Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I've joined Hilary in her December Challenge and already I'm feeling more connected, less stressed, and am even seeing my kids get into the spirit. With my steaming cup of coffee I sat down by the tree yesterday morning to read some scripture and browse through a family devotion specific to the Advent season.

Our family will be focusing on preparing for the birth of our Savior with some meaningful Advent activities that may turn into traditions if the kids go for them. Because really, if they aren't excited about it or dread it, I'll put the idea away for another year or toss it out entirely. Our kids are removed from the commercialism that overwhelms this time of year. They don't watch TV and we rarely go shopping. We make 75% of our gifts and the kids are 99% involved in the process. I feel like we're in a good place, but I'm always checking myself to make sure that everything is kept in perspective.

There can be so much pressure associated with making everything perfect. The perfect gift, the perfect tree (guilty), the perfect Christmas photo (guilty)...

We want our kids to anticipate this time of year because of the love, closeness, and friendship between our family and friends as we spend time "making memories" as Brian's grandma used to say.

A memory we created yesterday was our first Advent chain. Sam did such a good job cutting out the strips of construction paper and Julia helped by stringing the pieces together.

I wrote Bible verses I found on this website for us to read every day until Christmas. The extra fake tree we put up in the living room was the perfect place to hang it. It's otherwise undecorated because the kids haven't made any ornaments for it yet.

Another tradition I started this year came from a post Merranda
did last year...or maybe it was a comment she left on my blog???
Anyway, I super sized it a bit since we have an abundance of Christmas books (that's what happens when your mom saves all your childhood books from Ben Franklin, Shopko, and Copps - Thanks Mom!)

Either for the 12 days of Christmas or for the entire month of December, I wrapped up Christmas books that the kids take turns opening each night.

We curl up in the green chair next to the tree and read, sings songs, take turns saying what we are thankful for and what we need to ask Jesus for forgiveness for, and get as many snuggles in as we can. This is also the time that we look up the Bible verse on the link from the advent chain we remove each day.

Here's an excerpt from the book I'm reading called "Christ in Christmas - A family advent celebration"

The great value of traditions comes as they give a family a sense of identity, a belongingness. All of us desperately need to feel that we're more than a cluster of people living together in a house; we're a family that is conscious of its personality, character, and heritage, and that our special relationships of love and companionship make us a unit with uniqueness and personality.

By far the most important traditions you can give to your children is to instill deeply ingrained spiritual values in each child. And what better place to start than with the Christmas season.

I would love to hear what traditions your family has to celebrate the coming of our King. If you're up for it, write a post about your favorite tradition and then leave a comment under this post. I know I appreciated the ideas JMom shared last year at Lots of Scotts. Her family does the Jesse Tree devotional -also a very great idea.


Anonymous December 2, 2008 at 7:10 PM  

That star at the top of the tree looks great! Sounds like you and Brian are doing things more Americans should think about.-See blog about holiday shopping here....http://pmpilgrim.blogspot.com/(former pastor)


Anonymous December 2, 2008 at 7:10 PM  

That star at the top of the tree looks great! Sounds like you and Brian are doing things more Americans should think about.-See blog about holiday shopping here....http://pmpilgrim.blogspot.com/(former pastor)


A Look Into Our Lives December 2, 2008 at 7:20 PM  

Awesome! I'm happy to hear your devotions are going well. Isn't amazing how refreshed our spirits can be after delving into our Father's Word?? It just really draws us into Him. Keep up the good work!
Also, I'm loving all your Christmas traditions with your kids! I wish I had all those Christmas books to wrap up for everyday! That's an awesome idea.
I also love the chain with the verses on them. I'll have to check out the link you gave for the verses. I too want to instill in Isaac a joy for the REAL meaning of Christmas.
Thanks for sharing!

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom December 2, 2008 at 7:55 PM  

Oh, I like that Bible verse idea. Now I have to decide between that an a Jesse Tree. Maybe both...Thanks! For us, it's important to keep sight of the cross at Christmas. That's the true reason we're celebrating. We've got a good thing going here, I think!

Lindsay December 3, 2008 at 12:12 AM  

Okay, so I printed out the advent chain verses and we will start those tomorrow! I also love your book idea....I'm going to have to rummage through our book shelf and do that one, too! Great ideas!

I get SO sick of the commercialism of Christmas too. I am thankful at ages 2 &3 we are teaching them early enough of what the day is really all about. I just pray that their (unbelieving) cousins don't rub off on them througout the years. Many "teachable moments" I suppose...

4 Little Men and Twins December 3, 2008 at 8:13 AM  

that is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing... we're trying for the daily devotional... we missed last night. OY!

your tree looks awesome!


Faye Howard December 3, 2008 at 12:53 PM  

Carrie - you might enjoy this site: http://www.adventconspiracy.org/

Paige December 3, 2008 at 7:21 PM  

Love your ideas and pictures. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous December 4, 2008 at 4:58 PM  

I'm starting your book tradition...what a great idea. I bought some new ones and we have some (old) ones from my childhood. Thanks!


Anonymous December 4, 2008 at 9:48 PM  

Thank you for sharing this. You have wonderful traditions. Lots of ideas that I can ponder over. :)

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