Advent: Reflections and Hints

The gifts are unwrapped and put away, the stockings hang empty, and the treats are almost gone {or will soon be thrown out}. The only reminders of the advent and Christmas season are the trees still up with ornaments and lights, the nativity scenes around the house, and the tiny baby Jesus dolls under the kids' trees.

I appreciate all the comments and questions about our advent activities this year.  I thought I would address some of the questions here as well as reflect on our advent season.

~ I decided that this year after advent was over I was going to create a blurb book of our activities so we can go back each year and remember how we celebrated advent.  I am going to go back and make a book of last years advent blog posts as well.  I think these will be so fun to look at year after year.

~  The planning for next year starts now.... not really but sort of.  If I find an activity in a magazine that I think I want to use next year I take the page from the magazine and put it in my file.  If I find something on line that I would like to use next year, I either jot it down in my notes if it is self explanatory but if it is something more in depth I book mark it and put it in a folder labeled advent activities.

~  I do start the actual planning and gathering of supplies in late October or early November.  This gives me plenty of time to organize, gather supplies, find bible verses, and plan for each day.

~  A great place to get craft supplies is through Oriental Trading Company.  It is often times cheaper to buy their packaged crafts then to try and purchase the supplies to do it on your own.  This year I split most of the crafts with a few other families so it was pretty inexpensive.  Almost all our crafts were $1 or less per child.

~  Another great place to look for craft activities is in the dollar section at Michaels.  I found quite a few of our craft activities or supplies there.  I stocked up on some of those dollar crafts to have as extra "just in case" type of activities.

~  My kids could hardly wait to read our devotional each day.  This series of advent books is awesome.  There is a great life lesson each day as well as the story.  

~  The activities can be simple.  They can be things you would normally do during Christmas or things you would like to do but don't always make time for because it is such a busy season.  The advent calendar ensures that I am intentional with my kids about the true meaning of Christmas, that we slow down and enjoy the season, and that we make time to do things in our community that we enjoy during the season.

~ Morgan's favorite advent activities: going to the nutcracker, making teacher gifts, and baking day

~  Mauryn's favorite advent activities: making baby Jesus, making teacher gifts, the homeschool party, and the hot chocolate stand

~ Advent is a time my kids look forward to each year.  They anxiously await the first of December to arrive so we can start our calendar.  Morgan, at age 11, looks forward to advent as much as her brother and sister.  Even activities I think are too simplistic or would be "boring" for her, she always seems to enjoy.

~  I do repeat some activities/crafts from year to year.  I do not invent 25 new things.  I try to mix things up from year to year.  I keep in some of our favorites and add in a few new things.  It makes my job planning a bit easier and the kids don't seem to mind a bit if we repeat something.  If we do repeat an activity I might try to change something about how we do it.  For example, last year the kids made stars using popsicle sticks or felt to sew and this year they painted a star.

~ I usually have a plan in my head of our day.  I learned, many times, that our days did not often go as I had planned.  I really worked on finding the joy in advent and not being stressed or frustrated with our day not going according to plan.  I learned to "punt" more this year and be okay with it.  I let the kids create on their own... giving them the guidelines for a craft at times and letting them take the lead.  I loved getting to see their little minds at work and seeing how each child tackled a project.

Thank you to those who have read and commented.  I hope you enjoyed this journey with us through the season of advent!



Dámaris said...

I really enjoyed reading about your Advent activities with your kiddos. You have inspired me in so many ways. We do some kind of Advent theme devotional but I think next year I am going to try to add to it. You are a great mom, your kids are blessed to have you as their mommy! Blessings!

Simply Sara said...

yup, it's my plan to do this next year!
i even went out and bought a cute little advent house that has 25 little doors to open each day. now i'll have no excuse not to do it!

thanks for posting all your wonderful ideas (i totally plan on stealing a bunch of them!) and for writing this post giving away your tips and tricks :)

i don't know if i can be organized enough to get started at the end of oct. on my own though.... you'll have to remind me next year when you start planning and hopefully i can get my act together and plan along with you :)

thanks again friend for sharing all your wonderful activites. i have so enjoyed seeing your sweet family celebrate *Him*!

you are an awesome mommy!!!