Christmas is hands-down my favorite holiday. I love the lights, the snow, the cookies, the movies, the music and most of all, the family togetherness that it brings. Since becoming a mom, it has been very important to me that we have family Christmas traditions that Madalyn and any future children can depend on.
I have the absolute most amazing memories of Christmas growing up, which is why I think I love it still so much today. Some of my favorite things were:
- Decorating. We always decorated the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone in the whole family was involved — even when we are all in high school, we still decorated as a family. We drank Egg Nog and listened to Amy Grant’s Christmas album non-stop!
- Candy Cane Lane. Not too far away, there are some streets of houses that go all out with their outdoor Christmas decorating. We used to pile up in the car each year and go see all the beautiful lights and decorations. So much fun!
- Christmas cookies for breakfast on Christmas morning! I am not going to lie — this is one tradition Bryan and I still practice. 🙂
I could probably write a book about all the wonderful things we did as a family at Christmas. One thing that stands out in my mind is how much my parents emphasized that Jesus was the #1 priority for celebrating the season. We received three gifts each Christmas to symbolize the three gifts that the wise men brought baby Jesus. We read the Christmas story and books that focused on His birth. We sang Christmas songs and carols both at church and at home. And each Christmas season, we would take Joseph and Mary from the nativity scene and they would “journey” down the hallway on their way to Bethlehem. They would move just a little bit each day and by Christmas Eve they would reach the stable. My sisters and I would each take a turn and place baby Jesus in the manger. I really believe these things are what made me, even at a really young age, know how meaningful the birth of our Savior was.
Growing up, we also celebrated Advent. We had a couple of Advent calendars that we would go through each year, and when I asked one of my sisters if she had one of them the other day, she began to quote the first few phrases behind the doors — years later, it is still ingrained in our memories!
I was feeling crafty and wanted to create an Advent calendar for our family this year. Here is what I came up with:
This was not a time-consuming project, and if you are looking for a calendar but haven’t found one that works for you yet, I encourage you to try to make something similar!
- Canvas (24×36) (Hobby Lobby)
- Fabric (1 yard) – your choice! (Hobby Lobby)
- Library card pockets and shipping tags (I purchased mine from Etsy. You can find the pockets here and the shipping tags here. This seller has the pockets and tags in tons of different colors, so you can choose whatever works for you!)
- Ribbon (Hobby Lobby)
- Glue dots (I used Glue Linens, 1 inch)
- # stickers for the dates (Hobby Lobby)
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Cover your canvas with fabric. I used hot glue to attach the fabric and it has stayed put without a problem.
- Attach the library card pockets. I used the Glue Linens to attach each pocket. I used three dots for each pocket to make sure that they stuck. If you use a heavier tag in the pocket, you may need something more heavy-duty to attach them. You will want to make sure to measure out the space you want in between each pocket and have enough room for the tag and ribbon on top. That’s why I used a larger canvas.
- Add the # stickers to each pocket. I love the white ones I got from Hobby Lobby because they go with the fabric, but there are probably a zillion options you can pick from.
- Fill out our tags with your verses. I used the Focus on the Family website because I liked the verses they cited. However, some of the verses do get kind of lengthy and were hard to fit on one card, even using both sides. You could just write out the verse reference to save time and then use your Bible each day to read it. Or, as I’m thinking about doing next year, you could find a more kid-friendly advent verse. I think Maddy may struggle with the length of some of the verses, so I may switch out the tags next year for something more simple. We’ll see! (Simple Tip: Write down the corresponding number on the tag somewhere. Otherwise it might be hard to figure out what day you are on if things get mixed up!)
- Attach the ribbon to the top of the tag. I used hot glue to create a tab-like piece of the ribbon so it would be easy to pull in and out of the pocket.
- Hang your canvas and enjoy celebrating Christmas with your family!
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