A Meaningful Christmas Ornament Exchange

Now that my husband and I have a growing family of our own, I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few months how I want “Christmas” to look in our home. 

My son still probably has 1 more year before he really understands what Christmas represents; which I’m thankful for because it will give me more time to think the whole thing through, but at the same time, I want to begin to develop traditions now so when he does begin to comprehend the meaning of Christmas it won’t be a total surprise! 

We do plan on having Santa in our home, but as Christians, we also want to teach him the importance of Christmas and how it relates to the birth of our Savior. I haven’t quite figured out how to blend the two together yet (if it’s possible!), but now, thanks to A Meaningful Christmas, I feel a little ahead of the game! 

A group of girls from our church decided to get together this year and participate in A Meaningful Christmas ornament exchange. If you’re not familiar with this, that’s okay! 

It’s only 2 years old, and is just now really getting around on the web! Although orders have closed for this year, I highly suggest “Pinning” as a way to remember to jump on it for 2013. 

Designed by the Poe Family, A Meaningful Christmas is a child-centered devotional that helps count down the days until Christmas using the Christmas story, passages, and ornaments; 1 for each day leading up to December 25. 

As suggested by A Meaningful Christmas, I helped organize an advent ornament exchange with 23 other moms from our church. Our planning began in October, and once we had the number we needed, we divided up the ornament responsibilities. 

I was given one of the harder ornament projects – Day 8: Mary is Chosen.

The verse that goes along with this day is from Luke 1:26-28. . . God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth . . .to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph . . .The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 

What the verse tells us is that God selected Mary to be a part of His family and be the mother of Jesus; similar to how we were given our children by God; therefore, my ornament assignment was to collect pictures from each one of the women participating and use the family photo on my ornament. 

I am not a very crafty person, but I managed to find some Christmas themed scrapbook paper I had laying around the house and left over ribbon from the Little Man’s first birthday party. 

After a brief lesson on how to Modge Podge on Youtube, I was all set to make my 24 ornaments. Thankfully, I didn’t feel any pressure to make them perfect since emails had been going around about other people’s lack of craftiness as well! 

We selected a date for our ornament exchange, and it didn’t take long to figure out our host went above and beyond what I was expecting! Each of us had brought a cute gift bag thinking that’s what we’d be bringing our ornaments home in, but to our surprise, we had plastic storage boxes waiting with our names on them; each with A Meaningful Christmas devotional book inside. 
All we had to do was walk around and place 1 ornament in each box, and at the end of the night, we all walked away with a box ready to go on December 1st. 

To make the exchange a little more social, we all brought appetizers and desserts to share, and then took a few minutes to explain which ornament ours was and how we came up with our design idea (and any flaws we happened to discover.)
The exchange was a lot of work, and did take a few hours of my time to create all 24 ornaments. I originally thought I had the hardest job of collecting all of the pictures, but looking at how much time and effort everyone else put in, I think I actually walked away with one of the easier tasks! 

In the end, I walked away with these 24 thoughtfully handmade ornaments:  

Although there’s not a reason for me to do another A Meaningful Christmas exchange, if you plan on doing one next year, I have a few pieces of advice to make yours successful! 

  • Order supplies in advance! Almost 3,000 families participated in 2012, and supplies were running short in most craft stores. Expect to find empty hooks and competition in the aisles for the wooden craft squares needed to make your ornaments. Start looking for the tiles just after Christmas or plan on ordering them online (like we did!)
  • Be Original – Because you have to be! Since the concept is still so new, photos and ideas online are limited. I tried every Google and Pinterest combo I could think of and found the same 2 or 3 images. Another good reason to start early, you have time to plan your design! 
  • Number your ornaments. You might notice it doesn’t say in the instructions to number your the back of your ornaments or label them somehow. Have all the women in your exchange mark their day in some way on their ornaments to save you the trouble of trying to match them all up later. 
  • Make it fun for your kids! Plan some fun and creative ways of making your devotional special to your kids. My advice: wrap the ornaments and let them open one each day like a gift. Then have a separate tree to place the ornaments on so they can easily go back to previous days and discuss the verses. 
  • Modify when needed! I have an almost 2 year old, so some of the “apply” suggestions won’t work for us. For example, my son can’t draw a picture of his family, but it doesn’t mean I can’t use the ornament with our family photo to have him name his mommy and daddy! I’ll try and post the modifications I make to give you some more ideas! 
For more information on how to participate in A Meaningful Christmas, make sure to check out their link on Facebook

3 Responses to A Meaningful Christmas Ornament Exchange

  1. Jami says:

    I know this is nearly a year old but thank you so much for this post. I’m hosting this year and like you said there really is not much out there on it. Your post gave me so many great ideas! Thanks and God Bless!

  2. Krystal says:

    You’re welcome! I’m glad it could help someone!

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