Getting ready for Christmas with The Conscious Shopper
After a month of gratitude, we spent an evening ceremoniously removing leaves from our gratitude tree and remembering all the people we're thankful for. (I had a picture of the tree overflowing with leaves, but I can't find it now. You'll have to trust me that it was a beautiful reminder of how blessed we are.)
We brainstormed ways to show gratitude for the people on our list. For most, we decided to take the traditional holiday route and show gratitude through gift-giving: homemade ornaments for the boys' friends, quick breads for their teachers, cookies for their church leaders. I think it will be easier to come up with more service oriented gifts as they get older.
For our little family, we decided that during December we'd each get a night where we get to choose dinner but not have to make it or clean up afterward. This could be very interesting...
We also threw in a day of eco-service, we're still brainstorming some good service projects for our extended family, and I plan to write lots and lots of thank you cards in the next few weeks.
The boys and I made an advent calendar by cutting out pictures of doors and windows and gluing them onto a piece of cardstock. While the boys were sleeping, I finished it up by cutting around each of the pictures so they swing open, gluing the whole thing to another piece of cardstock, and then writing a special activity behind each of the doors (with some of the activities related to our gratitude project while the rest are typical holiday activities).
When I finished, I thought the advent calendar looked pretty lame. But when I showed it to my boys this morning, they were thrilled - opening and closing the doors and windows and pointing out which pictures each of them had cut out. I felt like the Queen of Craft!
Here are the activities behind each door:
1. Make a newspaper snowflake garland.
2. Make Christmas cards.
3. Pick up trash at the playground.
4. Go see the lights at Lake Myra.
5. Attend our church's Community Christmas Celebration.
6. Special dinner for the two-year-old.
7. Decorate Christmas tree.
8. String popcorn and cranberries for the tree.
9. Go shopping for a Holiday Angel gift.
10. Make quick bread for church teachers.
11. Attend church Christmas party.
12. Daddy's special dinner.
13. Special dinner for the four-year-old.
14. Deliver cookies as "secret elves."
15. Make salt dough ornaments for gifts for boys' friends.
16. Paint ornaments.
17. Make quick bread for school teachers and neighbors.
18. Make a nativity.
19. Special dinner for the six-year-old.
20. Momma's special dinner.
21. Go carolling.
22. Stay up late to watch a Christmas movie.
23. Travel to see family.
24. Open presents!
25. Christmas Day!
The calendar is in its spot on the fridge, and every day we'll open a door or window to find out what holiday activity our day will revolve around.
How are your holiday preparations going?
However you choose to celebrate your holiday, I hope you'll make it a season of kind-giving, focused on spending time with and showing gratitude for the people you love.