When you’re an adult, most of the magic of Christmas is just a memory. Santa is a nostalgic part of your youth and it’s easy to become disgruntled about the commercialism of the season. But sometimes, you just want to reach back and grasp some of that sparkly Christmas dust and bring it back. I still love looking in windows at Christmas displays, peering at Christmas lights in passing, and I still love to hear the story of Jesus’ birth no matter how many times I’ve heard it before. Every year for the past 20-something years of my life, my grandpa would read the Bible story to us and relate it in some way to our lives in the current day. He took a fresh approach every year, so we always got something different out of it. When we were younger, we had to sit on our hands in anticipation of gift opening, but those memories are now the sweetest treasure. We lost grandma and grandpa pretty close together in the past couple of years. Last year was the final time we gathered as a big full family around grandma’s table. This year, that house where all the magic happened is completely renovated and up for sale and it hurts the heart of all their progeny. (Give your family extra long hugs this year, would you?)
It is time now, as parents, to create that magic for our own little family and begin traditions that will be carried on down the line. Perhaps one day the way we choose to celebrate will become one of our own unforgettable legacies. One of those traditions I hope to pass down is our version of the Advent calendar and some of the traditions that are created within that calendar (i.e. giving back, watching all the classic movies together) and celebrating Christmas for the whole month of December, building a climax to the actual holiday itself.
Here are the activities in our Advent calendar and a peek into our Christmas preparations:
Take a ride around town looking at Christmas lights
Rent Christmas books from the library and read together
Make Ninja Turtle ornaments (Inspired by these)
Festival of Lights
Send a letter to Santa
Make Christmas sugar cookies
Go buy a new Christmas CD/album
Eat dinner by candlelight
Have hot cocoa or cider together
Read the Christmas story in the Bible
Make a Gingerbread house
Make and hang coffee filter snowflakes
Bring hot cocoa (and money) to a bell ringer
Make reindeer food
Start embroidery project for grandmas (inspired by this)
Nighttime Christmas walk
Think of a special gift for Jesus like the 3 kings
Make an angel tree topper (from here)
Play with Christmas cookie cutter and Play Doh
Here are some more ideas from two years ago when we did it!
I used the printable paper from here and filled in our activities. Then wrapped them up, tied them with string, and put them in a simple Christmas box. Kayne just loves picking one out every day and looks forward to the simple ways that we’re building up to Christmas. Notice that these activities aren’t extravagant or extra time-consuming (I do have an infant at home!), but they are very meaningful and highly anticipated nonetheless. I hope you are inspired by this simple way of creating new traditions, gather together as a family, and create memories and perhaps even a legacy for your own children.
How are you celebrating this month?