Somehow the Advent season always sneaks up on me. I think I am going to be prepared for all of its wonderful craziness. And yet, every year, November 30th rolls around and I realize that somewhere, hidden in the boxes of holiday decor is the wooden Advent calendar. The one with all those neat little doors to open and reveal a family activity for the day. The tradition I, in a moment of insanity, started several years ago. So long ago that the children cannot remember a Christmas without it.
Each and every one of those 25 little doors is empty.
And so for the first few days of December, I am scrambling to plan the entire month and stuff festive little slips of paper into those doors while no one is looking.
I've got to confess that it causes me a bit of anxiety.
This year has been no different. I got busy. I got stressed. But somehow, I haven't yet missed a day.
On December 1st, the halls were decked and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care. We had to improvise a bit and make our own fireplace this year. It came out pretty cute.
On December 2nd, we went to the Nature Center for their "Jingle Owl the Way" party. For some reason, this is the only picture I took from that evening. I guess that means we were having too much fun to be bothered. You'd never know it from the looks of the faces of these two bell ringers, though!
December 3rd was Daddy's Thanksgiving. He got sick and all our plans for actual Thanksgiving were messed up. I don't mind a second round of turkey, yams, and pie, though!
On December 4th we learned about Christmas traditions in different countries. W picked China and liked the idea of Christmas karaoke (this is the first evidence I have seen of my genetics having any influence on this kid). N chose Australia and loved the fact that Santa has to trade his reindeer for 6 white boomers (kangaroos). L wanted to learn about Italy. He thought la befana the Christmas witch was a funny part of their traditions.
December 5th was a great night for hot chocolate, snacks, movies, and a living room campout.
On the 6th we enjoyed a concert put on by the local symphony orchestra, attempting to bring a little culture to our day. Some of us liked the listening bits, while others preferred the sing-along portion. One sweet boy was disappointed that "Rudolph" was not among the selected songs this year.
We celebrated St. Nicholas Day a day late this year with our tradition of Veggie Tales St. Nick and packing shoeboxes online for Operation Christmas Child. This year each boy also got to design and make a wreath inspired by Santa Claus.
December 8th was Gift Wrapping Day!
On the 9th we tossed together some quick costumes and went to the bookstore for Harry Potter's Yule Ball. Professors Trelawney and Dumbledore had a blast with Draco Malfoy, Hedwig, and Dudley Dursley.
The 10th was a day to continue the tradition of a new ornament for the tree every year. Instead of buying them, though, we grabbed a needle and thread and made them! The end result was pretty amazing. Thanks to Red Ted Art for the inspiration.
And now in the blink of an eye, we are on the first day of the 3rd week. And the chaos continues.
I'm excited to see what the next 2 weeks bring. Already all my careful planning has been trashed. One mistake by my t-rex arm led to a completely dead car battery this morning, missed church, and possibly a disappointing change of plans for the rest of the day if no vehicle is available.
Oh well. Christmas is not supposed to be about how many cool crafts and activities I can fill our month with. Perhaps this is just a reminder to me to relax, slow down, and breathe in the moments.