|Mr. Cyrus was going to make The World's Biggest Snowman, but decided it was too much work, and had to settle for The World's Largest Snowball instead.|
In addition to performing random acts of kindness, gazing at Christmas lights, and listening to as much Christmas music as we can handle, I have a few more Christmas traditions to share.
|The photos of getting ready for the photo are sometimes just as great.|
We continued lessons through December 14th, and then did a slacker week the following week. I continued a few things, like Ava's copy work and reviewing our Classical Conversations memory work, but we also watched a lot of Christmas movies and ran extra errands. By the 21st, we closed up shop, and are just this week starting to reverse the process and work back into our schedule. You might say there are currently pockets of active resistance. . .
I do not have a child-friendly nativity set. I know, terrible, but I corrected that situation with an after-Christmas sale. Now I'm waiting for the package to arrive, and then I can be a super-mommy again. Whew, relief.
We set up the shepherd and sheep somewhere at the beginning of December, and then put Mary and Joseph in another corner of the house. After we read the part in the Bible about Joseph having to go to Bethlehem to be counted in the census, Mary and Joseph start mysteriously wandering their way through the house, and arrive at the stable near the shepherd and sheep on Christmas Eve, and then, of course, baby Jesus arrives the next day. At this point, the wise men appear somewhere else in the house and start their condensed journey. Ideally I read the related scriptures to the kids as things are happening with the nativity set.
The wise men usually arrive around Epiphany (or Valentine's Day, if I'm behind), and we ooh and ahh over the miracle of three old men following a star to find a little baby. I have some ideas for celebrating Epiphany on my Winter pinboard, but I totally give myself permission to do nothing but make sure the wise men arrive.
|The paper bag manger was my version of several of the Truth in the Tinsel ornaments combined. Yes, that star is a sticky note.|
|Our baby Jesus, wrapped in cloths, and a leetle bit creepy looking.|
My kids love this. Whenever one of them notices that Mary and Joseph have moved, they call out, "They moved! They moved," and we all come to see and marvel. Sometimes Ava says, "Mom, Mary and Joseph have been in the same place for a long time. Why aren't they moving?" I respond sagely, "It's very hard to ride a donkey when you are pregnant, so Mary has to rest from time to time," and then I go move them when the kids aren't looking. This is why I don't do things like sticker charts. . .the constant remembering is not a skill of mine.
I love this tradition because it makes the whole story so much more real for the kids, and for me. It's very simple to do, and adds to the wonder of Christmas for small children.
Last year we had a Jesse Tree and made ornaments for it as we read through the devotions and scriptures in A Family Advent Celebration (free). This is a great resource but a bit over the heads of my little ones.
This year, we tried Truth in the Tinsel, and have been so pleased. I rarely pay for resources like this because I find I don't like half of it and I have to modify the other half beyond recognition to fit my family. That being said, Truth in the Tinsel is definitely worth the money. No fancy supplies. No long, involved craft projects. Just simplicity and truth. I really liked that the author included several different schedules depending on how much you want to do during your holiday. We changed some of the ornament materials too, depending on what we had on hand. The author also includes a page of little printable squares that you can stick in your current advent calendar. We have a wooden gingerbread house advent calendar - the kind with all the little doors - and I put the squares behind each door. I did not put them all in at once because none of my children could keep their sneaky fingers off those teeny doors, and I just did not see any reason to fight about it. *grin* Each day that we did an Advent reading, I sent the kids to the little house to look for the "clue" to what we were going to read about and make. Good stuff!
In fact, my family loved this book so much, I decided to become an affiliate for Truth in the Tinsel; I'd be happy to answer any questions about the book!
The Cinnamon Bear: I downloaded the radio broadcasts for this old classic last year. We print out the coloring pages and press play. Full of adventure, magical lands, and quirky characters, this will probably be a favorite of my kids until they get too big to admit it they still love it.