I have fond memories of Christmas growing up. But we didn't celebrate Advent, which for me, means we didn't intentionally make the entire month of December joyous in honor of our coming King. Don't get me wrong, we had much joy, baking Christmas goodies, church Christmas plays, and your typical family celebrations. I vividly remember singing Christmas carols in the car with my mom and attempting to stay up all night with my brother on Christmas Eve. But most everything we did occurred the week of Christmas. It seemed far too short.
The Christmas season for my own family is very busy, but filled with all sorts of activities to intentionally set our gaze on Jesus and draw us closer together as a family. And oh yes, we start just as soon as we can! (after Thanksgiving, of course)
There is a string of little white boxes on the mantle, counting down the days to Christmas, each containing a much anticipated slip of paper with a written activity and perhaps... a piece of candy! (Grace Louise's favorite).
Here are a few of our Advent activities this year:
- Advent wreath. We always make it with what we have on hand, and this year we added hazelnuts!
- Christmas baking. Making special treats to share with family and friends, and fun marshmallow snowmen creations with Abby.
- Christmas Parade. This year we watched the parade at Uncle Chris and Aunt Kelly's house on Central in downtown Lake Wales. Jamesy was mesmerized with the glow stick, and Grace Louise had a blast watching the parade with her cousins.
- Care Center deliveries. This is the fourth year we have participated as drivers delivering food and gifts to families in our community. Grace Louise was a newborn, an oblivious passenger, our first year and now looks forward to handing out candy canes to the children and praying for the families we encounter. By far one of my favorite traditions.
- Christmas pageant. This fall I started taking the kids to a Musical Beginnings class at a local church and it has been one of our most valued activities during the week. Apparently I have a very musical family! Singing, dancing, instruments, all the time everywhere! Grace Louise proudly moved up to the Covenant Kids class when she turned four in November, and has since been learning songs for the Christmas pageant. They were all so precious, making a joyful noise unto the Lord!
- Visiting Granny. We made lovely pinecone ornaments to share with Granny and her friends at the nursing home again this year. We brought along cookies for the nurses and instruments for our annual singing of Jingle Bells. I'm not sure who had the most fun!
Today Grace Louise and I are taking my mom on a special birthday outing to see The Nutcracker ballet. Another fun, big event. But just as much as the fluff, I enjoy this... my darling children in their jammies half the day, playing as usual, exploring the Christmas tree and Advent boxes, even little boys playing with doll babies. It has been such a blessed Advent season, enjoying new and old traditions. I'm looking forward to celebrating the day of our dear Savior's birth in just a few more days!
Follow up from the Nutcracker:
Awesome time. awesome girls. an experience far memorable than a tangible gift. and now we have a dancing ballerina in the house!