Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas Story

 Some of you were scratching your heads.


I know.

I understand completely.

I can't figure myself out,
would I expect any of you to be able to?

Here's the story:

When EC and I had our boys, we decided to begin some family traditions.  They didn't start out based on anyone else's traditions.  You know, handed down traditions? Those are phenomenal and I am always in awe of families who take the time to do these special things for those they love.  So we really longed for something special for our boys.  And ourselves.

Christmas, of course, we celebrate.  Altho, no one knows when Jesus was actually born.  And the holiday is based on pagan beliefs & commercialism.  We are not cynical.  We just value the truth about stuff.  However, the warmth of the giving season allows us to express what we feel towards others.  I wish there were several times during the year that that warmth was a common, all over the world expression, like at Christmas time.

So, we don't celebrate it because of much as an expression of love and value towards those around us.

We try to live our lives as that Christ expression
every day
because we know Him.

Hope that didn't sound confusing.


The Festival of Lights.
Have you ever read the story?
It is one of hope in God, the provider of all things.

EC and I are not religiously Jewish.  We are, however, Jews.  Because Jesus is one of many brethren and we are
His brother and sister.
We are Jews.

I know.
I may have lost some of you here.
Did the numbers just go down?

ah, well.

But that's not why we celebrate Hanukkah.

Before EC and I met and fell in love we both had grown up lives.  We shared much of our time with Jewish folks.  With great fondness and love we participated in the Jewish traditions and high holidays of our Jewish friends/family.

When thinking of creating family traditions for our sons, we thought of celebrating Hanukkah.

It is a beautiful tradition for our boys.
We light the menorah each night, share in the Jewish delicacies of latkes, lox and bagels, matzo ball soup.  It's an absolute blast searching out recipes.  We play dreidel and read the story of how God provided enough oil to keep the lamps burning.
EC reads the book and we all cry.
God's goodness is so beautiful.


This one is the most Kolein-esque.
I was shopping at Target a few years back and saw this box with the little doors.
fell completely in love  
It was $20.  I put some other stuff back on the shelves so that I could rationalize buying the 
"cutest earthy red box with little doors I'd ever seen!"

I don't even know what Advent is.
I didn't grow up in any religion, so no clue here.

I just had to Google it to find out what it means.

I know that it leads up to Christmas.  And small gifts are given. That was good for me and the boys.

We created our own version.

Each night before the boys go off to bed they open a door.  There's a clue inside that leads them to guess what their gift is.
Small treasures laying inside and around the Christmas tree adds to the sweetness of the season.
Every small token has special meaning to each of the boys. On Christmas Eve, we sit next to the tree and read the little book,

Twas the Night Before Christmas
It's magical.

Because of our traditions, the season has a warm glow for the entire month of December here in our home.
I am blessed beyond measure to be able to create traditions for our little family.

And I am so enjoying reading all about your Christmas season and your expressions of giving with your families and friends. 

It has been a lovely Christmastime here in blog land.


I will leave you with this photo taken
December 1st in our backyard.
Snow covered every branch.
I had taken several of the yard blanketed in white
and then I decided to look up.

Look up

In your spirit
in your soul
with your heart
with your mind
look up
and see what you will find

Happy New Year to all of you absolutely phenomenal creative special loving women from all over the world.

You have blessed me beyond measure!

If you've got a Christmas Story to share, join us over here!


  1. Hi Kolein! I am so impressed with your traditions. I like your take on Hanukkah and how you share it! We are all children of God. I so believe you are right in how Chritmas gets caught up in commercialism. We are guilty of that in my household. I do, however, believe in showing Christ's love everyday! He doesn't stop loving us or save it for special occasions :)

    I'll be over for some Matzo ball soup, k?!

    Hope your "2011" brings many wonderful things, friend! xxx ~Michelle

  2. I love your Christmas story and your new found tranditions are wonderful! It didn't sound confusing at all to me. And I love "look up" as i try to do the same thing myself. Not only spiritually but literally!

    Can you make me some latkes? Happy New Year my friend!

  3. I think it's wonderful how you expose your boys to so many different elements that lead up to.make up the story of the Christams holiday season. You know that I think you're the best mom that ever was anyway, and this just continues to prove that.

    The traditions you instill in your home now will give the boys a great foundation to create their own when they have families. They will have so many special memories to share as adults.

    Your story is beautiful and beautifully told. I agree that we should all live so that others may see Christ within us each day, not just at the holiday. You are certainly a faithful steward!

    Have a truly wonderfully Happy New Year my silly friend.

  4. Kolien, what a beautiful way to weave your traditions. I pray that your 2011 will be just as warm and sweet as December 2010 was for you and yours. Happy Happy New Year!

  5. I think it's very sweet how your family have put together traditions that focus on the true meaning of the Christmas holiday! I have never liked the commercialization of the season. What great memories your boys will have when they grow up! :)

  6. Ok now...WHY do you celebrate Christmas again!

    It's clear as mud to me, Kolein. (hee he he )
    ...I love these traditions you have with your children especially that you didn't have those yourself growing up as a child.
    I love the part about being Christ like all year, and being HIS sister...
    how precious.
    You know what that makes us? SISTERS!!!!!!!!!!!

    thanks for sharing, Kolein.
    Happy New Year and (warm wishes)

  7. I really enjoyed reading about your traditions and how you explain it, and being a person who does not really follow any faith other than trying to be spritual everyday not just when others say to do so. Your children will look forward to these traditions more and more the older they get. Have a wonderful New Year.

  8. I really enjoyed this read! You've brought a blend of so many worldly wonders into one single season. And why not? I love what your sons will take from all this and share with those around them one day too.

    I'm soooo glad you had such a special Christmas!


  9. Every year I am determined to be more purposeful in my traditions, but every year the busy-ness of the season takes over. This was a pretty laid back year, but I still did not make the time to read to the children like I want to. I agree with you totally about Christmas being a season of warmth and giving and making memories, and that Christ is to be celebrated year-round. That has been my feeling ever since I accepted Him years ago. And that is why I am not offended by the *silly* traditions that surround the season. If I only communed with Jesus in December, then I would have a hard time reconciling the two. I wish I could be disciplined enough to follow through with the Advent and Hanukkah candles. It looks like you have it together!

  10. This is the best Kolein...sums up so much so easily and with such a loving heart, I am so glad and blessed to know you. Love to you!

  11. Love all the thought you put into your families traditions. Your boys are very lucky to have such a wonderfully creative Mom!
    I've really enjoyed your blog this year, you always make me either laugh or think; sometimes both! Wishing you and your family a New Year filled with wonders!

  12. I love how you have taken the holiday traditions and made them all your own. I also love Christmas time for all the same reasons as you, and we have some little traditions of our own, it does make it so special :)

    That last photo looking up at the snow laden trees is simply beautiful x


What you say means so much


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