Monday, December 5, 2011

Celebrating Christmas.

I'd love to say we're in full Christmas swing here, but sadly, since our decorations aren't up yet, it hardly feels like the holidays. Well, besides the Christmas tunes I have constantly playing, the Little People nativity that is now up full time or our newly arrived Elf on the Shelf. Ah, yes, Christmas is upon us. And I thought it would be nice if I listed some of the things our family is doing (or planning to do) to ring in Jesus' birth. These are in no particular order, and I feel the need to say now that this post is not compensated in anyway. Gotta keep those naysayers quiet from the start :)
  • Truth in the Tinsel. Several people tweeted this link a few days ago. When I read the article, I knew I had found the advent activity I wanted to do with the kids. I had been looking for something that was Christ-centered and that had scripture to go along with the stories and thinggs we would talk about. I downloaded Truth in the Tinsel and we've been doing it at breakfast every morning with Brayden. I decided to skip the crafts this year. B's just too wiggly and crafts tend to make us fight, so I'm not even attempting it. I did google coloring sheets to accompany the theme of the day, and that has been fun for him. We'll attempt crafts when he's a bit older and we can all have fun with that.
  • Santa Express. We went on a Santa train ride this past Saturday. Connor didn't really know what was going on, but Brayden did and he loved it! It was a perfect amount of time on the train.
  • Picking out our LIVE tree. I'd love to tell you that we go to a tree farm and actually cut our own tree down, but (a) I'm not sure there is such a thing that is close to us and (b) cutting down a tree with two toddlers in tow sounds like a perfect excursion for the centennial toddler implosions. SO, we go to Home Depot. Or Lowe's. We haven't gone yet. We had every intention of getting our tree this past weekend, but alas, the weather was the pits and we held off till this weekend.
  • Christmas tunes. I am a self-proclaimed Christmas music addict. So much so that when Drew and I were first married (and it might have been before then, I can't remember), he made me promise I wouldn't listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving day. I may or may not have cheated this year since I now stay at home with the boys, but hey, I do whatever I can for a sane moment in these parts! ha! My favorite pandora Christmas stations currently are the Michael Buble holiday station and the Chris Tomlin holiday station. 
  • Happy Birthday Jesus cake. My mom started this tradition last year, and I plan on continuing the tradition. Can't wait for Brayden to do it with me... he's all about birthday parties these days.
  • Christmas Eve service at Church. Our church has a great Christmas Eve service for kids. They sing all kinds of songs, have the kids wear their pj's, and they even have the glow in the dark sticks (in lieu of candles with the little ones)! This will be our 3rd year to attend the service and I can't wait.
  • Elf on the Shelf. I heard about this tradition last year, but never followed through with getting it since B was still a little too young. We actually just got our Elf in the mail today from Target. I told Brayden that Santa had sent something from the north pole for him and Connor. We opened it up, read the book, and put Bonner (Brayden named the Elf-- NO idea where he got it from!) up on the shelf to watch us. I'm pretty sure it's going to take a few days for him to understand what it's really all about. I love this though. I'm going to do a separate post on Bonner later this week when I can upload my pictures. 
  • Santa picture. Ahh yes, the yearly picture with Santa in which most children cry and most parents laugh. I'm not really sure why parents do this to their children, if nothing more than because our parents did it to us. My boys actually don't mind Santa, and are both super happy when they see him. When they get their picture taken with him though, they are all business and no smiles. haha!
  • Little People Nativity. This was Brayden's Christmas present for his first Christmas. It normally stays up in the closet and will be brought down for occasional play. But after Thanksgiving it's up on the entry way table full time until Christmas day. We talk about the nativity daily. Brayden will say to me "are you Mary momma?" and then reply to his own question, "Nooooo! You're not Mary! Mary Jesus' momma. Lindsey my momma!" And then he'll proceed to laugh at himself. That boy is a hoot! If you don't have one of these nativities I highly recommend it. It sings "Away in a Manger" and is durable to withstand all of the touching, throwing and biting more than any other nativity out there.
  • Sugar cookie decorations. I plan on doing the decorating of cookies again, although I'm sure Drew will question my sanity in doing so considering that last year it ended up being a mess and a half. What's making memories without messes though, right? haha!
  • Christmas lights. This year we're not putting up lights since Drew's in school and we just don't have the time to mess with it. Brayden LOVES them though, so I'm sure we'll have several car rides to look at the lights. Last year we went to a house that has lights programmed to music... it's awesome and I heard that it's up again this year, so you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be doing that again!
What are some fun Christmas traditions that you have carried on from your childhood or started afresh with your own kids? I'm always up for learning new traditions! 

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