Wow, getting this post out every year is a lot like getting Christmas cards out. It’s not ever as perfect as I want it to be, but by golly, it gets done! By the sheer willpower of my ISTJ personality type. Easier and possibly even a little sloppier every year. (Last year’s post didn’t make it out.) The key to getting things done is lowered expectations and mediocre standards. And that’s the real truth.
This year our home has taken on a new atmosphere during the month of December since we decided to observe Advent. Everything feels so sacred and calm. I just want to listen to carols and Handel’s Messiah every day!
HOWEVER, it shall stand that Amy Grant Home for Christmas is my favorite holiday album of all time and I have no shame in admitting this on the Internet. Regardless of my husband’s outspoken awe and horror on this topic, I remain nostalgic, wistful, and full of cheer when Amy’s 1992 voice comes on singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
This is my first time doing anything like this at Christmas! So I have no idea if I am doing it right or what, but I love the sense that we are joining with so many others in an intentional time of waiting and expectancy. We cleared our calendar (that’s how we were able to do all of this that you see here) and have enjoyed reading and doing a lot of baking and crafting together as we wait for Christmas. All of the beautiful crafts and baking in this post are from the book we are using by Jennifer Naraki, called Slow and Sacred Advent. Each craft represents an aspect of Advent. It truly has been the thing I’ve been trying to find for our family during the Christmas season!
The girls were able to help with or do all of these crafts! They were all very simple and low-cost. We had almost all the materials around our house and we did a nice, mediocre job and enjoyed the process.
Another thing I love about what we are doing is that instead of just telling my kids that Jesus is the reason for the season, we are actually walking that out. We have told our girls that Santa Claus is pretend and that the real reason for Christmas is Jesus. (With some strict instructions not to ADVERTISE THIS to the neighborhood). This year I feel like that concept has become more substantial and feels less like an obligatory Good Christian Parent line, yunno?
We are also doing a Jesse Tree from Ann Voskamp’s book. I like it, but I’m not so good at making sure to do the story every day…I’m better with batching things on a weekly basis. I think next year that I will try again and actually invest in the ornaments so the girls can unwrap one every day after our story.
The other little Christmas season tradition we have is our Christmas basket, which has books and a wooden nativity for the girls to play with. (Which by the way…I’m kind of un-impressed with my current nativity. Any recommendations for a kid-friendly one?)
So far, It has also been a great exercise in discipline for me, as I’m getting into a new mindset and gearing up for new routines next year. Over the past few weeks as we’ve been doing the readings, scriptures and crafts on a weekly routine, I’ve been able to form a better idea of what home school will look like for us. (We started in the fall, but decided to hold off until 2017, and I’ll tell you all about that in my next post!)
Christmas decorating gets a little bit easier every year too. I’ve discovered that I love garland, but that I really like fake greenery better than the real kind. Pine looks the most real and it is lovely! JoAnn had it for a steal on black friday. The decorations that I love most are the simple ones…tartan, felt, wood, and homemade garlands. I’ve eliminated almost all of my bright or glittery things. I never get tired of pulling out the vintage and timeless pieces.
And geez, building a collection of Christmas decor takes a long time, man.
I really should wait until the about the second week of December to decorate because every year like clockwork, exactly one week before Christmas, am OVER it! Hang on, Rach, only one more week of crusty greenery to go!
I hope you have enjoyed a little bit of Christmas at our house! Merry Christmas!