Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Snow is on the ground here. Lots of it (18"? 2 feet? Lots...)

Christmas music is playing on the radio.

My Christmas shopping is well underway.

But our apartment is not yet looking Christmasy. Soon. Little bits. Every year I try to add at least one new thing to our Christmas decorations. I like decorating. And I like most of it to be homemade, I think it's sweet.

This year I'm adding one thing to our tree--lime ornaments. Our tree is currently very red and white and I wanted to add a brighter green to the mix. My friend Helena dehydrated some citrus slices one year to make ornaments. They were gorgeous, homemade, and inexpensive. I decided that's a good (fast!) project for me this year. So I'll be adding lime slices to the tree, here's a picture I stole from Helena's blog to show you what I mean (hope you don't mind Helena!):

If I have time for another craft I may just make this advent calendar...though we won't put it into use for at least one or two more years--when Everly can understand the concept and be excited.
Do you read the Crafting Chicks blog? They are so clever. This project is cute, inexpensive, and relatively fast since Jamie offers a free download of the numbers so you don't have to worry about that step. Go check out the tutorial.. I love the idea of a an activity based advent calender. Some items can be simple (drink hot chocolate!) and some can be more elaborate (go see the Christmas lights at Temple Square downtown).

**One thing I remember vividly from my LDS Marriage and Family class at BYU was the teacher emphasizing that good families don't just happen. Traditions and memories don't just happen. They are created. It's absolutely so true. Right now I find just keeping Everly alive and relatively content to be a challenge, but I feel motivated to create a happy home for her with lots of good memories and traditions as she gets older.**

Speaking of traditions, my family at Christmas often read a Christmas oriented scripture (from the Bible or Book of Mormon) and burned a special countdown candle (with 25 dots). I like that idea for bringing in the spiritual aspect of Christmas--reading a short scripture each night. You could similarly create a small advent like this one Helena made and put a scripture reference in each tiny matchbox. Lucky me I already have one that Helena made me for my first married Christmas, she's a doll like that. So I need to pull it out and make sure it's ready to go so Joe and I can do this one this year.

Anyway, last of all I wanted to share one of my favorite traditions I recently learned of (and we are absolutely doing!!). Wrapping children's picture books, placing them under the tree, and reading one each night. I love the idea of a big stack of wrapped books under the tree. And kids getting to pick which one they want to unwrap and read each night for bedtime--I love the element of surprise and getting to unwrap something each day as those other presents under the tree taunt you! I love the idea of special books that only come out at Christmas. How fun. Anyway, building up to 25 Christmas books is pricey, so we've started adding a few Christmas picture books to our little library already, like Llama Llama Holiday Drama and a few others I recently ordered. Our very favorite Christmas book is this one, which we'll save to read on Christmas Eve. I'm so excited for Everly to be old enough to follow along. Right now she just wants to swat at or eat the book... :)

There are so many wonderful Christmas traditions out there. I wish I had the time (and energy) to incorporate them all. For now we have just a few. And a few planned to try out in the coming years. I'm excited for the magic of Christmas with a child, it's going to be awesome.

{What are your favorite Christmas traditions? I'd love to hear them in the comments :) I could also use favorite Christmas picture book suggestions so leave those too! }

5 little remarks:

Ali said...

We're excited about starting the wrapped book on around here too. I love TRADITIONS and I have a whole lot of plans to start a bunch in the next few years!

Congrats on losing the baby weight!! That IS a big deal.

Jessie said...

I've been thinking about traditions here, too. As a kid, the only things I can really remember doing revolved around extended family--Christmas eve dinner, Christmas morning breakfast, etc. I enjoyed that, for sure, but I want more than that for my girls. So the last couple years, we've gone to the "lights on" ceremony here, where they turn all the lights on for the city, which is fun. This year, I've been working on advent calendars--a pocket style one for each girl, for small gifts and projects, and then a family activity one. I've been trying to plan out all the days, and I think we finally have decided on most of the things we'll be doing, with a little room for change. I'll post pictures and activities we do on my blog. I'm excited to see how it all goes, I think my girls will really love, and hopefully remember, at least a few of the things we do. I also look forward to having my kids shop for each other this year, and spending that time with them, I think they'll love it.

And my personal favorite Christmas book is "That's Not Santa!" which I've had since I was a child. Don't know if it's still being printed, and really, it's not that wonderful of a book, but I love love loved it as a kid, and so I continue to do so now. My girls also request it regularly. :)

Scarehaircare said...

We've been doing the Christmas book tradition every night for the past 17 years. Hit the after Christmas sales at Deseret Book and B&N. That has been the best places to get books for the following year. Some of our favorites:
Jan Brett's "Who's That Knocking On Christmas Eve"

"The Polar Express"

Elaine Stritch "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"

"Penny's Christmas Jar Miracle"

"Snowmen at Christmas"

Mandi said...

I love that advent calendar--I want to make one! I followed your link, but it only showed the picture, and I can't find the instructions on their blog. Do you have a direct link to the project?


Teresa said...

So cute! I started an advent calendar tradition for us this year too :) I love your ideas. We'll have to swap sometime to get ideas from each other.
And funny about the lime ornaments... I tried making some orange slices that exact way, and they were a total failure. Good luck with yours and if they turn out you'll have to share how you did them!

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