For all of the hullaballu and the selling of the advent calendars, it's almost upon us.
As small business owners who work extra hard during the holidays, it feels crazy important to us that we keep these holy days sacred and special for our family too.
So I've done some strategizing and planning and now I'll stand guard over our days prayerfully and gracefully.
First - a note. A few people have asked me the difference between a 25 day and a 28 day advent. This year, our advent calendar has 28 days so that however you celebrate - you're included. To put it super simply and probably not crazy intelligently, I think a 28 day advent is a little more traditional + liturgical for the kind of folk who go to a church that does the whole shebang - a different candle each week, 4 full Sundays of advent - thus, 28 days. The 25 day folks tend to go December 1st-25th, following a less liturgical pattern and a little more freeform, ending Christmas day. I was raised in a traditional church but we're in a more evangelical setting now, so we freeform it with 25 days:) I don't think one way is right or wrong! We're all making much of Jesus!
Now. Here are my advent essentials, my absolute goals:
- We want to celebrate with our kids and for them to know this a SPECIAL season.
- We want to set aside time to be telling our kids the beautiful story about our Savior and how He came to earth to rescue us.
- We want to celebrate with our community + family.
- We want to celebrate within our city and neighborhood, being a light for Jesus. We want people to see our joy and point them to Him.
- I want my heart to be right first, I want to be intentionally preparing for Jesus. And this season.
So, some ground rules I'm setting:
- We plan activities but with heaps of GRACE. If something doesn't work, it gets cut.
- We're setting aside Monday + Thursday nights to have intentional bible time with our kiddos. No exceptions. No working during those dinners. No skipping them because we're tired or one of us has a meeting. We're going to try and make them happen each week.
- We will say no to parties and events if we need to. Example: During this first week of Advent coming up, I realized we had an event Sunday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. Combine that with the fact that we're small business owners who typically work Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights and you have one stressed out family. So even though I really want to go to all those special holiday events, we will say no to some of them.
- I'll be trying really hard to make time to read the SheReadsTruth advent plan each morning myself, to make sure Mama's heart is in the right place. (It starts on our site on Sunday, but it should be available in YouVersion today if you want to follow along)
But without further ado, here's what we'll actually be doing for advent this year!
I'll write activities on the back of our advent calendar and we'll take it down each to reveal with the kids. Some days are big, some days are small, some days are free, some days we've budged for a little!
Anyhow, here it is!
Saturday 1: special breakfast out together
Sunday 2: Frozen yogurt + picking an operation Christmas Child name
Monday 3: Family Scripture night
Tuesday 4: Make Salt Dough Ornaments
Wednesday 5: Chocolate pancakes for breakfast
Thursday 6: Family Scripture night
Friday 7: Go see a matinee movie together!
Saturday 8: Christmas shopping for cousins and Operation Christmas Child
Sunday 9: Make gingerbread houses
Monday 10: Family Scripture night
Tuesday 11: go Ice skating!
Wednesday 12: Family morning trip to Starbucks
Thursday 13: Family Scripture night
Friday 14: Go see a Grinch exhibit
Saturday 15: Take Christmas cookies to neighbors!
Sunday 16: Act out the nativity:)
Monday 17: Family Scripture night
Tuesday 18: visit friends + give our gifts
Wednesday 19: pack for our christmas trip!
Thursday 20: TAKE OUR SPECIAL DRIVE TO SEE FAMILY!
Friday 21: movie night with Nonny
Saturday 22: drive and look at lights
Sunday 23: Fun Christmas Eve service!
Monday 24: Open our first Christmas gift
Tuesday 25: Christmas Day
And that's it. That's how we do Advent.
Lots of Jesus. Lots of fun. A good amount o' sugah. Grace.
and planning, cause I can't help myself.
How about you? What are you doing?
And if you haven't gotten your advent calendar,
I know of a great printable one. :)
pssst: I almost forgot. I have a few small + medium sponsor spots left for December and it is going to be a FUN month around Naptime Diaries. A new design (woohoo!), a massive giveaway, and lots of holiday fun up our sleeves. Join us if you have a shop or blog to promote.
Email jessiconnolly at gmail and see here for more details.