It's that time of year again! So excited to begin our Christmas Advent countdown. I have hauled out the boxes I made last year and I'm busy planning and stuffin' them with ornaments to hang [we will decorate the tree over the course of December with the boys adding a few each day], activities to do, a few little treats and knick-knacks. In the spirit of NOT accumulating, most things are just re-purposed, used, or cheap one-day-use items like glow sticks.
Why do I do this?
To fully enjoy the season, teach my kids about generosity, learn about the true Christmas story and rather than buy them a bunch of things, plan a bunch of family and community togetherness activities.
This year's list:
- 1. Decorate the house while listening to Christmas music. Set up our nativity scene!
- 2. Give-away-day! Purchase two toys (kids can help pick them out) to donate to the Langley Christmas Bureau, drop off clothes for donation with Night Shift street ministries, write to our compassion child, and see if there's any toys that the boys can decide to part with [still looking for ideas of where to donate].
- 3. Make homemade hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows to give away in jars to appreciatesome special sweet someone's in our life. Silas is gonna love mixin' up the powder!
- 4. Make a fabulous craft for grandparents [can't link to what we're doing because they check my blog!]
- 5. Put together some packages of love to send in the mail. We're also hoping to attend this fabulous Christmas production written, produced, and directed by dear friends of ours: This Isn't Christmas.
- 6. Fun nativity activity sheets. You HAVE to check them out. Free download and looks perfect for preschool aged like Silas.
- 7. Celebrate Jason's birthday with a breakfast at our favourite local restaurant [Wendels], chopping down a Christmas tree (and decorating it!) and them heading off the Maple Ridge Christmas fair and parade. It's free! Our boys have never been to a parade so it should be a blast!
- 8. Christmas train craft! Daddy gets to assemble a fun christmas train with the kids. See how it goes...
- 9. Christmas ornament making day. I bought a fun little kit from Michaels and I'm hoping to make these as well as some cute birdfeeders [which aren't really ornaments, but they will adorn the trees outside our house, so they still count!]. Some will be for giving away, some for keeping.
- 10. Snowman pizza for dinner with cookies and milk: while watching a Christmas movie in our jammies! I'd love any ideas for age-appropriate Christmas movies!
- 11. This one I am so excited about: homemade gingerbread playdough! That way we can do the best part (decorating the little men) over and over again and don't have to worry about the mess in the kitchen! Silas is going to package up some for a few of his buddies as well which we can deliver. Gonna spruce it up with some glitter and decorate with whatever beads and gems I can find.
- 12. Snowflake party day! I have snowflake stickers, we'll make and hang some basic snowflakes, and I'm hoping to attempt one of these, just for kicks.
- 13. Stamp and mail Christmas cards [here's hoping they are actually done by then]. The kids get to decorate the envelopes with an assortment of stickers. Jason's work Christmas party is that night too!
- 14. Outing day! Haven't decided yet but we might try go up to Grouse mountain for part of the day, go sledding at Seymour, or hit up Burnaby Village Museum or Christmas in Williams Park. Lots of activities to try, who wants to come?
- 15. Check out the Stanley Park Christmas train. I haven't gone since I was a kid and I'm sure it will be a win for the boys. Thought this might be the year to try since they both seem to be continually obsessed with trains...[let's see if we can get tickets].
- 16. Make some fake snow! NOW, I know all the rest of you Canada folk are laughing right now because in your neck of the woods there is simply NO need to make your own pretend snow...but you see, snow if very rare down on the coast and there is no assurance we'll even get any! SO I'm going to make a fun sensory bin of fake snow [saw it at strongstart for the first time] and I've bought the boys some fun pretend scenery, sparkly Christmas things and some mini-dinosaurs to throw in there. Can't wait...
- 17. Snowman pancakes for dinner by candlelight.
- 18. Peppermint party day. Hoping to have our life group Christmas bash on this day so I'm planning to make some yummy peppermint treats. Like this incredible apple dip and this peppermint bark. Silas will enjoy mashing candy canes and watching the bark melt in the oven.
- 19. Visit the German Christmas market downtown Vancouver. We checked it out last year and it was great fun! (Too bad I can't have the mulled wine). Got a groupon this time for 1/2 price- Carousel ride included!
- 20. Make nativity scene gingerbread houses! [Why have I never thought of this before?]
- 21. Cookie baking for neighbors. Always a hit. Can't wait to try out these cookies this year [they remind me of Dr. Seuss. Don't they look delectable?]
- 22. Christmas music dance party.
- 23. Get the kids hot chocolate and drive around at night looking at Christmas lights. Warm up by the fire to read Christmas books [I plan to buy a new one for them every Christmas so this is probably when I'll put that one out. Planning to buy this one...such a great book by such a great author.
- 24. Hang out with dear friends in our yearly Christmas Eve Fondu.
- 25. Family. Worship. Games. Food. Fellowship. Celebrating the whole reason we've been counting down to begin with: Jesus.
We will also be following a nativity reading plan for the last 7 days before Christmas [and will play with the nativity scene we've set out, pulling out new characters each day].
We also started a new tradition this year and bought an adorable turtle Christmas ornament from our trip to Hawaii. We hope to buy one or two ornaments every year - to remind us of particular events, holidays, or other things to remember God's faithfulness to us.
One final thing I'm working on? I keep all of our Christmas books stashed away throughout the year so I will probably wrap these up and on random nights, let them unwrap a 'new' one for bedtime story.
Sound like fun?