We like to take the days leading up to Christmas as a time to prepare our hearts to worship Jesus and thank God for the greatest gift He has given us, His Son. We also like to sing at the top of our lungs and have more than a little bit of fun along the way.
Here's how we spent the first week of Advent this year.
We hauled boxes out of the garage and decked our halls. We don't have any balls of holly, but we do have stories to tell for each and every ornament on our tree. Around here we don't have the energy or patience for magazine-perfect trees. We each get a new ornament every year, and on decorating day, we remember where we were and why we picked what we did. And no decorating day would be complete without mugs of steaming hot cocoa!
A trip to the library to pick out some new-to-us Christmas books began our evening of reading holiday books together, singing carols around the piano, playing "mystery carol" pictionary, and "hide-and-sing" (a musical version of hot and cold). This day was so simple, but has been one of my favorites so far!
We found a local pet shop that had an "angel tree" for adoptable rescue animals. Since we aren't really in the market for a pet (well, one of isn't, anyway), we wanted to find a way to help out some sweet creatures. Each of the boys picked one adorable fur baby from the tree and bought several items from its wish list. Then we loved on some rescue animals for several hours. I was strictly warned not to "get any ideas." It was (is) hard not to!
The nature center here had a lovely Christmas party filled with crafts, carolers, snacks, stories, and games! Not to mention the displays and critters that are always there. Daddy got to come along with us, which is always a treat, and we had a delightful evening!
It's Gingerbread Day! This year we baked and decorated Ninjabread cookies and decorated a house. What house doesn't need ninjas protecting it?
Happy St. Nicholas Day! We learned about the true St. Nicholas and participated in his spirit of giving by filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. You can, too! The boys are always very generous in theory. They do get a little look of panic on their faces when they realize they are giving some of their own money, but manage to get over it pretty quickly. Then we made some adorable Santa ornaments with paint and duct tape. The highlight of the evening for me was a mini recital of "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" by the twins.
We took another trip to the nature center and learned about the different ways that animals cope with winter: migration, adaptation, and hibernation. Back home, we used pinecones and felt to create our own winter creatures: an owl, a mouse, a penguin, a cardinal, a squirrel, a snowshoe hare, and a fox. They are adorable just sitting on the shelf, but the boys love to play with them, too!