Happy Friday y’all!
We have a “winter weather advisory” today, which means it might dip below freezing for a few seconds and there may or may not be some sort of precipitation that may or may not stick. General mayhem will ensue. Schools will be let out early, highways will shut down. There will be a run on batteries and water and canned goods.
We get so little snow here that we like to make a BIG honking deal out of it when we do 🙂
As you can imagine, the boys’ faces are plastered to the windows. They don’t want to miss it if a flake should fall.
Before I join them, I wanted to share with you some of the holiday ideas from my speech last week. It’s a lot of information, so grab a cuppa and sit a while.
The whole talk was about lightening up a little, letting go of perfection and expectations and just making the advent season about preparing our hearts to really receive the joy that was meant for us this season, and about soaking up our time with the little people in our lives.
We really only get a handful of Christmases, all of us under one roof, to make memories that will last a life time. So we do what we can to ensure that the time we have is simple, sweet and full of joy and love.
Gifts Kids Can Make
Kids really do love to give, and we try honor that by helping them find fun things to make and do for the people that they love. Making gifts with kids is not always easy or neat, and things almost never go according to plan, but I think it’s so important. The only way a child can learn that it really IS better to give than to receive is to experience the sweetness that comes with giving, over and over, to give at least as often as they get!
Here are a few ideas from the ranch and also some of my favorites from around the blogosphere:
** Bread quilts
** Apple Butter
** Bulb jars
** Salt dough or shrinky dink ornaments
** Framed artwork
** Freezer paper stenciled tea towels, placemats, tees, onsies or tote bags
** Decorated bags of nuts
** Scented play dough and a fun cookie cutter.
** Yule Logs
** Carved soap
* Jotham’s Journey – This book is new to us this year, and my guys are really loving it. It’s a daily reading about a young shepherd boy who gets separated from his nomadic family. He has lots of thrilling and sometimes dangerous adventures as he tries to find his clan. At the end of each “episode” is a family devotional, which at least so far, have been really thought provoking.
* Wreaths and candle holders. I have been searching for YEARS for the perfect Advent candleholder, something wooden, an heirloom that we’d still be using, years from now with our hordes of grandchildren. In the mean time, we’ve just been using a wreath and glass candholders. But, I do think I’ve found just the thing! Take a look! Of course I don’t see that fitting in the budget this year… but one day. I double dog dare you to poke around that site a not find about a gazillion things to love!
We’ve done advent calendars lots of ways over the years, but this year we’re just doing envelopes. The boys find a new one on our table each morning and the anticipation rises all day until we open it over dinner. Wouldn’t our envelopes fit so nicely into this little holder?
Yeah, I think so too.
As Grace said, we try to use the advent calendar to make space for things we’re hoping to do as a family anyhow. It’s a great way to make sure that we make room for family fun during all the crazy busyness of the season. Here are a few of the things the boys may see when they open their envelopes this year:
up late to sing Christmas songs
around to see the lights
and holiday movie night
pancakes for dinner
new Christmas book and related activity
cocoa and game night
a blanket fort
and give cookies
a holiday puzzle
a name from a giving tree and shop for gifts
making (and delivering!)
bells to hang on your bedroom door
up lights/decorations in their rooms
new set of watercolors and brushes
new coloring book and fresh crayons, along with envelopes and stamps to mail
their art to loved ones
to a collection (snow village houses, a snow globe, ornaments, etc)
to or visiting Santa
an event or performance
fire and smores
the Christmas tree
gift bags for the homeless
* Passing out gifts at a local children’s home
* Play our christmas songs (on their instruments) at a nursing home
a special gift for a loved one
a living room campout
sock puppets and put on a show
coloring! (add cups, spoons, bowls and water for lots of mixing fun!)
straws and warm vanilla milk
Holiday/Winter books are a really special part of our advent season. We have four big milk crates that house our seasonal books. Bringing down the powder blue one that holds our holiday books is always a big event. Over the years we have done little activities along with the reading of each new book. Now, the boys really remember those activities and MUST do them again as each story is retold. The little ritual of repeating these activities has become a very sweet and comforting part of our advent fun.
Some of our favorite stories and some go-along activities:
Gingerbread Man, Jim
Aylesworth (or any of the many variations!)– make ginger or cinnamon scented
Christmas , Wende Devlin– play in a bathtub cranberry bog
Frost’s Stopping By Woods, illustrated by Susan Jeffers – make a pine
cone or cardboard tube bird feeder
and the Big Snow , Virginia Lee Burton – play with shaving cream!
Willowby’s Christmas Tree , Robert Barry– put up and decorate small trees in their rooms.
Littlest Angel – make treasure boxes or have a treasure hunt
of God, Tomie dePaola – juggle
of The Poinsettia , Tomie dePaola– make paper poinsettias or visit a
nursery and pick one out.
, Astrid Lindgrin– play stuffed animal zoo, or animal charades
and the Fox , Astrid Lindgrin– have oatmeal for dinner and leave a little
out for the fox.
of the Candy Cane , Lori Walburg VandenBosch– Make peppermint bark
Express, Chris VanAllsburg – make a jingle bell necklace or door hanger
Night Before Christmas , Clement C. Moore– hang your stockings and leave
cookies for santa
the Snowman , Jack Rollins– Have a sock snowball fight.
I’ve recently discovered that we’re not the only ones who like to pair holiday activities and books. You can find some great ideas at the Crafty Crow’s Book & Activity Advent!
I hope that you guys have a wonderful, cozy weekend! Be sure to join me on Monday because we have a really fun giveaway planned!