Parenting teens · Parenting tweens

Christmas Now and Then – A Mom of Big Kids Updates Her List

Just a few days ago I wrote about what I really want for Christmas. It was a list of all the things that, in a perfect world, would be different around my house. That list is spot on. I stand by that list. And yet, as I look back over it, I can’t help thinking about how different that list is from one I might have written ten years ago – when all of my children were small. And the truth is, it made me sad.

Sure big kids are great. They like to stay up late and watch holiday movies with me. They rarely destroy the Christmas tree ornaments. And the girls usually fill their Christmas list with cute boots and sweaters that fit me too. Even so, a part of me longs for the days when Christmastime was magic. I miss having a houseful of little people bubbling with excitement and filled with wonder.

So, in addition to matched socks and a crumb-free counter, there are a few things I’d like to add to my Christmas list – things that I never would have wished for a few years ago…

  • I used to wish that I didn’t have to stay up until 2:00 a.m, assembling toys and stuffing stockings. Now I wish someone wanted a doll house for Christmas or a baby doll stroller or a train set. And oh how I wish someone believed in Santa.
  • I used to wish I could get just a little more sleep on Christmas morning. Now I wish I could hear the pitter patter of tiny feet racing down the hall and the excited squeals of children delighted to see what Santa has brought.
  • I used to wish for just a few hours to myself to bake and decorate and wrap presents. Now I wish I had sticky fingers in my hair and chocolate kisses on my cheeks. I wish I had a whole new set of Christmas ornaments made out of macaroni and salt dough and goofy school pictures.
  • I used to wish they would all sit still for a Christmas photo. Now I wish they would all be home at the same time for a Christmas photo.
  • I used to wish it wouldn’t snow. How tired I got of the bundling and unbundling, the soggy mittens and the wet boots. Now I wish I could see a chubby faced little one trying to catch a snowflake on her tongue.
  • I used to wish, in spite of the late nights and the mess and the hassle, that they could all stay little just a little longer. I used to wish I could freeze time.

Now? Now I still wish I could freeze time. I wish that my boys would always want to wrestle and rough house and make too much noise and drive me a little bit crazy. I wish my girls would always want to stay up way too late and watch schmaltzy Christmas movies with me and cuddle under a pile of blankets. I wish that my family would always go to Christmas Mass together and struggle to all squeeze into one pew. I wish they weren’t all going to be grown and gone very very soon.

No, they are not little anymore, but Christmases around our house are still pretty magical. They are all growing up to be interesting and kind and funny and the type of people I like to hang out with. So, I guess as far as wishes go, mine really are coming true.

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Originally Posted December, 2014

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It’s Not Over Yet (and other things to remember about Christmas)

Today is December 28, the fourth day of Christmas.  That’s right.  Not the fourth day after Christmas.  The fourth day of Christmas.  My children know this because I talk about it with them every year.  The tree is still up.  I’m still playing Christmas carols around the house.  And we are definitely still feasting.

But even with all of this, I  sometimes a struggle to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas very well.  I know that we should.  And we try.  We really do.  But, as much as I try to be in the world yet not of the world, when it comes to the biggest holiday of the year, it’s hard to fight  mainstream thinking.  It’s hard stay in Christmas mode when our culture has,literally and figuratively speaking, kicked the Christmas tree to the curb.  Part of the problem is that we have lost site of some important truths about Christmas.  So, like I do when something is bothering me, I think I’ll just make a list.  Here is what I think we (I) need to remember about Christmas:

  • Christmas did not begin the day after Thanksgiving.  The weeks before Christmas, beginning the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, are not the Christmas season, they are the season of Advent – a time of prayerful preparation for the coming of the Lord.  Make no mistake.  Despite the fact that the Best Buy sales clerk won’t say Merry Christmas, there is no war on Christmas.  The war is on Advent, and the merchants are winning.  If we are convinced that the sign of Christmas spirit is how our shopping experience plays out, they’ve already won.
  • Santa Claus is real.  His real name is Saint Nicholas.  In his time he gave people generous gifts, and we continue to be his helpers as a way of celebrating the ultimate gift of our Savior.  Oh! And he also once punched a heretic in the face.  Nicholas-Icon-Meme-1
  • Christmas is not all about the presents, but it is a little about the presents.  A lot of Christians complain because Christmas has become too commercial.  And there is a lot of truth to that.  But we give gifts to one another out of love.  A well-thought out gift doesn’t isn’t just a token.  It’s a way of saying, “I get you.  I know you and I knew you’d like this.” Or.  “I want you to be pleased and since I didn’t know what to buy you, here’s a gift card.”  Either way, giving gift giving isn’t opposed the to Christmas spirit.  It is a part of the Christmas spirit.  Sometimes in our over-merchandised culture, Christmas presents get a bad wrap (pun intended).  But they are an important part of celebrating the season.  God gave us this gift of His Son because He loves us.  We give each other new sweaters, bathrobes, and toys for the same reason.
  • Christmas lasts for 12 Days, but the joy of Christmas lasts forever.  As I’ve said, I think it’s important to try to honor Christmas as a season.  God becoming a man certainly deserves an extended celebration.  The birth of Jesus is cause for tremendous joy, and joy is expressed through feasting, singing, fellowship, and gift-giving.  But some time amidst all the Christmas revelry, it is important to stop and do as Mary did and ponder these things.  God became a man so that we could know God.  It’s an incredible mystery.  As Scott Hahn put it in his book Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and still does)

No human could have invented the triune God…No human mind could have conceived of a God who is love and who loves us as if we were Gods.  No human mind, unaided by angels, could have dreamt up Christmas.

From my family to yours, Charming Readers, Merry Christmas!

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My Favorite Christmas Story…

Every year at the beginning of Advent I bring out our family’s collection of Christmas stories.  It is rare now that the kids will let me read to them, but I still like to get out our favorite books and have them around – a reminder of some very special times. We have Dickens’s  A Christmas Carol, Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, a beautiful book book from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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And several other books that I treasure.

I still cry every time I read. Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt

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Or The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski.

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But I think my favorite Christmas story might be one I discovered just a couple of years ago.  I found it when I was looking for something for my 9th grade Pre-Ap English class to read.

A Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck is the story of a young boy who suddenly realizes that his serious, hard-working father actually loves him and what that boy does to show his love for his father in return.

I think I am so enamored with this story because it underscores the power of a simple act of kindness and of the power of knowing that you are loved.  But perhaps the reason I love it the most is because it reminds me of so much of my grandfather. The young boy’s act of love is exactly like something my grandfather would have done or something he would have appreciated.  And even though, I am sorry to say, I never did anything as meaningful for my grandfather as the boy in this story does for his dad, I do remember Papa’s “queer, sobbing sort of laugh” and his misty eyes when he was particularly delighted with one of us. I remember how happy it used to make me feel to know I had pleased him and shown him a bit of the love we always felt from him.

A Christmas Day in the Morning isn’t a religious story. There’s no manger scene, wise men, or shepherds. It is simply a charming story about the love between a boy and his father and how the boy carried that love with him his entire life.

Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas…

A Christmas Day in the Morning (pdf)

ChristmasDayInTheMorning

 

 

 

Confessions · Life with Kids

What I Really Want for Christmas (a mom’s list)

For weeks now my kids have been asking me what I want for Christmas.  And I have said the thing that I am supposed to say, that I always say –  I don’t need anything.  I just want  all of my children to be happy and healthy.  It’s true.  I don’t need anything.  And I do want my children to be happy and healthy.  But they are good children, so no matter how often I say that I really don’t need anything, they will pool their money and buy me a new bathrobe or nightgown, or a maybe well-intentioned kitchen gadget.  And I’ll be grateful because I know they are buying me presents because they love me and want to show me that they care.

But here’s the thing.  I’m lying. I don’t just want healthy happy kids. Sure that’s the most important thing, but there are a few things that I desperately want.  I want ’em real bad.  Perhaps it’s not too late to give my family my real Christmas list…

  • I want everyone to lick or wipe the peanut butter off the spoon before dropping it in the sink.  Better yet, lick it off and drop it in the dishwasher.
  • I want to never hear the words. SHOTGUN! again.
  • I want to never open the cabinet and find a box with approximately two tablespoons of cereal left in it.
  • I want a vehicle free of dead french fries and straw wrappers.
  • I want all the socks in whole world (or at least in my house) to find and keep their forever mate.
  • I want counter tops free from crumbs.
  • I want well-fed dogs and chickens and livestock.  And I want to eliminate the phrase Did you feed the….  from my vocabulary.
  • I want to stop pretending that the little flecks of green in the pasta are seasonings.  It’s spinach, ya’ll.  Okay.  It’s spinach.  It has always been spinach.
  • I want to sit down with my coffee or my computer or my book for more than five minutes at time before someone says, “Hey Mamma!  Will you…”
  • I want to always be able to find a pen.  And my scissors.  And the duck tape.  Seriously.  Who keeps running off with the duck tape?
  • I want to stop repeating myself.
  • I want to stop repeating myself.
  • I want a TV show that comes on during primetime that I can watch with my whole family and that does not involve wildlife or people wearing cammo – and that will not be interrupted by commercials for tampons, Viagra, or Victoria’s Secret.
  • I want to learn how to use the television remote control, and I want the kids to forget how to use the television remote control.
  • I want, just now and then, to arrive at church with a relaxed, well-dressed family at least 15 minutes early.
  • I want to pray more as a family.
  • I want to play more as a family.
  • I want to sit down to dinner more often.
  • I want to cook from scratch, and I want someone else to clean the kitchen.
  • I want more nights at home with my family and fewer nights all going in different directions.
  • I want to slow down time.

Obviously, some of the things on my list are within my family’s power to give me and some are not.  But in the end, I know I will get bathrobe or a nightgown or a kitchen gadget.  And that’s okay.  Because even though whatever I get might not come with a life-time supply of  spotless kitchens or perfectly matched socks, it will come with love. And I really could use a new bathrobe.

My Greatest Gifts!
My Greatest Gifts!

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Life with Kids · What we've learned

Save Christmas! Observe Advent.

The signs are everywhere.  Houses and yards are adorned with twinkling lights and plastic snowmen.  Stores festively display Christmas decorations and the latest must-have items of the season.  Our mailboxes are bursting forth with invitations to gift exchanges, tasting parties, and other holiday festivities. At long last that magical season is upon us.  But wait! It’s mid-November I still have fall leaves in my yard and a pumpkin on my porch.  I haven’t even planned our Thanksgiving meal yet?   How did it get to be the Christmas season already?

That’s easy.  The retailing powers that be have decided long age that the more shopping days there are in the Christmas (or as it in now known, holiday) season, the more people will shop.  The lines that begin forming outside some large chain stores before the pumpkin pie is even off the Thanksgiving table, prove that the retailers are right.

I realize that Christmas is not the only holiday to have been tweaked by corporations.  After all, we live in a country that celebrates its veterans and great presidents by buying mattresses on sale and purchasing furniture and automobiles with no money down. We charge the malls in search of the perfect Easter dress and shower, not only our true love, but also our best friends, co-workers, and teachers with Valentine’s Day cards and candies.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t enjoy Christmas treats, shop, or purchase quality bedding at drastically reduced prices.  I’m simply saying that as Christians, perhaps it would be more appropriate to look to the life of our savior and to the traditions of the Christian faith (rather than to corporate CEO’s and ad executives) as a guide for observing our holidays – at least our religious holidays.

Since the holiday season is the time when manufacturers and retailers do their best business, they have a vested interest in dictating exactly how we observe the moment in history when God became man.  They want us to prepare for Holiest events in human history by shopping and shopping and shopping and shopping and shopping! However, to truly prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the Lord, let’s consider how people used to do this before they had the benefit of Wal Mart to help them.

Actually, we first need to get our minds around the concept of preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of the Lord. There has been a lot of hubbub in recent years about The War on Christmas, but actually the war has been on Advent.  Our retailers don’t give two hoots about what we do December 25.  They care about all the shopping days before it is actually Christmas.  You see, what is now known as the Christmas season (the time somewhere between Halloween and the opening of the last gift) is actually called Advent.

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Traditionally Advent was a time of preparations.  Christians prepared themselves for Christ’s coming both as a baby in a manger and for His second coming at the end of time.  Parties, gorging on fudge, shopping and Hallmark movies are not actually longstanding Christian customs.  On the contrary, to prepare for the coming of Christ, Christians traditionally spent the days before Christmas in somber reflection.  Advent is a time to reflect on one’s shortcomings and to cleanse oneself in preparation for Christ’s arrival both spiritually in our hearts at Christmas and literally at the end of time.

Let’s take a look at how our culture spends the days before Christmas and alternatively how we as Christians can reclaim the advent season for our families.

SHOPPING

Christians have recently been offended by the trend among retailers to use the word “holiday” instead of Christmas.  When you walk into your local chain store you will likely be greeted with, “Happy Holidays!” by an eager employee who has been instructed not to say, “Merry Christmas” to you lest you be Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or some other religion and might be offended by this reference to a Christian holiday. Never mind the fact that the very word holiday is derived from the words “holy” and “day,” so the joke is really on them.  Once retailers figure that out you will be greeted by the heart-warming phrase, “Happy Winter Shopping Season.”

While the practice of striking the word Christmas from the retail vocabulary might be new, when it comes to de-Christianizing Christmas, I’m afraid that horse has long been out of the barn.  The fact that Christians are offended that their Best Buy clerk doesn’t wish them a merry Christmas is evidence of how deeply we connect the birth of our Lord with a new Playstation.  In other words, why do we care what message Target or Toys R Us is sending the world about the season?  As Christians, isn’t that our job?

It should be, but since we have spent the last several decades racing from store to store during advent in search of the perfect gift, we have forgotten how to proclaim Christ right at the very dawn of His arrival.  We don’t really prepare for Christ.  We prepare for presents, and then we are silly enough to be offended when the stores don’t proclaim Him for us.

Why don’t we just let them have their “Happy Holidays”?  If the corporate heads decided it is not in their best interest to say “Christmas” then I would just as soon they didn’t.  After all, Christmas does, in fact contain the word Christ.  So let’s leave the saying of it to people who have reverence for His name.

Gift giving is a lovely tradition.  I’m not suggesting we abandon it.  I’m merely saying let’s let the big stores have their “Happy Winter Shopping Season”, and look at some ways we can continue giving Christmas gifts without spending Advent at the Mall.

Of course the obvious way to shop less is to buy less. I know families who draw names, at least among the adults, for gift giving and set a fairly generous spending limit.  Instead of each person stretching the budget to buy several people a token gift, everyone buys for only the person whose name he or she has drawn.  With only one gift to buy, more thought goes into the gift, and it is often something of higher quality than a gift that is just one of many being purchased – more cashmere sweaters fewer sock that play jingle bells when you walk.  This is truly a case of less is more.

Other families pattern their gift giving after the magi and give each child in the family three gifts.  After all, if three gifts were enough for the Baby Jesus surely it is enough for a regular kid.  One option is to give children one gift based on a need like a new coat or shoes.  A second gift would be something the child has asked for, and the third gift a surprise.

Limiting our purchases, however is not the only way to keep from shopping the season of Advent away.  I used to pity those poor type A folks who had all their Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving.  “Where’s the fun in that?” I thought.  “They’re missing all the great hustle and bustle that makes Christmas so exciting.”  They obviously knew something I didn’t.  The goal of observing Advent is not to take the fun and excitement (or the presents) out of Christmas.  With all the presents bought (and in the case of ultra type A folks, wrapped) and put away, we can spend the days before Christmas in holy reflection without the distraction marathon shopping.

Don’t think you can go four weeks without shopping?  Consider shopping at small, local boutiques or Mom and Pop type stores.  One year I vowed to stay out of the malls during the holiday season.  I did all my shopping at the stores of our small town square.  It was lovely.  Rather that detracting from the spirit of Advent, this type of one on one interaction with members of my community added to it.  In addition, I was free from all the frustration, exhaustion, and over-stimulation that come from attending the feeding frenzy taking place at the large chain stores.  And best of all, I was supporting local families who in turn support our community.  I still do as much of my shopping as I can right in here in my hometown.  Shopping with local merchants who struggle to compete with the big stores is a wonderful way to keep the spirit of the season.

How and where we spend our money should always reflect our Christian values, but especially so during Advent. For this reason, if you can’t find what you need from a local merchant, purchasing gifts from charitable organizations is another great way to Christmas shop.  Catalogs like The Work of Human Hands specialize in fair trade merchandise made by women living in poor areas of the world.

PARTIES AND FOOD

Let me assure you, no one loves a party more than I do.  When I began to consider what it means to truly observe Advent and how our secular traditions detract from that I realized my annual Christmas party, held sometime in early December, had to go.  Ouch!

The Christmas parties that most of us attend are held anytime from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.  They range from polite ladies’ teas to the obligatory office party – complete with a drunken Santa and an exchange of delightful gag gifs like hemorrhoid cream and Chia pets. Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

Fun though those seasonal festivities may be, they are akin to allowing  a child to open her presents and blow out her candles three weeks before her birthday. It’s greedy and impatient.  There is obvious value in delaying gratification for children as well as adults.

When we spend Advent in quiet reflection and abstain from parties and feasting, we do more than just prepare our hearts for the Lord.  We prepare our senses.  By denying ourselves the parties and all their trimmings we give our bodies as well as our spirits something to look forward to.  We are created beings –mind, soul, and body.  It is only natural that the heavenly joy we experience in our spirits be expressed in the very earthly activities of celebrating.

Feasting has long been an expression of joy and a way of celebrating life’s most special events.  Why shouldn’t we celebrate the birth of our savior in the same way?  In fact, the feasts that celebrate the life of Christ should put all our other feasting to shame.

Joy to the world!  The Lord is come!  Break out the good China and Grandma’s pecan pie recipe.  If equating such earthly pleasures as fine table settings and pie with joy in the Lord seems crass, perhaps it is because that at the same time we have over commercialized Christmas, we have also over spiritualized  Christmas.  We tell ourselves that how we spend our time, money, and calories before Christmas doesnt’ matter.  All that matters is what’s in our hearts.  Yet isn’t what’s in our hearts often expressed through the material – what we wear, eat, buy, and do.

If things like gifts, fudge, champagne, cookies, and other trimmings of the season are a material way of expression our joy at the coming of the Lord (as well they should be), shouldn’t we wait until He comes? It seems rude to start the party before the guest of honor has arrived. Yes, I know He is always with us, but Christmas should be a time for celebrating Him in a special way.  Instead we are like spoiled,impatient children who demand to open our presents long before our birthday,

 HOW THEN DO WE PREPARE?

Okay.  We have cut out the malls, declined all the parties, and shunned all the fudge.  Yipppeeee now we are in the right frame of mind to receive the Lord.  “Please, Lord hurry up and return and put us out of our misery.”  Actually, that is not exactly the proper frame of mind either.  The point of advent is not to make ourselves so miserable that we pray for the end of time.  Instead, when we give up some of our long standing secular traditions we must replace them with new ones that enable us to joyfully prepare for the coming of the Lord.  Here are a few suggestions:

The Advent Wreath

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The Advent wreath can be a great tool in anticipation for Christmas.  The origins of the advent wreath are unknown, but Christians have used it for centuries to mark the days leading to the coming of Christ.  Advent wreaths are made of various evergreens which symbolize everlasting life.  Four candles are placed in the wreath – three purple and one rose and a new candle is lit each Sunday during Advent.  The lighting of the candle is accompanied by prayer and a spiritual reading.  To learn more about using an Advent wreaths read here or here.

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These are another special way to observe Advent, but like most everything else related to Christmas, they range from the lovely to the absurd.   Beware of the Disney Advent Calendar.

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Decorations

When I began to take Advent more seriously a big adjustment for me (aside from the party thing) was not putting up my Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  Like everything else our decorations should reflect the season, and advent is not yet Christmas.  Still, it is a time set apart.  Purple, the color of advent, represents humility, penance, and melancholy.  During the days of advent when we should be humbly waiting on the Lord it is more appropriate to festoon our homes in purple rather than red and green.  Hang your traditional Christmas greenery, but decorate it with purple ribbon.

I know what you are thinking.  Aren’t we getting a little carried away if we think something silly like what colors we use really matters? I don’t know.  Is it silly for a bride to wear white?  If color doesn’t make a statement why don’t any brides ever where black?  Would you consider wearing red to you grandmother’s funeral?  Still, if the color of the ribbon we use seems a small thing, keep in mind that it will be in a stringing together of numerous these small gestures and observances that we will see our families, and hopefully our churches, begin to set themselves apart from the rest of the world.

Some families put up their tree early in the advent season, but only hang the lights (to represent the Light of the World) and save the festive decorations until closer to the arrival of the King.  Other families wait until He is nearly here, sometime after the third week of advent, to put up the tree

One way I’ve compromised with my family (many of whom still want to put the tree up in early December) is to make a make many of our decorations (and gifts) together as a family during Advent. Last year we made beautiful Names of Jesus Ornaments.

However we choose to decorate, we must remember that we are decorating for the arrival of our King.  If an earthy king or dignitary were to visit a place, his arrival would not be celebrated beforehand, nor would the decorations be in place weeks before his coming.  If so, they would loose their specialness.  People would forget they were for the king and begin to think they were for themselves.

Another alternative to an early Christmas tree is a Jesse Tree.  We’ve never done one in our home, but it is a small tree with homemade (or store bought) ornaments that represent major stories of the Old Testament, which of course foreshadow the coming of Jesus.

Jesse Tree
Jesse Tree

Baking and cooking.

I love holiday baking, and observing advent doesn’t mean I have to give it up. In fact, time in the kitchen with my kids preparing special goodies, is a lovely Advent tradition. But it’s helpful to bake with a sense of anticipation in mind.  We are preparing for something (Someone) special.  So, our goodies should be prepared as gifts for others or frozen and saved until Christmas.  Of course, we will taste along the way – again, I don’t want to torture my children during Advent.  But we try not to gorge and make the baking all about us.

Santa or Saint Nicholas

You might be think that in an attempt to de-secularize the season we would abandon Santa.  Not so.  When our children we small we did downplay the flying reindeer and elves to a degree and tried to focus on Saint Nicholas., without taking too much away from the fun of believing in Santa.  In addition to watching this cartoon, I always have the children leave their shoes out on December 6, the Feast of Saint Nicholas.  He stops by after they’ve gone to bed and leaves some candy, and a note reminding them to prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Celebrate All 12 Days of Christmas

In our culture we seem to be in nearly as big a hurry to end Christmas as we were to begin it.  Many people take down their tree on Christmas Day – just before rushing back to the store for post-Christmas deals.  But again, Christians have traditionally done things differently.  In many countries The Feast of Christmas is kept until January 6, when they celebrate the Epiphany or coming of the Magi.

Prayer

Foregoing non-stop partying (before Christmas) and only buying local and fair trade Christmas gifts are important outward signs that we are preparing for Christ, but they don’t amount to much if we don’t aren’t actually preparing our hearts.  Of course we should be praying and reading scripture daily, but during Advent, it’s a good idea to focus our prayer and reading on His coming.

There are numerous books and devotionals dedicated to the season of Advent.  One of my favorite devotional activities is the Spiritual Crip.  This one is ideal for younger children (although it can be adapted for adults), but the idea is that each day, you prepare your heart to be a manger for the Baby Jesus.

The reality is there are dozens of things we do during December that are not in keeping with the traditional Christian understanding of the season.  It’s unlikely we’ll weed them all out, but by setting a few of the more secular activities aside and trying to keep a spirit of reflection, anticipation and preparation, we will begin to reclaim the season from the retailers.  In so doing, we will be a better example to the world of what we believe, and we will be blessed beyond measure.
Here are a few link to help you get started with or the add to your Advent observances.

This woman writes about shopping in her hometown. I’d like to write a similar post for my hometown.

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Life with Kids

The Second Annual Mother Daughter Holiday Craft Weekend and Pajama Party

I know Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but here in Arkansas it is the opening weekend of deer season. That means the next several weekends will be (mostly) for just the girls and me. It also means that now it is time for me to start planning for the Second Annual Mother Daughter Holiday Pinterest Craft Weekend.  

To get ready I’ll need to sift through my Pinterest boards for fun ideas.  You know, the boards I’ve pinned cute craft ideas to all year and never tried.  I will need to make a list of the supplies and purchase those. I’ll need to have plenty of yummy snacks on hand – because crafting and snacking go hand in hand. And, most importantly, I’ll need to buy us all matching p.j.’s.  After shopping and shopping for some last year, I decided it was too much of a splurge. I regretted it  How much fun will it be to spend all Thanksgiving weekend  making  crafts in this little number!…

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Hanna Andersson

or this

Hannah Andersson
Hannah Andersson

I can’t wait!  Here’s the post I wrote about last year’s festivities…

I am so not crafty.  I lack the necessary attention to detail to be precise.  And I can’t cut in a straight line.  But I crack myself up.  I’m constantly pinning adorable crafts, homemade gift ideas, and DIY projects. As if…

Well, you know what!  As if I’m actually crafty, I set aside a whole weekend with my girls to take on some of the projects I’ve pinned. I bought all the supplies in advance because one of the rules of  the MOTHER DAUGHTER HOLIDAY PINTEREST CRAFT WEEKEND is that we stay in our pajamas all weekend. Cat was thrilled with the idea, and MM was willing to tolerate it. Here’s what we did:

Refrigerator Magnets
Refrigerator Magnets

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Aren’t these adorable! And they were sooooo easy. And inexpensive. We got the idea from a clever gal, Sabby in Suburbia

Young House Love gave us this clever idea.  Actually, this project was mostly Chet’s.  Yes, it was a risk letting him use the hot glue gun, but these turned out great, and he was really proud of himself.

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These are the sweetest.  In my house we try to keep the spirit of Advent.  Yet, everyone (except me) wants to put up the tree well before December 20th.  These are a good way to compromise.  The kids and I made NAMES OF JESUS ornaments and will add one to the tree everyday during Advent.

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Thank you, Roaring Momma

Also, we made these beauties!  This was MM’s favorite project.  I’ve seen the idea on a variety of websites.  And there are different methods for doing this.  We just took plain glass balls, popped off the top, squeezed in some acrylic paint, and then shook vigorously.  I think we might have skipped a step or maybe just used too much paint,  because the paint didn’t dry.  Every time someone drops one of these – paint every where.  I guess we should have used the plastic balls, but oh well. That’s how you learn.

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This next thing is all us.

-We cut pictures from old calendars and Christmas cards and burned the edges.  This is not necessary, but we like the way it looks.

-Next, we covered a small canvas with either scrapbook paper or gold spray paint.

-We glued on the picture.

-Finally we slathered the whole thing with Modge Podge.

-We just hot glued some ribbon to the back of the canvas for easy hanging.  And voila…

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We also did a cork board for Cat’s room using the same method and super cute scrapbook paper (no burning).

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We didn’t come near finishing everything I want us to make, but this is a start. As I type , I’m making this body wash from Katie Gibson.  I can’t wait to try it!

No, I’m not naturally crafty, but the holidays and time with my girls always inspire the Martha Stewart in me.  She hides most of the time, but this year, I think she showed up in full force.  Who knows, maybe she’ll stick around even after the holiday this year. 

Linked at Farm Girl FridayFrom the Farm Blog HopHomemade Mondays