So many times, with the busy-ness of the holiday season, it becomes a real struggle to keep the focus off of commercialism and onto Christ and family. I thought I would share what we are doing in our family celebrations to combat Christ getting lost in all the hustle and bustle.
For the past few years in a row, we have been doing a Jesse Tree reading. This reading starts the first day of Advent and goes every day through Christmas. The reading follows through the old testament showing the reason why Christ had to come and the different promises God gave leading up to Christ's fulfillment of those promises. The reading we do is found here.
The first year we did this reading we printed a copy of the symbols off in color and every day we glued that reading's symbol onto a small poster. I know people who make ornaments with each symbol on them and I have ideas for some in my head, but just haven't made them yet.
This year, we are also doing some sort of special activity each day of advent. These are all free or very cheap (read: money for materials needed only) ideas and most all of them are done as a family. This is to encourage togetherness and get the mindset off of one day of presents and onto three weeks of sharing. Plus, some of the ideas are service projects that help prompt our family to give to others during the holiday season. Here is our list of activities for this year:
Nov. 30- decorate the tree
1st play board games as a family
2nd make edible gifts for the birds
3rd make paper snowflakes (we hung these on the front door and windows)
4th write a letter to a US soldier
5th buy and deliver gifts for the military over seas (we may not be able to do this if I don't find somewhere to take the stuff!)
6th take treats to the local fire or police department
7th celebrate Daniel's birthday
8th play video games together as a family
9th make Christmas cards for people in a nursing home
10th sleep in living room by the Christmas tree (this will be only the kids as I will be 8 1/2 months along and Dan's back wont let him sleep on a couch all night!)
11th share with each other what you appreciate about each person in the family
12th have breakfast for dinner
13th make gift tags
14th deliver Christmas cards to the nursing home
15th take canned goods to the food center
16th take cookies to the neighbors
17th drink eggnog and eat cookies
18th drive around looking at Christmas lights
19th read Christmas stories together as a family
20th play in the snow as a family (hopefully it will snow by then!)
21st go Christmas caroling (our church does this each year)
22nd make Christmas ornaments
23rd watch a Christmas movie and eat popcorn
24th go to the Christmas Eve service at church
25th go visit relatives
Obviously some people cannot do a few of these (not everyone has a Dec. birthday in their family!) but hopefully this list may give someone else some ideas for something they can do together.