The Sunday immediately after Thanksgiving begins Advent. This year we did our family devotions each Sunday and lit a candle each week. We have also been doing Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. Our daughter has a lot of fun crafting these projects and, more importantly, she is learning the Christmas story!
Advent is a challenge for me because I have a TON of things I want to do and only four weeks to do them. I keep reminding myself that we do not have to do EVERYTHING every year…we can do something new and fun each year as long as we keep the focus on CHRIST! Another incredible and stunning book we added to our book collection in The Advent Book. It is a bit expensive, but it is a true keepsake that is sure to become a family heirloom passes on for generations. I highly recommend it!
Early on in the season, we participate in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse by preparing a shoe box of toys for a child. This is one of my favorite things to do because it is so simple and yet, the impact is huge! It truly reflects the spirit of Saint Nicholas and the REAL impetus for our present-day Santa.
Speaking of Saint Nicholas, our family celebrates Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th. On the eve on St. Nicholas Day, we leave out our shoes and carrots for St. Nick's horse. Treats are left and a present that our daughter will be spiritually blessed by (typically a Christian book or toy). This year St. Nick left her the Little People Manger.
Last night we went on our Polar Express ride to look at the beautiful light displays in our area. I adore these printable Polar Express tickets. There is one particular light display in Staten Island that is very special. The homeowner lost his wife on 9/11 and after a dark period he decided to create a spectacular light display and raise money for cancer patients.
On Christmas Eve we attend our church's candlight service and it is always so beautiful to see! Our pastor always has the children come to the front and he reads a special Christmas picture book. It is pure joy to watch the children dressed in their finest clothes with that twinkle in their eyes in anticipation of the fun in store for them! I am certain God smiles at this sight as well.
When we get home we'll leave milk and cookies on our special plate just for Santa and Bella will rest her head on her Magic Chistmas Pillow. We'll sprinkle Magic Reindeer Food outside too!
When Santa arrives he will be caught in the act thanks to CapturetheMagic.com. Here is an early peak at Santa at our house:
On Christmas morning we'll put baby Jesus in the manger and enjoy Jesus' birthday breakfast. Although Elfie will have flown away with Santa the night before, we will welcome our Christmas Angel! We also do the tradition of the Christmas Pickle! This is a German tradition and the person who finds the pickle gets a special treat!
I hope you got some good ideas and I would love to hear about YOUR Christmas traditions!