December is here and the Christmas season is in full effect at our house. I love Christmas and it is truly my most favorite time of the year. Although I am not a big fan of the cold, I love the snow from after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day.
I love mostly everything about this season: the activities at church, the movies & music, all the decorations & lights, the act of giving , and most of all creating memories with the ones I love.
I do not love all the pressure that comes with this time of year. I open my Pinterest and my feed is immediately filled with advent calendars and activities for Elf on the Shelf shenanigans. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about special activities during this joyous time of the year, but the calendars do not work for our family. There is something that gives me serious heartburn about opening a box or drawing a slip of paper that tells me what I have to do that day. What if it has been a rough day and we don’t have time to get the glitter, fabric and all the bells and whistles to make some elaborate craft for the neighbors that they will throw away? To me, these advent calendars are too much and too binding- at least for our family.
Instead of an advent calendar, Josh and I sit down a week before Thanksgiving and discuss what it is we want to do this holiday season. We create a list of activities for our family with three things in mind: 1. we are ultimately celebrating and teaching the true meaning of Christmas, 2. we are teaching what it means to be benevolent, 3. we are creating memories and traditions our children will remember.
Our Advent Activity List for 2014:
- Decorate the tree
- Read the Birth of Jesus
- Bake Christmas cookies
- Shop for a family in need
- Take coffee and donuts to local fire and police station
- Attend the tree lighting ceremony
- Breakfast with Baby Jesus
- Drive around and look at lights and make a stop for hot chocolate
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Complete a family Christmas craft
- Make a countdown chain
- Attend a choir concert
- Shop for a gift for your sibling
- Open a new Christmas book on each of the Sundays in Advent
- Take cookies to the neighbors
- Unwrap a new ornament and place on the tree
We may not get to all these activities and that is okay. We may also add things to our list as the season progresses. It is our hope that no matter what we do, our children will learn the true meaning behind the season. We want this time to be more about the experiences and less about the gifts.
Josh and I also have a Christmas tradition that we always go out on a “Christmas Date”. This is a night where we go downtown for a Christmas show and then have hot chocolate on the circle. In the past we have always gone to see The Christmas Carol, but this year we are changing it up and will go to the Yuletide Celebration- we really look forward to that.