one morning a week, i have the great priveledge of going to a bible study at our church that is geared toward moms with young children. it has been such a rich time for me where i have learned so SO much about being a selfless wife and mom. this week, the leaders shared all kinds of ideas for meaningful holiday traditions as well as ways to teach young children (and remind us forgetful adults) that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birthday.
i just had to share...
-Family Celebrations for Christmas is a book that comes HIGHLY recommended. it is an advent calendar, complete with bible verses, discussion questions, and ideas for making your family's countdown to christmas meaningful. (the author also has books for thanksgiving and easter)
-invite friends and neighbors over for a birthday party for jesus. make a cake, sing happy birthday and blow out candles!
-ask each of your children to tell you the christmas story. record it on paper and let your child draw a picture too. keep them in a binder and do it every year.
-attend a living nativity at a church in your area. i know preston hollow presbyterian does one in dallas
-open your own "Mom's Store" to encourage your kids to give. buy gifts and price them at $.50 and $1, within your childs budget. set up a cash register and let them fill their shopping cart. each child is invited in one at a time to shop for presents to give siblings/cousins/dad. wrap the presents with them and talk about the importance of giving.
-leading up to christmas, have one wrapped gift under your tree with a slot in it. it is your birthday gift to jesus. as a child shows kindness, record it and put it in the slot. have the kids write down what they see their siblings doing that is loving. as they get older, write down things you want to give jesus, like character changes that you want to make
-advent calendars are so fun because kids want to participate. they like to have a part in something big, they like to have something to do. act out the christmas story with simple costumes like scarves, crowns from burger king, and cardboard angel wings
-buy a nativity scene that your children can play with. nothing too precious that baby jesus cant get slobbered on or pushed around the train table
-to combat the OVERLOAD of STUFF kids get at christmas decide that your kids get just 3 gifts, like the 3 gifts that the wisemen bring to baby jesus
-everyone enjoys looking through the christmas cards that come in the mail. keep the pictures of your friends and family in a basket on your dinner table year round and pray for a different family each night at dinner
-keep it simple. when our kids go away to college it wont be the elaborate meals or dozens of plastic presents that they remember from the holidays, it will be the simple stuff that keeps them coming back. like putting on their new chritmas pjs, drinking hot chocolate and watching Its A Wonderful Life.
here are some creative ideas for advent calendar ideas from ohdeedoh and
a few more from design mom
i havent decided exactly what our advent calendar will look like this year, but i do know that i will fill it with experiences that we can do together each day. things like making a popcorn garland, baking cookies for the neighbors, and visiting a nursing home.
i am hoping our children will get excited about starting each morning with a peek inside the advent calendar, counting down until the day of our great savior's birth.