Maybe it is just where I am at in my personal journey but Christmas just seems so much more significant this year then I ever experienced before. I had wonderful Christmases as a child, so much so that there would be a huge letdown after Christmas. Then as a young bride it was a bit hard to recreate, seems like I was always too busy to pause much. But this year is amazing. We are on our dream farm, literally living our dream all year round. And this time of the year is our “off-season” where we are very protective of our family time since we are so busy the rest of the year. But what makes it so wonderful, I think it is the pausing.
We did our Christmas shopping early, often opting for on-line versions so I didn’t have to navigate crowds. And we kept it minimal. Proeun and I were noticing a case of the “galloping gimmes” (from the Berenstein Bears) and were trying to figure ways to give the children a joy of giving, so we decided to do mostly homemade gifts and get the children involved. They are not as involved as I would like but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
This spring we bought a piano but I haven’t had much chance to play. Now that the Christmas season is here we are focusing on learning Christmas carols.
We started with 2 carols for the girls to sing in the choir at church. Since Mavis doesn’t read yet and Avril is not proficient enough to read and sing (though once she knows the song the words help her remember) they had to memorize all the verses for “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Once is Royal David’s City.” It was a fun exercise for all of us. And they loved singing in the choir.
I didn’t do as much crafting this year, other than the presents. I wanted to spend the month working on it but instead am focusing on Christmas stories and music to make the time significant, though Avril did make a lovely table runner with her aunt that really dresses up the table.
The children have been asking for a gingerbread house though, so when I saw a kit for a gingerbread barn I thought it would be perfect. However 4 adults and five children couldn’t figure out how to make it stay erect so it became a cookie decorating party.
The younger ones thought this was a much better idea anyway.
And so did grandpa. I had to remind myself that Christmas memories don’t need to be perfect.
I will post after Christmas about some of our projects but here are some resources for making the season more significant.
The Nativity Story, we kicked off the season with this and loved it, I hadn’t seen it before but it was perfect for setting the mood.
Advent and Christmas is Family Worship, our first year using this. I love it though it took some getting used to, also incorporates songs, better for older children but younger ones love the songs and repeating the verses.
Truth in Tinsel, we used this more last year and it is wonderful. Takes a bit more prep because there are crafts involved, but the younger ones get it more. Also has prompts to add to an advent calendar (I really want to do that next year and make an advent wreath).
And don’t forget to sing, sing all day long. We have Christmas CDs going all day long. And bake, and talk and love and just be. Merry Christmas!