Thursday, December 13, 2012

our christmas favourites: traditions

the other day i remarked to jamie how excited i was when i was a kid to open my chocolate advent calendar each day. then we discussed {as adults do} how much better and thicker and bigger the chocolates used to be {in the good ole days}.
we didn't have them last year for the boys {as they don't sell them here}, but some friends sent us some this year so the boys get to participate in the "chocolate-after-breakfast" tradition of the chocolate advent calendar.
but what does advent mean? and is eating a tiny piece of cheap chocolate the extent of which we want to teach our kids about it?

this year we're doing some of the same things we started last year. you can check out the books and resources we use in this blog post.

i also found a fantastic guide to reading your way through advent using one of our favourites, the jesus storybook bible. you can find that reading guide here. {i think we might do this next year as the storybook bible is one of our favourites.}

we're doing our advent envelopes again and so far we've opened some new {to us} christmas books {thanks, mom!}, purchased a new nativity set from the craft market, decorated gingerbread cookies and so many other things - i have to admit, though, i'm behind on filling the envelopes and we've been switching around different activities depending on the day. such is life with three little guys.

the boys having a picnic in front of the tree!

i also was ambitious and bought the truth in the tinsel ebook and while i don't think we'll get around to doing a craft every single day, it's good to have the resource for this year and years to come. check out the truth in the tinsel here on their website or on facebook.

we'll keep up our tradition of a daily reading of luke 2 with the boys - i've seen and heard how they can memorize ridiculous conversations from movies and songs, so it's my hope that perhaps they can memorize this small part of luke 2 as we read it to them every day for the month of december. noah can already say the first 7 verses with a bit of prompting.

i always had a tradition of opening up one present on christmas eve and it was always a new pair of pajamas. we'll be keeping this tradition with our boys {this year they'll get batman pajamas!}. who doesn't love new pajamas?

and when talking traditions, you can't forget food! i've compiled my list of holiday baking that i'd like to do. there are about 13 recipes. we'll see how far i get. so far i've made gingerbread cookies {and decorated them this morning}, lemon-pecan shortbread, chocolate gingerbread drops, peppermint patties and earl grey tea and jam cookies. left to make are still almond biscotti, cheese stars, layered fudge, buckeye bark, cran-crazy cookies, chewy molasses spice cookies, christmas sandies and chocolate crinkles. whew!

this year will be our first year doing a birthday cake for jesus on christmas morning. i haven't figured out what  i'll use for the "cake", but i am thinking something like some sort of coffee cake or loaf. we'll have candles and sing happy birthday and everything. i think the boys will like it and it will help us all to focus on who christmas is really all about.

jamie and i have been going through the free advent devotional put out by desiring god. we're only 1 day behind now, but so far it's been a great selection of thought-provoking short articles by john piper.

anyway, so we have lots of traditions and more that i'm sure we'll develop over the years but for now i'm trying to soak up these moments of the here and now. when i'm missing out on watching national lampoon's christmas vacation because i'm rocking blaise to sleep in the other room. when i've got two little boys who insist on fighting with each other or giving me some sass. trying my utmost to lean into HIM and show them the grace and love that i've so freely been shown.

what are some of your traditions? how do you embrace the messy while still enjoying the wonder and anticipation of it all?


  1. Wow, you sure are going to be baking a lot! I love it! :) I'm not as inspired to do that much this year. I will make a few things, and we always make cut-out cookies for the kids to decorate, and we do a gingerbread house too (premade though). You have some great traditions going already!!

    1. I always made a gingerbread house growing up. Er, well, my Mom made it and we decorated it. But with bugs and the heat here, it's not really good weather to leave a gingerbread house up so we do cookies.
      Yeah. I love baking. We'll see how much I actually get around to doing.

  2. *correction to your pj note...who doesn't love BATMAN pajamas!!??? Haha! I do love the pj tradition (and miss it too!)
    One of my "traditions" so to speak since being married is scaling back on the gifts, especially the kind you have to go get at a shopping mall. We've found that just in that one act of avoiding the busy-ness of that scene we're able to focus on Jesus and being thankful for what He's given us as little or as much as it may be.

    1. I love the idea of avoiding malls. I've also seen people buy only from local sellers or places like Etsy, in order to support local, smaller businesses. Or going all handmade. Or all recycled stuff.
      Good idea!


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