Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Advent Calendar

Well hello there. It's been a while and I'm excited to be back. My husband is home from Africa. We picked him up late from the airport and took off for our Thanksgiving trip to Arizona with my extended family. The poor boy was OUT COLD by 5pm every night, trying to adjust to the time change. I'm so glad to have him back. Three weeks was way too long, but it was a successful trip and we're grateful that he's been able to start up something new and exciting out there.

Once we returned from Arizona, I dove right into some pending projects, the hardest of which was painting the girls' bunk beds. Holy pain in my six month pregnant behind! Do I get a merit badge or something? I believe I deserve it after primering, painting, and sealing those beds. But it's done and now I get to paint a dresser and a vanity. I think I've lost my mind.

I've bit off too much this month. I'm determined to slow down in the weeks to come and soak in the joys of Christmas time. I want my girls to understand what Christmas is really about so badly. Hazel is playing the part of the angel in the nativity program in Joy School. The other day, Charlotte and I watched her class rehearse their (short and simple) program and that afternoon I asked them both, "So what is Christmas?" to see if any of the nativity story had sunk in. Charlotte (2) pointed to our Christmas tree and Hazel (4) said "Santa brings us presents!" I had been searching for a fun advent calendar idea and decided then and there that I wanted to do something that would help us remember Christ, the real reason for celebration.

This is what I came up with:

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We started with twenty-five candy canes in a jar with a ribbon wrapped around it. Each day we pull out a candy cane, wrap it in a piece of the ribbon, and think of someone that we could give the candy cane to with a nice note and/or a small service like cookies or a visit. When I introduced this idea to my girls, they really wanted to EAT the candy canes, but I explained that these are special treats that we're only giving to other people. (I did buy the mini ones for the girls because I didn't want to torture their little sugar-craving bodies. I can totally relate to their needs).

image from Homemaking Fun
We had a little discussion about what a candy cane represents and where it comes from. I told them about shepherds and how they use their staff to keep their sheep safe and moving in the right direction. I told them that Christ is called our "Shepherd" in the scriptures and that we are called his sheep. Then I turned the candy cane upside down and we talked about how it makes the letter "J" and how these candy canes can help us remember to be like Jesus during the Christmas season. We talked about the different ways we can be like Him such as doing acts of service and being kind and obedient to Mom and Dad.

I was curious to see how this plan of mine would pan out and so far, it's been a success. The girls have been really excited about getting the jar off the mantle and choosing who the special recipient will be that day. On the first day, we chose our neighbor across the street whom we refer to as "Grandma Norma."

Hazel drew some pictures on a notecard and wrote on the back, "Thank you for the treats," since Norma always brings goody bags for the girls.
We delivered the treat during the beginning of that HUGE wind storm that hit us pretty hard that afternoon. We were all still in our pajamas and our hair was blowing everywhere, but it felt so good to put everything aside and visit Norma with my girls. 

Yesterday we gave our candy cane to Grandpa Phipps who has been in and out of the hospital recently. Hazel prepared her hand-written note excitedly (notice the upside down candy cane? She remembered) and then gave it to him with a nice hug.

I wish I could keep those notes!

I know I'm late posting about this idea but it's never too late to start!
I think doing some kind of advent calendar during Christmas time helps these little ones wrap their minds around "time" and the difficult task of waiting for the big day.

I just visited JoAnne's and stocked up for this month, 
so please do return for some more Christmas/winter activity time ideas!

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1 comment :

  1. Thank you for sharing, I love this idea. I have created a round-up of all my favorite Advent calendars and I have added yours! You can check it out here If you would like me to remove your feature please let me know and I will take it down right away. Oh, and please stop by and grab a feature button and wear it proudly! You deserve it!