When we were kids, the Christmas season was always something we looked forward to because it meant getting to see Christmas lights, baking cookies, eating yummy food, making Christmas lists and praying we were good enough for Santa to bring us what we asked for that year. Now that we’ve grown up quite a bit and have children…we still love those things about Christmas BUT its a completely different experience. Our family loves Christmastime. The hustle and bustle of the holidays as people decorate their houses and join in the craziness of shopping for loved ones is always a fun time. However, as parents to two young children, we desperately want to teach our babies that Christmas isn’t about getting gifts and seeing pretty lights and singing silly songs. Christmas is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The moment when God became flesh and was born of a virgin in a manger because there was no room in the Inn. God sent HIS son to come and live among. THIS is why we celebrate Christmas. Christmas is the beginning of Jesus’ thirty-three years on Earth where he walked and talked among us and brought salvation to His people. As cheesy as it sounds, Jesus really is the reason for the season.
Don’t take that to mean that we don’t join in on the festivities of Christmas and presents and Santa and fun times. We definitely do and absolutely LOVE the time spent at Christmas. We just don’t make it ALL about that. We want to teach our children to love and give without abandon EVERY day of the year to show the love of Jesus to everyone they encounter.
As mentioned earlier, we love to find things to do around Knoxville at Christmastime that can help us get in the festive mood! Here are 5 things that we try and do each season:
1. Regal Celebration of Lights – Downtown Knoxville puts up a HUGE Christmas tree each year and on the Friday after Thanksgiving, they light up the tree with Bo and Tearsa from WATE News. Everyone gathers in Krutch Park, in front of the tree and counts down to light it up…officially starting the Christmas season in Knoxville!
2. Fantasy of Trees – We have gone to the Fantasy of Trees held in the Knoxville Convention Center almost every year that we have been together. There are performances, thousands of trees, places to shop, cookie and ornament decorating and lots of fun!
3. Black Friday shopping – Ok, to be totally honest…Black Friday or now Thursday shopping is just too much for us. However, we do like to place online orders, drive to the stores, watch the crazy lines flood into the stores, and then walk in to guest services, pick up our order and go home to eat leftovers!
4. Decorating our tree – Now, we realize most people do this just like we do but we really love to decorate our tree. Before we had kids, we took special care to place all of the ornaments just perfectly on the tree, with the most special ornaments where we could always see them while we have Christmas music playing in the background. Now that we have kids…we focus more on letting them pick and choose the ornaments (from a selected box of PLASTIC ONES) and letting them decorate the tree. With a three and a one-year-old, you can imagine it gets pretty interesting. While the tree may end up lopsided and all the ornaments are placed in one spot, the memories we are making with our babies far outshines the need for a perfectly decorated tree!
5. Taking walks around our neighborhood or drives around Knoxville, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg to see any and all lights we can find. We love to see all the different decorations and amount of lights put up all over Knoxville. Plus, seeing our kids’ faces light up as they see the lights…yeah its pretty awesome!