Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tis the Season

“It Christmastime and the ponies…”-Jim Mount

It is that time of year again:  Lights, cinnamon, ornaments, fires, holiday music, giving, loving, hot cocoa…I LOVE IT!

This year we have begun yet another family tradition that I am VERY excited about.  We have started our 25 days of giving countdown.  I bought an advent calendar and made little activity cards so that the kids can look forward to picking out a giving/service activity for that specific day.  It is a hit!  The kids LOVE IT! Just yesterday I took the kids out to pick out a toy at the store, and we drove it to the fire station to put in the Toys for Tots Drop off  bin.  It is such a great learning experience for them, and they were so excited to pick something out for a kid in need.

Some other things that we have in our calendar are:

-Drop off our change to the Salvation Army red kettles
-Call a grandparent (that we haven’t talked to in a while) to just say “hi”
-Make cookies and decorate them and bring them to a neighbor
-Jingle someone’s house (leave goodies and ding dong ditch!)
-Do a travel Nativity
-Bring treats to the local Firemen
-Adopt a family for Christmas (and buy gifts for them)
-Babysit for a friend who might need a date night
-Donate blood (Yes they are young, but they can watch me do it and do it as they get older)
-Make dinner for the missionaries
-Random Act of kindness (we have a few of these) …like pay for the people behind us at the drive through, pass out change at the store for the kids to play an arcade game, etc…
-Bring hot cocoa to the men/women working at the tree farm
-Make a gift for someone
-Write someone you love a letter of thanks (teacher, sibling, etc)
- Write a letter to Jesus about what you will give him this season (we do this for FHE at the beginning of every December and put the letters under the tree)
-Donate canned food to a food drive
-Go through our toys and clothes and donate to the needy
-Help make and bring in treats to the classroom
-Help put together teacher gifts and write a note of thanks
-Read a book about the greatest gift (Christ), as a family
-Give the gift of time and watch a Christmas movie with the family
-Make a meal for a family who could use it
-Do a service for someone in need  (we helped a family move homes…Dylan helped Cameron pack the moving truck J)
-Tell everyone in your family that you love them and give them a big hug
-Help with a chore (of moms choice)
-Christmas carol at a retirement home
-go to the dollar store and buy presents for everyone in the family

We have a few others and that way I can pick something that will work with our schedule that day.  I think we have about 30 to choose from. 

This has been a wonderful addition to our holiday season.  I hope that it will help the kids understand the true meaning of Christmas during a time when it is so easy to be distracted by monetary things.  The toys for tots day was by far my favorite because the girls really wanted the items that they picked out, but yet, they were more than happy to put it in the bin when we reminded them that other little girls would get to have a toy on Christmas.  It was so sweet when Sydney said, “the girl can have the princess baby mommy,”.  

Here are a few other Christmas time traditions:

Our Elf, Buddy, came on the first day of Christmas to keep an eye out for good/bad behavior.  He is always getting into something!

The Carrollton Christmas parade!  I love small town communities so much during the little parades that they put on...this one is always my favorite! We went with some of our good friends, The Haralsons.  
(If you ask Sydney what she wants from Santa, the only thing that she says is, "a horse". Yes.  A  REAL HORSE. I know a lot of girls ask for ponies, at least in the movies, but really, where did this come from?  Within the last month she has this obsession with horses...So... I bought her a horse purse to carry around her always wanted chapstick and gum.  Is it a real horse? No.  Will she be just as excited with a ghetto 3 doller purse?  YES!  I'm actually very excited to give it to her.  LOL!)
 Syd doesn't like being told what to do from strangers...smiling is not an option 

Our Christmas lights!  I didn't put the wreaths on the windows in this pic...but you get the idea!

Advent Calendars:
Uncle Timmy and family sent this awesome Christmas gift this year!  Dylan has actually asked for one of these every year...this year he got one!  He hates it...can you tell?
Our Giving Advent Calendar:
bringing treats to the firemen:
 Toys for Tots:

Volunteering in the classroom:
Yes I was given the job to paint every kids foot, and hands.  Lucky me!

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