Easily my favorite part of Christmas this year was doing our traditional Advent Calendar.
I’ve blogged about it every year so I’ll keep my words brief. Basically, we use our advent calendar for scripture study in the month of Dec. Each day of the calendar is stuffed with a Christ centered story, scripture, song or video etc. There are also little treats and some days have special activities associated with the scripture.
It’s a wonderful way for us to keep the season Christ centered and make warm family memories. I loved teaching and testifying of Christ every single day to my children. I loved telling them stories from His life that they hadn’t yet heard. I loved seeing their enthusiasm every night. I hope they will always love to do this with us!
The first of Dec I talked about HERE. If you are interested. It has much more detail than I will be giving for the rest of our days!
Early in the season we did a night on symbolism. We used Isaiah 1:18 (the only activity for whose scripture I haven’t changed from year to year) and talked about red representing sin and also the Savior’s atoning blood, and white representing being made clean again. We also talked about the symbolism of the Christmas tree, of Stars, of Lights etc.
Then we made our traditional popcorn and cranberry garland with our colors from Isaiah:
Someday I envision us all making our own strands (right now each boy is paired with a parent) and being able to make really long ones that will hang all around the room or all around the tree or something. As it is right now, it took us quite a long time just to get enough to make this:
Mistletoe (Love being the reason for all Christ did… having a hard time recalling what scripture we used… sorry!). This one continues to be Alaster’s favorite. He asked on the first day of the Advent Calendar “When will that kissing hugging thing that we hang on the ceiling come?!?!” It was fun to catch each other underneath (not too hard to do… we hang it in the middle of the living room!) and give loves.
We also did a Family Snuggle Activity, but we didn’t take any pictures. For that one I remember we used 1 John 4:7-11.
Another night we talked about how Christ made it possible for Families to be Together Forever and how He is central to all ordinances, including Temple Sealing Ordinances. We talked about the importance of Family, and then we made Christmas Cards for some family that live far away. If you didn’t get one: WE STILL LOVE YOU!!! We just couldn’t make one for everyone, and we didn’t do normal Christmas Cards. Sorry! The budget didn’t allow it this year.
The final products:
Each card was so unique! Look closely at the pictures. There are some pretty fun details! I love that the boys wrote “designed by: _____” with their names. Cute!
The night we made Gingerbread Men we talked about how Jesus showed His power over death during His life (we read the story of Lazarus from John 11) and how because He holds that power we will all be resurrected one day. We will get our bodies back! Bodies… gingerbread men… it’s all connected.
After we stamped out and baked the men we had to wait for them to cool before decorating them. During that time I was washing dishes (Did I tell you our dishwasher broke? Bummer!) and Jack volunteered to dry. We honestly had a really, really good time working together that night, not just playing. I love being a family!
The final product:
Do you need a fantastic soft gingerbread cookie recipe? Email me. I love ours! They are so yummy!
The night we were scheduled to do Luminaries something came up, and we never got to it. Shoot! I have to be very scheduled about what nights we do the activities and if we miss one it’s pretty much a tough-luck-chuck situation.
But we did manage to introduce a new activity into the mix: Gingerbread Houses! We did this one on Christmas Eve when we read Luke 2. The houses were to remind us that there was no room for Jesus at the inn. We talked about how we sometimes keep Jesus out of our lives and then what we could do to make room for Him.
I’d like to tell you that we baked our houses and that I had darling candy dishes full of things for the boys to decorate with, but the truth is I bought a snoopy-gingerbread-dog-house kit for $11 and called it good! We wanted the dog house kit because they were just nice and small and simple. The boys loved it!
I love these little traditions of ours SO much. The holidays can be stressful and it takes some work to put all of this together, but in the end it’s always very, very worth it. Our testimonies of the Savior grew. We grew closer to each other and had so much fun. We felt the magic of the Christmas Season!
I am a cheeseball huh? Oh well. It’s all true. I love my family, and I love Christmas!
Oh… and are you wondering where Truman is in all of these pictures? Well. We really could only do the activities at night after dinner. Truman goes to bed between 6:30 and 7 immediately following dinner, so he wasn’t ever around. Sad, huh?!? I know. We missed him, but think next year he’ll be bigger and staying up later. It will be fun to include him!
Pregancy Update: Still WAITING.