Home life a walk to Bethlehem, and other Christmas prep

a walk to Bethlehem, and other Christmas prep

by Shawni

I was a big slacker documenting Christmas.

Not only here on the blog, but also taking pictures. (My kids would disagree, of course, because they think I always take pictures, but there are so many things I have decided to just document in my mind. Intentionally.)

But here are a few things we did leading up to Christmas, wrapped up amidst so many other things…late-night talks, middle-of-the-night worries, talks with our missionary, Relief Society business, phone calls, trying to be present in the car, on walks, at dinner, blah, blah, blah. I failed miserably at lots of things. But you know what? That’s ok. New beginnings are awesome. And I love that we’re still hanging on the brink of this new big one: a new year.

So much more to say about that once I figure out any grand new years ideas (trying to read Atomic Habits to get me going on some new habit ideas, but I’m rolling slowly into this new year!) For now, let’s talk about Christmas prep.

Our church congregation leaders did a little brainstorming in ward council (a meeting each month to coordinate lots of things) a couple months ago and came up with this idea for a neighborhood “walking Nativity.” Tough to figure out ways to feel connected yet safe during this pandemic. Since we have an area close-by where lots of families have animals and pastures, we conjured up an idea to bring in the Christmas spirit socially distanced and called it “Come to Bethlehem and See!”

Everyone took charge of different “stations:” A “welcome to Bethlehem” station, a place where the shepherds were abiding with their sheep, a “wise man” station (with llamas rather than camels), and, of course, a station with a manger and Baby Jesus). Families came and walked through the areas and felt the music and I think it was such a great way to feel the meaning of Christmas.

Here’s a little of the set up action:

…and here it was at night…we had luminaries going through each station, leading to the next, and there was beautiful music, and I loved it.

There were signs with verses from the scriptures to stop and read at each station:

And some pretty sweet actors too:

Loved feeling “together” with the whole neighborhood even when we weren’t really “together.” And thinking of that actual walk to Bethlehem all those years ago.

Lucy and her “ministering” partner got busy baking for some of their friends:

We spent hours upon hours on dang Christmas cards (but we sure love that tradition!):

We whipped up our traditional gingerbread house while Elle was here:

We worked our little tails off on gifts and neighbor gifts and treats and everything we could think of to spread around our love:

I gave these to my counselors in Relief Society…such a little thing, but I hope they felt the meaning and love:

This was a little thing we gave to some of our neighbors:

Worked for a long time on a Christmas box for our favorite missionary who’s been working her heart out in Texas:

(and also having the time of her life)

Gosh I was sure happy when I stuck that box, complete with stockings for her and her companion, in the mail. Why do I stress over those things so much??

And then suddenly all that prep and work was over and there we were at Christmas Eve.

More on that tomorrow.

For now, Happy Monday!

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9 comments

Ciara January 5, 2021 - 12:23 pm

I’m getting ready to start reading Atomic Habits!! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it once you finish!

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Shawni January 5, 2021 - 10:33 pm

I’m really liking it so far!

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Liz Otero January 5, 2021 - 6:57 pm

Hi! As an American Indian, I’d like to request that you stop using the term “pow wow” for a get-together. Other alternatives: meeting, chit chat, conference, gathering, duel, I’m sure there are many others.

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Shawni January 5, 2021 - 10:32 pm

Hi Liz, yes, and thank you for bringing that to my attention, I appreciate that!

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Tracy January 6, 2021 - 10:13 am

So much good stuff in this post but I have to tell you how much I love the salsa for neighbors and those wooden spoons! I was so worried people wouldn’t take homemade food this year that I skipped out on giving certain gifts I normally would. I should have been more creative! Next year!

Reply
valerie January 8, 2021 - 6:45 pm

Agree with Tracy above!
Where did you find your wooden spoons?
Happy New Year BTW!

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Shawni January 9, 2021 - 9:34 am

I just found them at Trader Joes. Then I tried to go back and get a whole bunch more but they were gone. I’ll have to keep a lookout for them going forward.

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Mom January 13, 2021 - 12:54 am

It is absolutely incredible that with the help of a LOT of people, you actually pulled off the “Come to Bethlehem” event, complete with music, hundreds of luminaries, and even signs in Hebrew and llamas! Astonishing!

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Paula` January 15, 2021 - 4:14 pm

What an inspiring post thanks for sharing —But those red boxes and green bows are the bomb.
Where did you find the red boxes? So cute and great ideas for next year if I remember. Love that you have a missionaries. Love missionaries.

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