We have done Jesse Tree devotions over the last ten years. We read, the kids color or draw the symbol and attach it to the tree. Some years the tree has been cloth and others we have used a real branch from our back yard. We have enjoyed these times each year so very much. I have found it hard at times to do a devotion faithfully every day till Christmas (just being honest).
This year I found a neat little book about the history of Christmas traditions called The ADVENTure of Christmas. I wasn't really looking for it but came across it on the clearance rack at a book shop. Each day we read through a different tradition and the legend and history behind it. It has been a nice change and very interesting. It also had a suggestion for making your own Advent calendar. It is SO simple but we had tons of fun making them and of course eating them. She suggests using Hershey kisses but I found it too pricey to do that with three kids. I bought one of those gummy candy packs with tons of candy for the same price as one Hershey kiss bag. Yes, I know.....tons of dye and high fructose corn syrup but once in awhile won't hurt us. You pull out enough plastic wrap to hold 25 of the candies. Lay out the candies with about an inch between and roll them up. You then tie a piece of ribbon in between each piece. Then you hang it. We hung two of them from wall mounted candle holders in our dining room and the other to a curtain rod in the dining room. Each day we read and then cut off a piece of candy.
Those spicy red balls are YUMMO!
Did you know that candy canes were originally made as sugar pacifiers for babies while in church services? It was interesting to learn why the stripes were added and what they mean?
We are really having a low key holiday here. No traveling this year which I am so thankful for. Our family is coming to us in small groups over the week. We are having dinner with close friends Christmas Day and chilling. My husband has an entire week off which is never happened before. Much to be grateful for.
As extended family we agreed to make all the gifts this year.The adults don't do gifts but the kids pick names. I am excited to see what they have all come up with to make for each other. I would love to share what I made but will post after Christmas so I don't spoil the surprise :o) We have gotten into some fun creating this year. I have un-earthed old creative loves and found new ones. Journey has amazed me with some of her creations.
I decided to wrap the print over the mantel in Christmas paper for decoration. It took me a few days to get over the shock of how "loud" it felt in the room but it feels festive now. It was super easy. I just stapled the paper onto the back of the wood frame and then bought ribbon and made the bow. I think it cost me all of $2.49 to do. The cute toddler is showing off his dance moves to Harry Connick's Christmas Album.
Can't remember who's idea it was to use lettered building blocks for the mantel but we love it. We have several sets all over the house that say "Merry Christmas"....again a frugal but fun way to decorate and celebrate.
Have a Merry Christmas from our home to yours. See you next year! Or maybe before, if I get around to sharing our creations before then.