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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My top 4 ways to prepare for Advent!

How can you put Christ back in your Christmas traditions this year?

I recently posted about my heart for the Advent season. If you'd like to check that out you can go here or click on the label "Advent" at the end of this post.

When December 1st creeps up, I always feel like I'm already behind. With less than 2 weeks away, I'm really trying to stay on top of planning this year. This is a list of just 4 things that I think will help.

#1 Cross something off your list that you've been procrastinating on doing. It helps to have a pesty project completed before Christmas time. That way it's not hanging over your head, and you will have more time to focus on the peace of the season. For me, it was a my craft closet. It's been overflowing with unorganization, mess, and pure craziness. I went through it over the weekend, and purged some things I haven't used in years, and organized what was left. The new, fresh organization will help me during the month when I'm doing activities with the boys. Had I not completed this task, I would have felt like I needed to do it during my time off. Not anymore!

#2 Purchase Advent candles for your wreath. I always kick myself for not thinking ahead on this. When December comes, I realize I can't find the candles anywhere! Traditionally, an Advent wreath has five candles. Three purple, one pink, and one white candle in the center. I have found that getting my hands on the pink and purple candles can be hard this time of year. The pink and purple are more of a spring color/scent. So, be sure to go online ahead of time now and purchase a set of candles so you have them in time for December 1st. I found some here and here. I also noticed many of the sets do not come with a white candle. If you wish to light this candle on Christmas morning be sure to purchase an additional white candle for the middle.

#3 Get an Advent Calendar-or get crazy like me and make your own. I will be posting pics of this soon! But here's a sneak peak at the unfinished product. I am using paper towel rolls cut into 2 inch segments to make this (remember-it's not finished!).


It will eventually be a Christmas Tree filled with candy and a Bible verse for each day of the month. Each day the boys will be able to open one of the segments. 
You must know I love you to show you an unfinished craft!
Something easier and less time consuming to make is a candy chain. Get red or green saran wrap and twist wrap candy into 25 sections. You can hang this on your tree or somewhere around the house. Each day your kids can count down by cutting off a piece of candy.

And finally, #4...
Plan a theme for your Advent season. This theme is the special way you intend on sharing the truth of scripture with your kids this season, and making some special memories with them. There are four weeks in the month. It helps to come up with four key ideas to use as your focus, and then plan your activities and lessons around that weekly theme. For example, one year I used wreaths, candy canes, snow, and the Christmas tree. I did some research on the history of each of these items, and tied that into our activities and lessons. The kids had so much fun learning about where some of these traditions came from, and they loved learning that so many of our Christmas images are ways God uses to teach us about his Son. My favorite week was snow. We made homemade snowflakes and hung them from the ceiling all over the house. We focused on the Bible verse from Psalm 51:7-Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

You don't have to use these ideas. Perhaps you could use something like peace, joy, faith, and hope? Or whatever God places on your heart to teach your kids this year. After you choose your themes, begin planning your month out.

Get your December calendar out, and start filling in some special activities for you and your family. If you write out what you want to spend time focused on, then the things that aren't really important get weeded out of your Christmas!

Most of all, enjoy the planning! Don't get discouraged if things don't turn out exactly like you intended. Remember, it's all about preparing our hearts! Ask God to help you get focused on Him this season. He will lead you!

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6 Comments:

At November 16, 2010 at 11:41 AM , Blogger Simply Mel said...

Hello! Stopping by from HHH. Love this list!!! Starting last year I really tried to start focusing on the true meaning of Christmas with my girls. These are some great ideas. I'd love to see your finished advent calendar. What a cute idea! You're right about starting ahead of time!

www.simplymelsblog.com

 
At November 16, 2010 at 12:06 PM , Blogger MaryAnne said...

what a fantastic advent calendar idea - looking forward to the finished product =)

 
At November 16, 2010 at 12:09 PM , Blogger Jenn said...

I am looking forward to seeing the finished Christmas tree / Advent Calendar! Looks interesting! :)

 
At November 16, 2010 at 1:34 PM , Blogger Heather @ Cultivated Lives said...

You are so right. Planning is essential to a relaxed, intentional holiday season. This year our theme will be centered around learning a new Christmas carol each week.

Heather
http://cultivatedlives.blogspot.com

 
At November 16, 2010 at 4:08 PM , Blogger Casey said...

I love the tree and I too can't wait to see it finished! Great lists!

 
At November 16, 2010 at 4:08 PM , Blogger Casey said...

I love the tree and I too can't wait to see it finished! Great lists!

 

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