Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary again.
Today I’m going to write 7 Quick Takes about celebrating Christmas as the birth of Jesus rather than just a fun magical time to take the kids to do fun things and look forward to Santa. Things are a little different around here this year. I am trying to figure out how to combine old traditions with new ones without going overboard and doing too much stuff. I think I’m doing a fairly decent job so far.
1. We still put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I refuse to have any Christmas-ing (music, decorations, etc.) in our house until Thanksgiving has been properly celebrated (in our house this year that involved lots of meat processing)
But once Thanksgiving is done, I’m all about getting the Christmas stuff going. Music, decor, wrapping, the works. And of course, the biggie is the Christmas tree. The big girls helped a lot this year.
Okay, they pulled lots of ornaments out of the box.
And Sis enjoyed the end result.
We used to keep the tree in the family room, but we moved it into the office this year. Sis is such a climber and a stinker that I knew I wouldn’t have a moment of peace for the next month if I didn’t. Now I get to enjoy it every morning while I have my coffee and every evening while I visit with my husband.
I love our tree. I could go on and on about how much I love it, but I have done that for the past two years (at least). If you care to read all about it again, you can look at the 2011 and 2012 posts about it.
2. I have added some true Advent activities this year. Last year, I didn’t even know what Advent really is. This year, we have our very own Advent wreath.
I’m ridiculously proud of the fact that I put it together for less than $15 with stuff from Hobby Lobby and the Dollar Tree (surprise, surprise, two of my favorite places to shop).
I also got some new Christmas books, added them to most of our old Christmas books, and wrapped them up for the girls to open, one each day of Advent.
I got the idea to wrap them in purple and pink from Shower of Roses (I got some book ideas there too, she has great book lists).
3. I am still doing our Advent calendar that we used last year, but this year it’s also our Jesse tree. I just put new ornaments in the pockets and the felt tree works just fine.
4. I debated putting the cards in the pockets with different fun things to do each day. I was afraid that would be overwhelming. But we really enjoyed it last year, so I’m doing it again. It hasn’t seemed like too much so far. I figured some of the things I put in the pockets will be activities on our Winter Fun List, so I’ll kill two birds and all that.
One thing has changed though, in that I’m adding the cards to the pockets only the night before or the morning that we pull them out. I don’t have it in me to plan too far ahead at this point. In this first week already on most days I’ve just written on the card something we were going to do that day anyway, like today’s, “Drop off presents for families at church and shop for Daddy’s birthday.” Not thrilling stuff, but having it written down and pulling it out of a little pocket with a flourish and a gasp makes it so much more exciting.
5. It’s working well to do it one day at a time. I knew I wanted to take the girls to Nutcracker in the Castle some time this week, but wasn’t sure which day. On Wednesday morning, I decided we’d do it. I put the card in the pocket while the girls were playing. They didn’t even notice me putting it in there. I didn’t even have to plan ahead. Win-win.
I’m so disappointed with the quality of my photos from our outing. This event was in a local art museum, housed in an old mansion. They decorate every room as part of the Nutcracker story (they have Clara’s bedroom, a Sugarplum Fairy room, Drosselmeyer’s workshop, etc.). On the website it said photography is not allowed in the museum, so I didn’t even bring my camera. Then I got there and they said you could take pictures in the first big drawing room, which was decked out like the family’s main room with their big Christmas tree and toys underneath that they were allowed to play with.
It was so amazing, and my photos stink. The room was pretty dim, and the flash on my phone is crummy.
They had beautiful trees and decorations all through the museum, but the girls loved this room the best. They played with the toys and danced to the Sugarplum Fairy music.
I practically had to drag them out of there.
6. Last night we had another first:
Saint Nicholas came to our house and put small goodies in the girls’ shoes. They are loving reading about him.
7. I actually know the Christmas story now. I used to know that it was about Baby Jesus being born in a barn, and Mary and Joseph were there of course, and then there was something about a shepherd and a few wise men and a drummer boy…
This year, for the first time that I can remember, I actually know the story for real, from the Annunciation to the Epiphany (I can’t believe I just wrote “Annunciation” and “Epiphany” and that I know what they mean).
My kids even have a couple of nativities to play with and they act out the whole story too.
This year things are different and yet the same. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as we are!