This morning finds he and his sister on the couch watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Yes. The old school one. From the 1970s. Marshall and Eliza love it. Jameson is, well, being Jameson. Playing with trucks and trains. And hysterically loving the orange Oompa Loompas.
While the troops are occupied, instead of folding laundry, I thought I'd share a Christmas idea with you. I have Christmas on the brain. I found the Sirius/XM Christmas music stations and already preset them in my car. My Pinterest Christmas board is filling up. I have more Christmas crafts than I can count planned for the next month.
And . . . Advent is starting soon, December 2nd to be exact. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Advent season, advent means "coming." During Advent, we celebrate the "coming" of Jesus. It is a season of waiting and preparation for celebrating Jesus' birth at Christmas.
For the first few years that we had kids, we wanted to do more during Advent to focus on Jesus. Eric and I just weren't sure what to do, or how to do it. Then Eric started receiving weekly emails from Todd Wilson at Familyman Ministries. Through Familyman, Eric found what we'd been needing. Todd Wilson wrote a blogpost last year describing their family's Family Advent Nights, and we started following their model last year. I say, "we." I should really say "Eric," since this was all planned and initiated by him.
So, I thought I'd write a similar blogpost on our blog this year, in case any of you were needing ideas for Advent. Because sometimes you come across something so good, that you just can't keep it to yourself! And, it's okay as I copy as long as I give credit, right? (Familyman didn't pay me or give me anything free - I really just think you all need to know about this!)
At our house, we have Family Advent Night every Sunday night during the Advent season. But, you could pick any night of the week that fits in your family's schedule. Family Advent Night consists of the Bible, an Advent wreath, a snack, a craft and a read-aloud storybook.
We use the following Bible passages from the Familyman blog to read each week. Each passage correlates with one of the advent wreath candles. We light one candle the first week. Two candles the second week. Three candles the third week, etc.
The Familyman website has amazing Christmas storybooks to read-aloud each week of Advent. Eric ordered the books, not sure what to expect. The books ended up being one of the best parts of our Christmas season last year. They are creative, beautiful and point to the Gospel. We can't wait to read them again. This year, they've added books on CD. So, after each Family Advent Night, we are going to give the corresponding book on CD to the kids so they can listen to it for the rest of the season.
The other, and maybe best thing, about the Familyman website is that they sell craft kits. They are inexpensive - about $2 per kit. So, $8 per child for the season. The only thing that you need to add is glue. They are really simple, which is perfect for including pre-school age kids and for their non-craft-inclined moms (like me!). And they make planning Advent night easy and a lot less overwhelming!
The only thing I had to do was put together an advent wreath, prepare snacks each week, and buy some glue. And really, we discovered our kids didn't care about the details of what we did. They just loved that it was Christmas-y and that our family was together talking about Jesus. Eliza says that it was her favorite part of Christmas last year. See how easy it can be? So, let's get planning mamas!