Saturday, December 9, 2023

Simple Christmas Traditions

    Good morning. We are only 3 weeks away from Christmas and I am, per usual, feeling the pressure and overwhelm. Especially when everyone starts releasing their very packed Christmas bucket lists. I used to try and do every single holiday thing available because I didn't want my kids to miss out, but not a lot of it was intentional. And it didn't leave much room for being sick, or our already hard to juggle schedule. Homeschooling is a full time job, caring for a home and kids is a full time job, throw in some animals and a husband who hunts and works very crazy hours and just got put back on nightshift...and it feels like there isn't much room for anything extra. So I wanted to narrow our bucket list down and make it more about achievable traditions. Now my kids are small - 4 and 6, so my list may look different than yours, or than it will in a few years. But for now, here are some things that we do to make this holiday season more special and intentional. 

1. Decorate! We decorate early to mid November, my husband leaves town for an extended hunting trip. This is usually when the kids and I start decking the house. It gives us something fun to do to fill our days and not miss him so much, and they get so excited for him to come home and see the transformation. Decorating early also gives me the opportunity to focus on other things during December. Including enjoying the cozy environment we've made.  

Our decor has been collected over many years, long before our kids came along. I purchase or make a few new things each season to add, replace or change, but otherwise, it looks very similar every year.

2. The first gifts of Christmas. This was an idea I got from The Little Home of Mine several years ago. Thanksgiving night each kid gets a gift - the first gift of Christmas, something simple...a new ornament for the tree, Christmas pajamas, a new Christmas book, etc. But this has been a fun way to officially kick off the season. 

3. Another tradition we have is making crafts or doing some DIY decor together. My mother in law always has a handful of craft kits she does with the kids that they love and we can usually turn into tree ornaments. We LOVE making our orange garland and paper bag snowflakes - you can see more about those on Instagram.

4. Movie nights! We love to snuggle up to Christmas movies around here. I created a huge list of favorites and shared it on Instagram so go check that out! 

5. Christmas books! This collection is something I'm still building. But we are big fans of curling up with a pile of books. Years ago, my mom gave me an old wooden vintage sleigh with a beautiful hand painted snowy scene on it. I use it to hold most of our favorite Christmas stories in and park it under the tree. If you have a favorite Christmas or Winter book, I'd love for you to share it in the comments! Like I said, this is a collection I am still building. 

6. Driving around to see Christmas lights. We have a large park nearby that goes ALL OUT and sets up massive displays that we can drive or walk through. This is something we visit at least once or twice a year. We usually grab some food and eat dinner while we drive around. 

7. Something I started a few years ago was when we get our first snow, we make snowball cookies! You can find the recipe here

8. Advent. A few years ago I found these gorgeous countdown to Christmas bags on Amazon...they aren't available anymore but there are others if you do a quick search. Then I printed out the daily Advent reading from Jesus Storybook Bible and put them inside and we open one each day for our main daily Advent activity. It's very simple but still points to what's important. As my kids get older we will probably move on to something more in depth, but for now, it works well. There is also a Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Activity Book you can buy that's full of crafts, etc.

9. Christmas School. We are a homeschooling family so this one might not appeal to everyone. This year we decided to add a special Christmas curriculum. I chose THIS ONE from Little House Learning Co. She created this to be simple for my kids age, but what really sold me was her use of Biblical prophecies. I am finding it so important in the world we are raising children in, for them to know prophesy. She covers the Old Testament prophecies with the New Testament fulfillment. 

10. Give! Time, money, gifts...This can be cookies for the neighbors, go caroling at a nursing home, adopt a family or child for Christmas, donate to a toy drive, collect items for the humane society, etc. 

Also, don't forget to carve out time to intentionally rest and enjoy this season. Mamas, enjoy the magic you're creating for you and your family. I don't personally do an advent study because it becomes just one more thing on my list, instead I join in with what the kids are doing. There's just as much take-a-way for me as for them. Not to mention, I've been extremely pregnant during this season twice, so I know what the anticipation of a baby at Christmastime feels like and reflecting on that, makes it personally more special. 🎔🎔🎔🎔

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Simple Christmas Traditions

     Good morning. We are only 3 weeks away from Christmas and I am, per usual, feeling the pressure and overwhelm. Especially when everyone...