This year we’ll have something we’ve never had before at Christmas: a budget. We’ve set spending and giving guidelines in years past, but never because we had to. This year we cannot spend and give what we want.
So rather than agonizing over what I can’t do, I’ve been spending time recalling our favorite
FREE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
ELEANOR ZWEIGLE’S ADVENT STUDY
(as found on Miiko Gibson’s blog, Our Grace Journey)
This study is so fun! Ms. Zweigle uses the inductive study method, providing coloring pages for the children. My friend Mandie suggested instead of just looking for certain words visually, add sounds for children to make every time they hear a certain word. Or actions for the littlest ones. We start every morning with this study during Advent.
Turn the kids’ excitement about coming “gifts” into an excitment about God’s “gift,” Jesus. Create “ornament” representation of Jesus’ earthly family tree to help the children see God’s plan of salvation from the foundations of the earth. You can find plenty of free resources, but here’s one I particulary like. It includes the artwork for the youngest ones to color. If you have older ones, you can have them draw their own ornaments. While friends of ours hung their ornaments on a tree, we taped a construction paper stump to our pantry door and a green ribbon up as the branch for our ornaments. I’m a linear thinker, so I needed to see the chronological progression of Jesus’ human bloodline.
JESUS BIRTHDAY PARTY
Christmas Eve day we bake Jesus a birthday cake and decorate it with whatever goodies we have in the kitchen. We set it aside for Christmas morning. You’ll see why as you read on.
VISITING THE MANGER
After the children go to bed on Christmas Eve, while hubby puts together the toys that need a screwdriver, I line up our slippers by the back door and hide Baby Jesus (a naked plastic baby doll wrapped in an old teatowel) in a toybox full of hay left over from fall.
Christmas morning, the magic of coming down the stairs is turned from finding gifts to finding Baby Jesus. My kids run to the back door, eager to brave the cold to bring in Baby Jesus to warm Him by the fire. After they dress him, we sing Happy Birthday Jesus and eat cake to celebrate. It is our favorite part of Christmas Day!
Growing up, my favorite Christmas gifts were ones I could toy with all day. Art supplies and craft kits kept me quietly busy in a magical way into the cool, dark afternoon. This year I plan to put together craft supplies we already own in little self-contained craft kits. A few pieces of fabric, a pair of scissors, and some fabric glue to make dollhouse furnishings. Cardboard cereal boxes, scissors, wrapping paper and tape to create box-cars or Webkinz homes. Small mittens cut from felt, white embroidery floss, glitter glue, and white hanging ribbon to create a cute winter banner for our dining room.