It’s that time of year again! Time for trees and lights and shopping. Holiday activities and moments of quiet squeezed into a month that goes by so quickly I am always left, sitting in January, wondering what happened to December.
Years ago….before my kids were old enough to even understand Christmas I watched Andrea do Advent activities with her girls. She titled it “25 Days of Christmas” and made these little envelopes they hung up and tucked in a little slip of paper each day. The idea was to enjoy the month and not end up on December 26th wondering what happened to the time. I couldn’t wait to start my own tradition with the boys and we are now in year 3 with our own version of the 25 Days of Christmas / Advent Activities.
The boys LOVE opening an tiny envelope every day to find out what special treat or activity will are going to do. They eagerly await “the hanging of the envelopes” on the mantel. This year they forgot, probably because we are still living with my parents and don’t have our usual Christmas decorations up. I hung the envelopes after they went to bed last Saturday and when they say it Sunday morning the JUMPED into our bed with giddy excitement. It was totally worth not reminding them!
I am not completely sure how I am going to pull off 25 days of advent this year with the move to our new house right in the middle. But this tradition is so worth it to me. Each envelope is a memory for them (and me) to cherish. And it is a way to enjoy December even with a move!
Instead of blogging each day (which I clearly don’t have time for), I am going to blog by the week. If you watch my Instagram feed you will already know what we are doing. :)
I start our advent celebration on November 30th. This way, the boys open the 25th envelope on Christmas Eve. The first year we started on December 1st and we never opened that 25th envelope which basically said, “Happy Christmas!”. I also like the idea that when we take down that last little envelope the long wait is over….its like cutting that last link on the paper chain!
Day 1 ~ Making Gingerbread houses at Church ~ This was our first activity last year so I didn’t even have to write a new slip of paper for the envelope! Dean was so excited he didn’t even want to leave church. He just wanted to wait at church until 3pm when it was time to decorate. I love how we now have this tradition within a tradition. It is also a super easy way for me to start the season….no work for me! The church does all the work! :) Love our church!
Below is Dean’s house.
Below is Emory’s house. Notice Santa standing on the roof with his reindeer. This child is ALL about the details!
Day 2 ~ Receive a Special Surprise! ~ How is that for a super vague advent activity! :) Last Monday was a crazy day! I had an appointment to meet with a company to clean our ducts, the refrigerator was being delivered, and I ended up having the big walk through for final discussions with the contractor. Plus I was sick. I knew exactly what the activity for the day would be but I left them hanging for a bit. I finally caved and told them that after work (and my three trips to the house) I was going to take them to Build a Bear. They had been eyeing Santa’s Reindeer for a few days online and I thought this would be a great thing. A bit more extravagant that we usually do for Advent, but they are really into the reindeer thing this year and they have never been to Build a Bear (mostly because I have to barter Dean as payment…that place is CRAZY on the prices). Dean wasn’t so excited at first. He actually cried and asked for something different because he didn’t really like reindeer. I knew he was just freaking out because he had never been to Build a Bear and was nervous about what he had to do there. As expected he totally changed his mind when we walked in and went on the full tour.
They are both official members of Team Santa. Dean proudly owns Rudolph (even though he absolutely hated that song for all of November and would make Emory miserable by talking loudly over it….because of course Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is Emory’s FAVORITE Christmas song ever….next to I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and Feliz Navidad). Emory agonized over which reindeer he wanted. He studied the website and made chart with check marks to help decide. He decided it would either be Donner or Blitzen. He proudly owns Dasher…..because Dean said that was the best choice. LOL. I just can’t keep up with these two sometimes.
Day 3 ~ Make Art for Your New Bedroom ~ Dean was pretty insistent on having a red bedroom at our new house. Emory was equally insistent on a green bedroom. Mommy vetoed both options, including their idea that one wall be green and one wall be red. I refuse to have a permanent Christmas room among other reasons for the veto. I did promise that I would come up with a better idea. That idea was their own art ON CANVAS to hang over their beds in their new room. Day 3 was about creating that art. We haven’t finished but we are doing pretty good so far. Emory is my artist and needed little help or guidance, although I did help and guide a bit. Dean….sweet Dean is not my artist. He is too particular and cannot tolerate mistakes and not being able to erase. I had to help him a bit more.
They both wanted one canvas to be Angry Bird related. Because…Angry Birds….and a phase that we will be in for the rest of eternity…
This is Dean’s. He did a bit of painting here….the blue one and yellow one and black one. I did most of the rest as he pointed to where it needed to go and if I was doing it good enough. Happily he thinks they are perfect and that I am the best artist in the world………. I am not finished yet and as of Saturday night the canvas still looks exactly like this. I plan to finish it up tomorrow so it is ready to hang above his bed on Friday.
This is Emory’s Angry Bird art. It isn’t finished yet. I would like to point out Rudolph up there pulling what I think must be an Angry Bird Santa.
But this is the art I love the most. This is Emory’s art. It is an Okapi. He LOVES Okapis. He has a stuffed one. He sketched it out first and then painted. I painted the sky and grass and part of the green section of the tree. Emory loves art and detail….he does not like filling in with paint. But this is all him and I totally love it.
Dean…..doesn’t not have a second canvas yet. I have been told it will be a rainbow….or maybe another Angry Bird. I am really going to push for the rainbow because I am kind of DONE with the Angry Birds.
Day 4 ~ Make Cinnamon Spice Christmas Ornaments ~ My mom and I first made Cinnamon Spice Christmas ornaments the Christmas of 1991. My grandmother (Mom’s mom) passed 3 days after Christmas of 1990. Mom agreed to put up Christmas if we did something completely different that year. She saw in a magazine that fall these cinnamon spice ornaments cut in hearts and stars decorating an entire tree. So we made them….TONS of them. My hands smelled like cinnamon for days. We didn’t have any other Christmas decorations that year. Since then I have made a few over the years, but nothing like that year. This year I decided to do it with the boys. We move into our house 11 days before Christmas. 11 DAYS! I am not going to have time to take out all of our decorations and also unpack a house. So….homemade ornaments it is! And lovely cinnamon spice smelling ornaments at that. They had a blast! (I say cinnamon spice ornaments because I don’t only use cinnamon like many of the recipes online. Those ornaments we made back in 1991 were made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. So that is what we used. I have no idea if it makes a difference as I have never made any with only cinnamon.)
Day 5 ~ Garland’s Christmas on the Square ~ This is another tradition within a tradition. This was our 3rd visit to Christmas on the Square. It was a great evening and PACKED! Both boys complained about every activity as we were completing in but both also said several times that it was the best night ever. These two are a walking contradiction!
I know it says Day 4….but I just messed up! The light up wrist bands we all had on were pretty cool!
There was some snow tubing (this is Dean).
And some crazy.
And some less crazy.
There was also standing in line for 30 minutes for hot chocolate…maybe more like 45. And it wasn’t even really cold enough for it. Oh….and balloons!
Day 6 ~ Buy our Christmas Tree! ~ In order to save myself from setting up our “everlasting” tree I decided to go with a real on this year. The boys are thrilled. I am excited that I don’t have to “fluff” a real tree. I can just string some lights and then we decorate. Either way, when it is all over I will have to vacuum. Right now the tree is in water in our garage at the new house. It is waiting until Friday to go into the house.
Day 7 ~ Rowlett Christmas Parade ~ Today was the Rowlett Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting. I decided on just the parade. I agreed to help out at the church sponsored bounce house first and then we would walk around and see what there was to see and then watch the parade. Emory has been begging for a Christmas parade since Halloween. For once things worked out well. Nathan didn’t have a basketball game during the time when we would be at the events so he and the boys were able to walk around and do things while I was at the bounce house. Then we visited the “Touch a Truck” vehicles while we waited for the parade. The parade did not disappoint since people were hurling candy at us….and I do mean hurling. I think Rowlett is lucky no kids were hurt with all the running in the street to get the hurled candy. The best was Santa at the end of the parade.
I told them to enjoy sitting on the motorcycle because mommy says NO to owning or riding them!
So there you go….Week 1! It has been a busy week. Week 2 promises more little treats and fewer activities. It is moving week and I think I have appointments and move related events every day this next week.