Thursday, December 1, 2011

A New Tradition For Our Family

We as a family are starting a new tradition... I am stealing the idea from over here

We had "the talk" this year with Luke...and no not the "talk-talk" ;)... the red hat and white bearded guy talk....and tears gushed from his eyes. It all came about quite innocently with an email he read of mine to a friend about wishing our kids could stay little forever and always believe in Santa and he snickered at first and said, "Oh I knew...." but then it got quiet....and then his little face scrunched...and then eyes became glossy...and my sweet guy layed at the bottom of my bed and had a real. good. cry. He said it was so much fun to believe, he was really devastated. I was devastated that he was devastated and you know what... I had myself a little cry right there with him at the end of the bed. I wanted to rewind that whole night and wished I had never written the words...

But, then I ran across the idea of the Advent calendar, the non chocolate one, and being intentional with our days before Christmas and using it to really create the Christmas spirit that ultimately we want our children to experience and know and pass on... so it helped me to come to terms with this new chapter for him. I chin-upped and decided we were moving in a different direction with our tradition...and I started to get excited about it.... and even sneaky about it because he had no idea what I was up to! 

So, today when he came home from school I had our new Advent calendar out waiting for him where he would see it as soon as he walked in. I bought one big enough for us to put little notes in each day of the week with an activity or good deed...or yes, maybe even some chocolates ;). 

My thought ....for our new little tradition was this.... the day #1 little door will have a note already inside it from me that states.... "Tonight the family will make a gingerbread house and brainstorm/write down ideas for the other 24 days". So, I bought a cute little gingerbread house kit...wrote my note... and had high hopes that this new tradition was going to be Norman Rockwell-esque, right from the one was going to showcase the beauty and spirit I dreamt of.... and it would have ..... IF "short stuff' had not grabbed the scissors and cut his brother's homework into small pieces, and big brother not kicked him in the shins for doing it...and the two of them not tossed books about the room while in time out... nor continued to squabble at each other the remainder of the evening... Norman Rockwell it wasn't turning out to be, so sadly making our gingerbread house tonight needed a rain check.... day #1, is being moved to day #2, pending their new found good behavior. The good news is we now only have to think of 23 other activities

But, this is how I plan to start it each year... making our annual gingerbread house and brainstorming ideas together on day #1. I want our days to be filled with not only family activities but also times of doing something special for someone else.

I definitely want input from my family but a few ideas I have already brainstormed and prepared for are;
  • Leave a box of Christmas dog bone biscuits on our neighbors doorstep for the dog the boys "dog sit" for on occasion (the ones below crack me up...the biscuits are shaped as mailmen and cats) 
  • Leave bags shown below of hot chocolate mix on neighbors doorsteps (we have several widows on our street so these are for them in particular)
  • Bake cookies and take to neighbors (I found these cute bag kits with name tags at Home Goods)
  • Bundle up and go "night time" bike riding through the neighborhood to see the lights
  • Make hot chocolate and popcorn and watch a movie together
  • Slumber party under the tree
  • Purchase a toy to take to the local fire station for Toys for Tots
I look forward to hearing my boys' ideas as well, and Luke already told me, "Mom, I know what will go in door #24!". We also have a tradition on Christmas Eve where we get up early...go get coffee and donuts..and head out to deliver special "care packages" Luke puts together to give to the homeless (an idea he came up with all on his own about 5 years ago). It usually takes us hours.. we drive all around finding our next special person and we end up with amazing stories from the people we encounter. There is a gentleman named Robert that we look for first, we have hunted him down the last 3 years and he is surprised every time that we remember his name. I'm just sad he's still out there. So this activity will be written down and go in door #24 along with another day of collecting supplies and putting them together.

What are your ideas?? What do you all put in your Advent calendar if you do one? According to my calculations after my contributing ideas my boys will still need 14 more ideas.... so would love your input! ...okay I am asking for it, please do tell! :)



my family said...

great ideas, love them....sad about teh "tal" Ragan and I had the talk just this past week too when she informed me "ive been knowing" after I denied for about 5 min :)

DawnGes said...

When our children were little I came across the homemade cinnamon ornaments recipe and the notion to make them into garland for our fireplace mantle. They loved making the ornaments and helping me to figure out the garland's spacing between our stockings--we used thick twine and beads and kept a natural look.

We kept our garland in the freezer and took and brought it out every year, excited to test whether we still smelled the cinnamon...

Love what your family does on Christmas Eve--beautiful!

j*e*n said...

Last year we had an evening where we made cornflake know, the ones with marshmallow fluff dyed green with cinnamon red-hots for the holly berries? With a 6, 3, and 1 year-old, it made for a fun & memorable evening!