03 December 2010

25 Days of Christmas Days 1-3

My intention was to post short little blurbs each day about our 25 Days of Christmas activities, but you can see that this has not happened. This has been a busy, busy week, but everything we've been doing has been fun, so we'll take it!

The 25 Days of Christmas is something we started celebrating when we first moved to Pennsylvania in 2004. We had barely lived there for two months when December rolled around. We were very used to being blessed with the busyness of church activities and ministry and time with friends during the holiday season, but having recently moved and having barely even settled on a new church home, we didn't have anything on our calendar for the month of December other than Christmas Eve service. I was feeling down that year because I didn't really want to move to PA and missed all my dear friends back in Corning, NY so, so much, so I needed something to fill my time.

Because of this, I created this plan of making each day of December special, leading up to our family celebration on Christmas Day. We did crafts, watched Christmas cartoon specials, baked Christmas treats, made cards and visited local Christmas light displays. This was so much fun that we have made it an annual tradition even though we actually do maintain a much busier calendar that is filled with church activities, ministry and time with friends and family again. The Lord has blessed us for sure, and I've had to get more creative as the years pass both because the kids are getting older and because, sometimes, things like "Dress Rehearsal" just have to be the big deal on the day they occur rather than adding an extra craft or activity.

I have found that doing this each year is a catalyst for so many blessings, but the most important is that it forces us to remember what is important during this Christmas season. We slow down and celebrate the birth of our Savior rather than getting caught up in the busyness and commercialization of the season. The kids look forward to this special family time every year. Whether or not you are into the idea of crafting and planning activities for each day, slow down and enjoy the season. Say no to a few things and make sure that the things to which you choose to say yes are truly important and meet the needs of your family's purpose. Remember that the people God designed you to spend the most time with are the people in your immediate family, and make them the most important people with whom you  make memories this month.

Now I'll get off my little soap box. We're three days into our 25 Days celebration. Here are some pics and brief explanations of what we've done so far.

On Day 1 we read The Legend of the Candy Cane and added strawberry flavored candy canes to the Christmas tree. This book has a beautiful explanation of all that the candy cane represents. We read it every year! I think Eric and I love is as much as the kids do! It really makes Jesus the focus of the season.

We usually make these on Day 1, but this craft fit into our Day 2 schedule better this year. The top chain is Ava's, and the bottom chain is Lukas'. They'll remove one link each day until Christmas. I do ask the kids to choose traditional Christmas colors, but they can create a pattern or just do the colors in a random order. Both children chose to create their own patterns this year.

On Day 3, we visited the Ohio Statehouse, which was decorated on the inside in Victorian era Christmas decor. This doubled as a school field trip and helped to fulfill our Ohio History requirement.

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