My mom often confesses that she wasn't very intentional with us as children. It's not like I hold that against her. Hardly! I have very fond memories of Christmas morning and beautiful trees and making wrapping paper from potatoes and ink stamps. I still love Pillsbury's Orange Icing cinnamon rolls from a can (I have 4 of them in my fridge right now), and The Night Before Christmas is on the reading list for the night before Christmas.
But it's my turn now and I'd like to add some new traditions. One tradition we never participated in as a family (or if we did, I don't remember it) was the Advent Calendar. We started this last year at our house and I love it! As the Wikipedia article states there's really no right or wrong way to do it: light candles, eat candy, read a story, whatever! I have envelopes numbered 1 to 24 and each day we do a Christmas-centered activity. We can make cookies, go to a tree lighting, celebrate Grandma and Grandpa's arrival, celebrate Nana's arrival, make Fruit Loop garland, etc... I have a friend who just made her Advent Calendar out of favor boxes and she put small toys and chocolate in them. Beautiful! I might steal that for next year.
Oh! I think I'll give the kids their Christmas PJ's now so we can wear them as much as possible. I just hope they don't expect to wear them every night. I can't guarantee that the laundry will always be caught up.Additionally... last year, after Christmas our neighbor gave us 3 store-bought Advent Calendars. They were 1 cent each at Trader Joe's and they don't expire until February 2011! So guess what! I just put them in the Christmas storage box and brought them out with all of the other goodies.
Mental note: Go buy advent calendars after Christmas at Trader Joe's. Double check the expiration.Here's my plan this year: each day once they all wake up from naps, we will open our calendar of chocolate and read part of the Christmas story from Luke or a book about Christmas. Then, we'll open our Activity Advent and do our Christmas activity. Today, I think we'll color Christmas pictures (since I don't think I can wrap their PJs before they wake up from naps). Tomorrow, we might make coffee filter snowflakes or sugar cookies. Saturday, there's a parade in Enumclaw 10 minutes from our house and a snow park. You get the idea.
I do still have my Activity Advent Calendar from last year. I made envelopes (more or less like this)from pretty paper that I got from my very own Stampin' Up rep, Cynthia Maloney. I totally cheat and do whatever activity I'm in the mood for. I put the slip of paper in while they're sleeping (shhh don't tell them). I'm in the process of making a list so that I'm sure to have something to do each day.
My hope is that they will have fond childhood memories as I do. Life gets so unnecessarily busy and we all get so easily distracted. Maybe my children will remember The Most Wonderful Time of the Year AND the reason for it, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, AND making edible garland ... more than they remember frustrating trips to the grocery store and nap time wars. I hope this is the stuff I remember about them being little not so much the mounds of laundry, constant exhaustion, and crumbs everywhere.