit in the top, add a bow and a tag "to Jesus, from (your name)". Each day we write down something we did that would make Jesus happy and put the slip of paper in the present. By Christmas morning the present is full of all the things Jesus likes, and we put it near the manger after mass (we checked with our pastor first).

Erika from Fairport Harbor, OH US
Our family tradition is a mixture of Hungarian and Mexican roots. Advent is celebrated every night at dinner time. One of the older children is assigned to light the candles, we read prayers and sing. Our biggest night is Christmas eve. The nativity is set with Baby Jesus covered in a special cloth during all of advent. Representing his presense in the womb of our Blessed Virgin. Late night mass is attended, and our late night feast celebrated. Christ is then revealed, each family member kisses, our new King. (Mexican nativity has much larger Christ figures than others) Our family tradition is that Baby Jesus brings our gifts. Each child receives 3 gifts as Christ did. Saint Nicholas is celebrated on his feast day Dec. 6 Children leave shoes out by the door for small gifts, apples, candy ect.

Andre Budianto from Jakarta, Indonesia, II ID
I wish everyday is a good day (not just good friday) since I try to go to church in daily mass eucharist in healthy condition. Lately, I don't attend the good friday and night before Christmas because of time, condition, and circumstances.

Our Catholic Family from Midwest, MN US
We celebrate the holy weeks of Advent and Christmas by hanging up a homemade banner that my daughter made. It is a picture of an Advent wreath in which it says, "Come, Lord Jesus, God of Love, We Long for You!" It is very touching to see her face light up when we dig her special banner out of storage and hang it up on our wall. We also set out our Advent Wreath and before each meal, light the Advent candle(s) for each week which brings us closer to Christ's birth. My husband then leads us in the recitation of some short prayers, we say our before meals and after meals prayers and then with our three little girls waiting with great anticipation sing "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel." After the meal is finished one of the girls have the honor of blowing out the candle(s). When the girls were much younger they would even sing this song if we would go out to eat at a restaraunt. People's responses were one of huge smiles and being touched, as well as, a true understanding of the real reason why we celebrate Our Precious Lord's birth. Jesus Is The Reason For The Season!! Out of the mouths of babes...what a way to evangelize! God Is So Good! :)

Our Catholic Family from Midwest, MN US
We celebrate the holy weeks of Advent and Christmas by hanging up a homemade banner that my daughter made. It is a picture of an Advent wreath in which it says, "Come, Lord Jesus, God of Love, We Long for You!" It is very touching to see her face light up when we dig her special banner out of storage and hang it up on our wall. We also set out our Advent Wreath and before each meal, light the Advent candle(s) for each week which brings us closer to Christ's birth. My husband then leads us in the recitation of some short prayers, we say our before meals and after meals prayers and then with our three little girls waiting with great anticipation sing "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel." After the meal is finished one of the girls have the honor of blowing out the candle(s). When the girls were much younger they would even sing this song if we would go out to eat at a restaraunt. People's responses were one of huge smiles and being touched, as well as, a true understanding of the real reason why we celebrate Our Precious Lord's birth. Jesus Is The Reason For The Season!! Out of the mouths of babes...what a way to evangelize! God Is So Good! :)

Holly from , MN US
Every year me and my siblings open gifts on Christmas morning as is the usual custom, but we wait to give each other gifts until Epiphany, then we have a small celebration, we give each other gifts, eat the last Christmas cookies,make hot cocoa (from scratch), and listen to Christmas music.
it helps draw out Christmas and remind us its not over the day after Christmas day.

Maryrose from Peterborough, CA
All through advent, we have the empty manger from our nativity set
sitting on top of the piano. If you do a good deed, you put a straw (pieces of yarn or raffia) into the manger.Then on Christmas morning,before we open our presents, we give the baby Jesus his present: straw to make his manger softer, our good deeds. So the more good deeds you do, the larger Jesus's birthday present is, and the comfier his bed.

Donna from New Lenox, IL US
In our family we decorate an Advent wreath with 3 orchid candles and one rose. We also put small ornaments on it of the same color. Then starting with the first Sunday in Advent, we say a special prayer before dinner to prepare for the birth of Christ.

Tim from Glendive, MT US
We started celebrating Advent at the invitation of a friend of ours who included us in a wreath making. Since then, every year, we gather as a family and put together an Advent wreath. Then we put out the Nativity, without the babe. He will be placed in the creche Christmas Eve. The regular Advent readings have become more important to us than Christmas day festivities. They are joyous, but the readings take us to a deeper place. It has become a time of renewal and refocus for our family.

As Christmas approaches, we place our gifts around the Nativity and look at them as an offering to Christ. These activities have given us many opportunities to tell others about the real meaning behind Christmas and we have even seen some start similar traditions of their own, deeping their faith and worship - not because of us, but because of the gift of Christ.

Lene' from Redlands, CA US
Ever since I can remember with my older twin sisters and myself We would take turns setting up the manger each year but we did not but the holy family in until Christmas Eve and then we also took turns putting the Holy family in. I carried that tradition down to my three children. We also read from the bible that night,of how the holy family went to stay in the stable,we also read The night before Christmas, and watched the movie the Littles Angles. It was and is a good tradition for me and my family.

The Family from Salem, OR US
Every year for Christmas Day we either make or buy a store bought cake, write Happy Birthday Jesus on the cake. Just like birthday parties we sing happy birthday to Jesus and open presents.

Mary & Bob from Glenside, PA US
After Christmas we gather as a family, go through all our Christmas cards and select one representing the three magi. We then place that card over the front door of our house during the coming year. While this involves Christmas, I guess it is more of an Epiphany story. But then, it is all part of the Christmas season. Kids love checking out the Christmas cards when they arrive to see if one include the magi.

Stephanie from Kansas City, MO US
We keep Christ in Christmas by using the old tradition of a child leaving a shoe out on the eve of St. Nicholas Feast Day for St. Nicholas to fill with a small treat. The evening of December 5 (the evening before St. Nicholas Feast Day of Dec. 6) our children put their Christmas wish list in their shoe for St. Nicholas to take back to heaven and talk over with Jesus. This also explains very well how "Santa" knows all things about them. Because Santa is St. Nicholas in heaven!

Christine from Alexandria, VA US
Living in metro DC it is really hard to cut your own live Christmas tree. While you can go to a Christmas tree farm in the area, and you can tag a tree to cut closer to Christmas, you can't be sure it will still be there when you get back :-( So, (ugh!) about 12 years ago we joined the crowd cutting a tree on Thanksgiving weekend. Please don't grimace too wide, our tree first has a three week life as an Advent tree - no lights just the violet and rose bows to help it fit into the season. I also use this time to place any artificial greenery without any trimmings to add some winter coziness without the Chrismas light. Then once we get into the O' Antiphons closer to Christmas we find a couple of (usually weekend) days to transform the house into Christmas cheer.

Our tree has usually been a Virginia or White Pine and if well taken care of, it lasts until Epiphany. To make it last longer, we have also given our Advent tree the "no room at the inn" treatment and left it outside for a week or so in water in the cold and damp before bringing it inside. This not only delays the decorating, but keeps the tree fresher longer.

Nina from , OTHER
In the Philippines before Christmas day, Catholic churches have 9 days Christmas novena which we call "misa de gallo", celebrated every morning starting at 4am and ends on or before 5am. our whole family and other families in the community attend this beautiful masses everyday. few hours before the mass starts, noises can already be heard in the houses, meaning, everyone is preparing to go to church. after the mass, my family and sometimes visitors, eat together different kinds of Filipino foods and delicacies, that my mother prepared that night before or few hours before the mass. thanksgiving prayer before meal is important.

Laurie from Midwest City, OK US
We celebrate St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, in anticipation of Christmas. St. Nicholas gave to those who had none. We remember his gift giving tradition by putting our children's shoes on the porch. In the morning there is a bag of chocolate coins and a small gift in each shoe. We started this while living in Germany and thought their tradition was one we would enjoy in our family.

It has became a day of special significance for us two years ago. Our oldest son, 12 at the time, became very ill and hospitalized in the Pediatric ICU of a major hospital. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The nurse warned us that he might not make talk sensibly at first because his body was all out of whack and he had been close to a diabetic coma (he had been misdiagnosed the day before as having "just a virus"). When we came in they asked my son if he knew what day it was. He said, "Yes, it's St. Nicholas Day." The nurse said, "See he thinks it's Christmas. He's confused." I told her, "No, he is making perfect sense. Today is December 6th, St. Nicholas' Feast Day. We have a special celebration on this day every year." She, not being Catholic, said, "Oh, then he is okay and making sense." I said yes and a special prayer in my heart that my first born son would live to see another Christmas.

Tim from Tolland, CT US
First, Christmas trees have been a big part of our family's tradition. Every year Grandma visits and says something like, "Your tree is lovely." But for a number of years, we got our tree from a local farmer who was handicapped and couldn't tend to his trees, so their shapes often left something to be desired. One year, Grandma had to rush to pick out her own tree, and the result left her in tears. I had called her and heard her crying, so I asked what the issue was. Hearing her disappointment over her quickly acquired tree, I asked, "How bad can it be, what does it look like." Grandma then said, "One of yours!" But what we knew was that our choosing our somewhat unattractive tree brought such joy to the farmer. While he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and more and couldn't even talk, he shocked us by singing Christmas carols as we visited his bedside. What a Merry Christmas!

The second tradition is found in my "Sheep & Goat" story telling, based on the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25 that says "Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." The sheep demonstrate corporal works of mercy and inherit heaven. The lord says, he's gonna come back for us and separate us as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats based on whether we cared for the sick, homeless, prisoners, thirsty, hungry, etc....The sheep get put on his right and enter heaven, but the goats???? I used to put my children on my lap, bouncing them from side to side, proclaiming, YEAH, we're with the Sheep, or OH NO, we're with the Goats! And I've since written a Children's book, Sheep & Goat Go To The Ice Cream Parlor to encourage selfless love described in the Parable of the Sheep & Goats. Why not click on the sponsor advertisement, A GIFT That Transforms to make Sheep & Goat a fun-filled but instructional tradition for your family. Proceeds pay for global corporal works of mercy, providing water filters to bring clean water to the 1 billion living without this vital resources and irrigation pumps to lift annual farm incomes of the 4 billion global poor, from an average $110 per year to $1100 per year -- a 10 fold increase.

Cora from Makati City, PH
I grew up in a catholic family that celebrates christmas in a joyful and special way. Eversince I can recall my mom would make a Belen ( nativity scene) for us children to appreciate. She makes them out of different materials, some recycled .

Up to the present time the idea of making them every year out of different materials - handmade paper, recycled cans, leaves, twigs, you name it I have done it...it;s my way of saying thank you Lord for all the blessings you have given me...

Asuncion T. Rey from Cebu City, II PH
In our country, the Philippines... all catholic churches starts the celebration on December 16 until the 24th, It is a nine- days Novena to the Blessed Mother Virgin Mary which starts at 4:00 AM.... the early morning mass is full and overflowing with catholic devotees....

Since I was a child (am now 56 years old) our family attends this mass we call "Misa de Gallo"... the early morning is usually very cold and sometimes it rains heavily but we never miss celebrating mass.. there is always joy in our heart bragging to friends who doesnt celebrate the dawn mass. We usually have a petition for each of us for this 9 days for good health... successful career...unity in the family...financial blessings... good grades for the students.. for various other needs. After the mass... parochial organizations or communities are tasked or volunteers to give breakfast to children who line up for a cup of hot chocolate and bread. Sometimes.. generous sponsors gave early christmas presents to those indigent kids every after the celebration of the mass. Outside the churches are various native delicacies for sale which our parents bought and brought home.

This tradition has been observed all through out the country and in my own family now we are still doing the love of attentding a dawn mass. The singing of the choirs... the lightings... the "belen" or nativity set .. the priest homilies... the lighting of the advent candles and the overflowing of people around the church is something to be look forward that we dont want to miss any day...

Elizabeth from Griffith, IN US
I get my shopping done and wrapped before advent begins.
Each year I buy less and less and focus more on the
spiritual meaning behind the holidays. I begin a 30
day home retreat when advent starts. As much as possible
I clear extra activities from my calender that I can
let go of. I try to attend one or two faith based
activities like a nativity play or christmas concert.
I spend the extra time in prayer and study of advent
readings or whatever the spirit leads me to. I pray
about what and how to decorate my home. I take my
family into consideration. This has been my practice
for a number of years even while raising my children
which are now grown. What a difference the time and
attention to the spiritual part of the holiday has
made in my life and those I encounter.Ipray my sharing
is of help to someone else.

Elizabeth


Donald from New Orleans, LA US
We have adopted a tradition of reading the Christmas story from the gospel accounts. We gather the entire family in the family room on Christmas eve, get everyone quiet, read the story and ask the youngest children to put it in their own words. Sometimes the impressions of what was just read doesn't get much traction, so we ask the older children to then re-explain the story highlights. When this has pretty much played out, we ask why we celebrate and give gifts, and then let each person down to the youngest grandchildren tell us why the gift of Jesus was so very important. Then we have a prayer, listen to some Christmas music, and each child gets to open one gift. Then we are off to Christmas Mass. It has become a tradition that we all look forward to. This year, the oldest grandchild will be reading the Christmas story so she is pretty excited.

Debra from El Segundo, CA US
I live in California and my best friend and her family live in Oregon. When Terri had her three girls, we decided to make every Christmas season a holy one, so each Advent, I send the family a gift to open each Sunday of Advent. These are usually spiritual gifts, a movie, a special plaque, a book, etc. I gave each of them a personalized Advent stocking that they hang when Advent begins and I also send little notes, one for each day of Advent that they put in these stockings and each day, they open one...I usually have them say prayers, do good deeds, keep their rooms tidy, etc. They love this tradition and I love doing it for them. This way they are truly preparing for the most wonderful birthday of them all...Jesus' birthday!

Great Christmas Gift Ideas