We are finally on our official school break until the New Year- hurray! All of that work in the summer is paying off now as we spend our extra time preparing for Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, we have taken some time this last month to really evaluating how and why we celebrate Christmas. After reading the book Hundred Dollar Holiday I have decided to spend a lot more time doing things with the kids and making presents for them instead of buying them. I talked to the older kids about their memories of past Christmases and they could not remember a single toy they received. What did they remember? The paper chain we made for the fireplace, the crafts we made for grandparents, the snowflakes we made for the back door, and the homemade candies and play dough they received in their stockings. Truthfully, I had to think really hard about what we did buy for them. So starting this year we are doing things differently. Most of what the kids are getting will be made here (check out my Pinterest board for some ideas of what I am making) and we are going to be having a lot of family bonding time while we truly enjoy the season. I really want us to savor this blessed Christmas season instead of just survive it! Here is a little bit of what we have been doing this week to prepare.

Christmas Books we read:

Every night we are reading a devotion from the Thriving Families 2012 Advent Activity Calendar in addition to these great books.
The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas

Pippin the Christmas Pig

The Story of Holly & Ivy

An Orange for Frankie

Christmas in the Barn

A Child is Born

Mary’s First Christmas

The Legend of the Poinsettia

Christmas Music we listened to:

Chris Tomlin- Glory in the Highest

MercyMe- The Christmas Sessions (Joseph’s Lullaby is my all-time favorite Christmas song!)

Avalon-Joy

Natalie Grant- Believe

Glee- The Christmas Album

Christmas Movies we watched:

Cricket on the Hearth

Annie

Elf

Blue’s First Holiday

The Polar Express

Decorations we put up:

The Christmas Tree:)

The Christmas Tree:)

The Stockings (not sure how that Angry Bird found its way into the manger scene)

The Stockings (not sure how that Angry Bird found its way into the manger scene)

Snowflakes made by the kids (with a little help from me)

Snowflakes made by the kids (with a little help from me)

Cookies we baked (part of the “12 Days of Christmas treats” where we make a different type of cookie on each of the first 12 days of December):

Grain Free No-Bake Cookies

Grain Free No-Bake Cookies

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Gingerbread Cutouts

In case you were wondering what the kids have been up to while they are on break from school (besides baking, crafting, and reading) here is a little taste.

Christmas Piano Lessons- 3 for the price of 1!

Christmas Piano Lessons- 3 for the price of 1!

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A “train” of chairs in the living room

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A real-live baby for the baby stroller!

Hope you are all having a great week too!