Monday, November 30, 2009

Mommy Makeover Monday - 'Tis the Season

Well, it's Christmas time once again. Can you believe it?

Our tree is up and decorated. Wreath is on the door. Lights on the house. And the kids are ready to start the countdown until the big day.
In fact, the morning after we put the tree up, Samuel ran out looking for the presents. Uh-oh. We had a tough time teaching both him and Elisabeth the difference between "Christmas time" and "Christmas morning." And when we got the calendar and showed him exactly how many days he still had to wait before it was time to open presents, he was about in tears. Poor little boy. Hopefully, starting the candy Advent calendar tomorrow will help them visualize and understand how much time there is between now and then.

Yesterday was the 1st Advent Sunday, though. One of my favorite traditions that I picked up during my time in Germany is the Advent Sundays. They typically have a wreath with 4 candles (I finally got one last year!) and the 4 Sundays before Christmas, they light the candles (1 the first Sunday, 2 the next and so on) and eat treats and sing carols, etc. I really like spreading out our Christmas celebrations over these Sundays instead of trying to do everything on Christmas eve, for instance. And I think it makes the wait a little more manageable - the 4 weeks and 4 candles seem to go by much more quickly than counting every single day.

We typically make hot chocolate, light the candles and sit around the table and sing Christmas songs. Then we have some sort of activity. Writing cards, going to look at lights, making cookies, and decorating the tree have all been incorporated into our Advent activities.

So, for MMM today I just wanted to talk about Your Favorite Traditions or Things To Do for Christmas. What makes Christmas time meaningful to you? What's one thing you have to do every year? What do your kids love the most? (well, besides the presents)
What do you do to try to diminish the "gimmes"? What would be your Best Idea for someone new to celebrating Christmas (hypothetically)?
Really, any ideas at all.
Do you make and deliver cookies? Do you do Secret Santa in your family? Do you do service?
Do you try to stay home as much as possible? Do you skip the whole thing?
Even if you think all the things you do are the same things that everyone does, please share an idea! (or 2, or 3, or more) :)
Thank you muchly.

(and now that I have successfully completed NaBloPoMo, I may take a break for a day or so. Phew!! Aren't you glad? - No, don't answer that.
Anyway - Happy December Tomorrow!! Let the fun begin!)


bonitinha said...

I love your Advent Sundays idea. I've been wanting an Advent candle wreath for many years too... one of these days. Let's see, traditions. Well, we do the regular advent calendar thing. We've got one where you put an ornament on a tree every day and one where you take a LifeSaver off the tree each day. Though I forgot to buy the LifeSavers, so I guess that one may be out this year. Oops. My favorite tradition is we each get a new ornament every year. We each have a series of ornaments from Hallmark that we're collecting, so as the years go by our tree is actually looking fairly coordinated. I have this idea that when the kids are all grown up and move out they'll get to take their personal collection of ornaments with them... but I have a feeling that I might be pretty attached to them and find it hard to let them go. Especially Kate's which are GORGEOUS! Let's see, what else... we eat Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve, usually ham if I get my way, so that Christmas Day is relaxing. If we're visiting my folks in Chicago we go to a candlelight and carols service at a local non-denominational church which I always enjoy. From the in-laws I've learned to make wassail of which we drink quite a bit at Christmastime. Yummmmm. I do not bake cookies for my neighbors. To be honest, I don't even bake them for my kids. If I bake cookies I eat them all. :)

Colleen said...

Hmmm, I'm trying not to be my usual "bah humbug" self this year. Usually I let the commercialization of Christmas get me all grumpy and annoyed about Christmas being ruined by "the man," but I'm trying to have a better attitude. :) We always open one present on Christmas Eve and do the Christmas story out of the Bible and all that fun stuff. We try to make it up to Temple Square to see the lights every year... I usually make cookies or some kind of treat, but limit it to a small group of recipients. (Just so no one feels left out, it's usually just my neighbors who don't go to church, people me and Jim home/visit teach, and then anyone who might bring us something. Which I'm pretty sure last year was no one. Our neighborhood is kind of slackerish on that front.)

Amy said...

I don't decorate a lot for Christmas, but we do put the tree up around Thanksgiving. Each year the kids pick out an ornament and we have fun taking them out of the box and remembering why we chose them. (Ian and I relive the travels we had before the kids came along!) We've started doing the Advent wreath this year and doing a devotion at dinnertime. We also do the chocolate countdown calendar.

Anonymous said...

well, i won't go on a rant about all my christmas "issues" and instead just relate a little conversation bren and i just had about a tree:

bren: are we going to have a tree this year mom?
me: i dunno, do you want a tree?
bren: mmmm.. i want something different. a plant.
me: (*insert light bulb in head here*) hey let's bring in the big branch off the back porch!
(i have this really cool somewhat large madrone branch that was scraped by goat horns and is kind of black and white looking)
bren: but it's dead!!!
me: *gasp* we can have a nightmare before christmas!
bren: *lights up* yeah heheheh

then a little later..
bren: are there any plants that can hold things on its leaves?
me: not really. that's what trees are for.


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