Here's something you might like doing one night soon. It's a recent tradition we've enjoyed the past several years. We take a family drive to give out anonymous awards and thank you notes to our neighbors. A feast to the senses, it's a time to listen to our favorite Christmas songs while sipping hot chocolate and oogling pretty Christmas lights.
Here's how it started... My oldest son always appreciated when our neighbors went all out with their lights and outdoor decorations. To encourage an act of gratitude, we decided to have each of the children draw an award; one for 1st place, then 2nd, 3rd and 4th so they each had one to put in a mailbox. In our travels during December, we start to notice houses and predict who might win. That first year my husband and I also noticed that we were drawn to the houses that set out a manger/nativity scene. We remarked how grateful we were to see the baby Jesus, the reason for Christmas and that led to another tradition. I decided to hand write my own thank you note/Christmas card to everyone in our area who was witnessing that Christ is Christmas in displaying that night in Bethlehem in this way. My note would say something like this:
"As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ and the Incarnation of our Savior we are especially grateful for your Christmas decorations. Thank you for your manger/nativity decoration for all to witness as they drive by! May the Holy Family bless you! Merry CHRISTmas from your appreciative neighbors."So when the-decided-upon night actually comes the children draw up their rewards and roll them into scrolls. I write as many thank you notes as mangers I have noticed, plus one or two more just in case. My husband drives out of the neighborhood first to treat us with drive-thru Dunkin' Donuts hot chocolate and then we drive back listening to Christmas carols and decide the winners.
Do you have any traditions that you've started that you think others might like to try? Please mention them in the comments and God bless your Christmas!