Monday, December 8, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Do you hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling, too?

The Advent season has hit us full force and we are busy having fun, preparing our hearts for Jesus' birth, and generally getting our Christmas on. In case you are curious, here's the low-down on what we've been doing each day so far.

December 1: Decorate Grandad's House

Christmas was something my mom did with gusto. She loved it so much that she left several of her Santas out year round. I even teased her that she picked out her living room furniture just to match her Christmas decorations. This is only our second Christmas without her. I wanted to make decorating the house something fun for my dad rather than sad. Since we were in town for Thanksgiving, the kids and I decided that we needed a little Christmas right that very minute. So we took it upon ourselves to haul out the holly and hang some tinsel from that evergreen bough.

When my little guys decorate you get garland and ribbons EVERYWHERE. What can I say, they like their holiday bling.You might also find some elves and Santa participating in some sort of extreme sports...either that or attacking one another. I'm not quite sure.

***disclaimer*** This actually took place on November 30th. We were driving across the Midwest on the 1st, and that just isn't a very exciting Advent activity.

December 2: Decorate Our House

By the time we returned home, it was time to deck our own halls with boughs of holly.
The boys have their own little tree with a train running around it. Trimming the tree is always a special time, as we have new ornaments from every year of their lives and we reminisce as we unwrap and hang them. They love talking about what they remember from each year and think the idea of having been babies is hilarious.

December 3: Be Santa for a Senior

We "adopted" a resident at a local senior center this Christmas. We chose Wilma's tag off a tree and went shopping for her, on a quest to find everything on her wish list. We found her some nice body wash and a pretty silk flower arrangement. Rather than just buy her a soft blanket, we decided to make a no-sew fleece blanket. The boys chose a pink and black floral print for the top layer and a coordinating pink for the underside. I hope she is a girly girl, because my guys think every female loves pink!
After I prepared the fabric, each little man picked a side and began tying knots. As we went along, we took the time to pray for Wilma. This was a true labor of love for a woman we will never meet. I hope the boys are learning the blessing of giving.

December 4: Pajama Party Movie Marathon

Sometimes you've just got to get cozy with your favorite jammies, soft blankets and pillows, load up a paper plate with delicious treats, sit under the lights of the Christmas tree, and watch feel-good movies with your family.
If you squint, you can see a veggie tray back there. Despite my best efforts, most of the healthy stuff was left over.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and A Charlie Brown Christmas were the boys' selections. I have to say, I approve. You can't argue with movies that remind us that:
  • Maybe Christmas...doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more.
  • Maybe mistfits have a place, too.
  • For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord...Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

December 5: Christmas Lights at the Gardens

It was a perfect mild evening for wandering around the holiday lights display at Botanica.
My favorite things were the lights that were choreographed to music and getting the chance to hear a choir perform a few of my favorite carols. We walked down the path that led to Santa's cottage, but not one of the boys wanted to sit on the lap of a stranger and smile for a picture.

December 6: St. Nicholas Day

The boys don't believe in Santa Claus as a fat man who lives at the North Pole and flies a sleigh delivering presents all over the world on Christmas Eve. They think it's a funny game that some people play, but they are slightly irritated by the fact that penguins are often depicted as hanging with Santa. Puffins, they say, would be more realistic.

We do teach them about St. Nicholas and the origins of gift giving. We like to watch the Veggie Tales St. Nicholas movie each year and be reminded that we love because God first loved us, and we give because He gave.

This year we made these funny little Santas as the first real craft of our craft-filled holiday season.
We also packed a shoebox online for Operation Christmas Child. Each of the boys contributed some money and chose what we should pack. Then W decided he wanted to spend all the rest of the money he had to pack two more boxes. 

I'll balance that mommy brag with the fact that he wants to further display his spirit of generosity by making signs to hold up at Christmas. The signs will read "keep" or "give" so that gifts he doesn't really want can be immediately donated to children in need. I had to talk to him about how his "generosity" might be interpreted as "ingratitude."

December 7: Make Ornaments to Gift to Family

We love giving gifts. We love making gifts. We love Christmas decorations. Combine all those things into one, and you get homemade ornaments to give to people we love. Each year we try to come up with something unique and fun. I try to make sure they are at least somewhat attractive, too.
I spy a candy cane, a Christmas light, and a star. If you are in our family, you might spy a package in your mailbox very soon.

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