Well its already day nine into our first advent calendar and I wanted to let you know what a HUGE success this has been in our house! I'll admit that I was pretty excited to start a new tradition but kind of nervous too. I wasn't sure if all the kids would go for it and if the excitement would ware off after they realized there were no "treats" like other advent calendars, but every morning there are still smiles and a mini contest to be the one to find that day's number first!
The first night was the most important. We dedicated a manger for baby Jesus. It is set in a place in the center of the house where we are constantly reminded of why we celebrate this season. Each time the kids do something helpful or compassionate, they are rewarded with a packing peanut to place in the manger. The idea is to fill baby Jesus' manger with packing peanuts so that by Christmas morning He has somewhere nice to sleep. It seems silly but this kids are really into it.
The second night we did a paper chain that counts down the days until Christmas. I also had the kids think of people from school to pray for and added names to the chain so each day we can also pray for someone at supper.
Since I needed 24 activities to fill the cones and I knew that some nights projects like the first two would be nearly impossible, I tried to make some less time consuming. So I printed out my list and cut it into thin strip and sat in front of my calendar. I coordinated days that were busy with small activities like "dressing in red and green" or "make eggnog" and saved "have the kids help plan and make supper" and "do santa puzzles and talk about St. Nicholas" for nights that were empty. And of course, I cheat and peek every night to see what we are going to do tomorrow. Hey, I'm the mom and I can do those things!
The one thing I am totally failing on here is the daily scripture. We are at about 50% which by anyones standards is failing. Hopefully with this blogging guilt, err.. accountability, I can bring that way up!
I think their favorite things so far were "decorating beds with Christmas lights"(Eden's are pink, of course!) and "making (gluten free) gingerbread cookies." My favorites have been "dressing fancy for supper"(and even getting the kids some sparking grape juice to make it extra fancy!) and "making and hanging paper snowflakes!" Its been an absolute blast and we still have 16 days to go! Gosh, does that mean there are only 17 days until Christmas?!? Guess that means I need to put this computer to bed and get working on my homemade gifts...