After a quick search on my blog, I realized I’ve never documented our Christmas / Advent activities for my munchkins. I found this post from 2007 and a list of our Christmas books from 2008 but that’s all that turned up in my quick search. (Lots of December Daily goodness under this tag, but that still only shares a bit). This post is to sketch out our ideas for 2012 and maybe help me remember for next year. : ) Please note: while I have listed many items here, the reality is that we not get to all of them – other things come up, kids get sick, mamas get tired. These are jumping off ideas. : )
What holiday planning looks like for me. Messy. Lots of lines and scribbles. : )
Truly, though, the holidays are messy in general. Too many activities. Family drama (every family has it, some just more elevated that others!) The inevitable sickness that hits the family and threatens to derail carefully constructed plans. The goal of my planning is hopefully not to push us into a state of burnout and overkill because of too many good things. My goals are to:
1. Have options. Things change on a day-to-day basis around here with four kids and unexpected plans or germs and an arsenal of ideas that can be flexible is important.
2. Have a loose plan. More plan = less panic for me. : )
3. Make memories for our family.
4. See Jesus. We take time to read about the sweet baby that God sent and remind ourselves the baby came to seek and save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10)
With those goals in mind, here are some of our plans for the next 4-5 weeks…
Activities with Books (remember, we won’t get to all of these books or ideas, and I’d bet money that even with the best intentions there will be days we will miss on our Advent readings!):
- The Faith of St. Nick: An Advent Devotional, with the girls
- Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative
- scripture to tie in with the days of advent. Combining resources from Good Morning Girls blog, The Jesus Storybook Bible, our ornaments from Ann Voskamp’s free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional. Note: we read through her devotional last year and I loved it. However, it was a bit heady for my girls. N2 has mentioned to me how much she loved reading in the evening together and putting our ornaments each night on our Jesse tree so we are going to hopefully continue that … just bring it down to their reading/listening level).
- Lots of Christmas storybooks! (I have listed our favorites at the link and have some that are new to us that I’m hoping to try out this year).
- December Daily creating for me
Activities at Home:
- decorating the tree (actually, deciding a plan for a tree. We got rid of our very old fake tree in our move last year and didn’t replace it last year with a one year old boy running loose.)
- making chocolate covered pretzels and / or pretzel hugs.
- making peppermint playdough. (We made our first batch of homemade playdough last week over Thanksgiving at it was a success so we’re going to try a Christmas version!)
- lots of Christmas family Friday movie nights. (We have a stack of favorites that we pull out ONLY at Christmas and are packed away the rest of the year.)
- a candlelight picnic in our family room on the floor and watching Little Women with the girls for the first time
- ornament crafts
- making homemade bird feeders for our backyard and for gifts
- decorating sugar cookies
- make snowflakes (out of coffee filters)
- making gifts for teachers and neighbors and delivering them
Activities Out of the Home:
- caroling with our Community Group
- the little girls’ choir concert
- a special outing to the Nashville Children’s Theater
- a special outing to see a friend perform in a local production of White Christmas
- looking at Christmas lights
- Christmas Eve service
As I look at our list now that it’s typed out, it doesn’t seem like there is much on there. As much as I want to add a few more ideas, this will leave some room for spontaneity if something comes up, and it will also leave margin if we need some downtime. And the beauty of the internet, if I spot a good idea out there that I wish we had time to do, I can always pin it for next year. : ) I would also like to have a few more service oriented activities on there, but we have some limitations with ages of the kids (i.e., several places we have checked with in our area about volunteering aren’t geared for little ones to help and prefer for them to be older). Our caroling with our small group is at a long term facility that our church has a relationship with and I would love to develop a routine of going over there and not just at Christmas.
Happy Wednesday. We are having a slow school day today. I had one little with a very upset stomach at bedtime. (The kind that resulted in extra laundry and a bath before bed … ick.) She was up a couple times with it during the night, but we seem to be on the mend today. Ergo, she and Mama are running at about half-speed. There has been a slow start to our school day, lots of coffee and hot tea, and now we are about to get busy as soon as I put a certain boy down for a nap. So thankful for homeschooling for days like these. : )