Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent in our house

Growing up, I had about 5,000 Christmas traditions. You might think I'm exaggerating, but Chuck would assure you I am not. And I am equally attached to each of these traditions... none of them is negotiable. Christmas is such a special time of year that everything can become a tradition, even the most mundane thing. So of course I have put a lot of thought into what I want to become traditions in my house. Some things were no brainers- each girl will have a Hallmark series Christmas ornament, and they will each have their own (small) tree. But others were more difficult. How are we going to teach Jade (and Piper, when she's old enough) the *real* meaning of Christmas? How will we balance Santa and the commercialism that comes with Christmas with Christ's birth and giving?

We are doing Santa with the girls... I have no issue with people that don't, or with people that do. I totally think you can have a Christ-centered Christmas and still believe in Santa. That's what we hope to do in our home... teach the girls that this is a magical time of year because of the birth of Christ and that we celebrate that by giving to others... and receiving graciously.

One of the ways that we are making sure Jade knows this time of year is special is the Advent calendar. I grew up doing Advent in my church (we were Methodist), but haven't gone to a church that celebrated it since then. But I figure that since it's basically just a countdown to Christmas that it's something that we could easily do in our home on a daily basis. Last year, I bought the printable Advent calendar from Naptime Diaries. I read her blog and love all of her prints! Instead of buying a new one every year, I laminated it so that we could re-use it every year and just adjust the activities based on the ages of the girls.

Right now, we have them all hanging up and we flip over a new card every day. Jade knows that we are counting down to Jesus' birthday and really enjoys flipping the card over. We then read a passage from the Bible- I am using this list. Honestly, it's completely over Jade's head and she accordingly doesn't care about it at all. But I don't really care- I think it's important to read the "real" Bible to her sometimes and I know she's getting the Christmas story in other ways. 

After we read our verse, I tell her what our special Advent activity is for the day. Some days, it's a small gift, but most of the time it's some sort of activity. Making cookies and delivering them to the neighbors is one activity. This weekend she was supposed to go on a date with Chuck (which she normally loves) but she said no, so we all went to Barnes and Noble and read books and got some hot chocolate. I'm being pretty flexible, because some days are just crazy and I don't get the activity done, but so far we're doing pretty well and she's enjoying it.

Also, at bedtime every night, we're letting her unwrap a Christmas book and reading that one to her. Most of our Christmas books are about the real Christmas story, so we're starting our day with the Advent verses and ending them with a book about Christmas.

So that's how we're "doing" Advent and Christmas here. I am loving sharing this time of year with her now that's she's old enough to really start to "get" it.

I finally added Piper's picture and stats to her one-year post if you're interested.

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