A year ago, give or take a little, I posted about Holiday Traditions that I wanted to work on this year. I'm so thankful that I did that post because, even though I had the ideas in the back of my mind, I had forgotten the "in's and out's" of some of the ideas.
What are we doing this year?
1) Elf on the Shelf - I LOVED this idea last year and wanted to do it this year. First, I went looking for the "Elf", which I found on Amazon but, well, he is pretty popular and thus, a little pricey. I let go of my perfectionism and went looking for a stuffed elf that would work. I figured that the fun of this was the kids finding him in funny places - they would not care what he looked like (only I would HA!)
2) Book of the day/Christmas Countdown - One of the ideas I loved last year was having a book we read each day. There were various ideas including wrapping all of the books. . .I feel like wrapping the books is a LOT of work so I tied the book into our Christmas Countdown. IF I would have looked at these ideas in the summer, I would have remembered that I wanted to make advent bags . . .well that didn't happen HA! So, instead, I made a simple countdown board from this idea in Pinterest with a clue inside. Then, at the base of the "tree" is a box - inside the box is the book and activity for the day. The box is left empty until it is time to pick the card, then I sneak the activity in and let the boys pull the card and open the box. Before I ordered anything - I went through all of our books and found some fun, adorable Christmas stories. Once I had those, I just filled in the blanks with some other book ideas I had saved from last year. Then, I used craft/activity ideas from several sites and figured out how to tie them in with each of the books.
3) Santa's beard - we tried this last year but the boys didn't get it. I made two this year - one for each boy, and we did this as part of our countdown.
4) Our Jesus Tree - I took this idea from using the names of Jesus (which I will save for later) to using a Christmas Devotional that I had saved from somewhere. I'll show how I made it all a little later. We put an ornament on our tree each night at dinner and also read the scripture that goes with the day. I plan on doing this version for quite a few years; once the boys are older, I'll switch to the names of Jesus and that will carry us through for years as we can get more in depth as the years go by.
5) Family Traditions: We still have our family traditions - cutting down our tree, going in search of lights, getting photos with Santa, making cookies. Lots and Lots of fun!
6) A few other things I'm doing this year that you will see as we go along - a Felt Tree for the Kids to use, I Spy Ornaments, and the Little People Nativity Set.