Monday, November 19, 2012

Advent Calendar & JOY (Holiday Traditions)

Well, here we are with Thanksgiving quickly approaching and while I don't want to skip over the importance of Thanksgiving, I do want to share some fun advent projects with you.
Since the first day of Advent is also quickly approaching, I wanted to be sure and share my advent calendar with you so that you would have time to make one of your own if wanted to.

 I don't have my bags filled yet but I will post some pictures later of it finished and hanging. I was inspired by this calendar.
I ordered a package of muslin bags that I found for a great price on Amazon. They were sold in a package of 25....PERFECT!
Then, I simply used a Staz On Ink pad and stamped the numbers 1-25 on each bag.
I am going to fill them with a scripture for each day, which you can find a good list of here. I am also going to put a little something fun in each bag. Some bags will have an activity card in them which I have typed on the computer, printed out and will adhere to the cute scrapbook paper shown above. Other days will have some sort of fun treat in them; either candy or something small like chapstick (which my kids love for some reason).
However, the focus will not be on the treats (which is why not every bag will have one). Our heart is for our children to learn the joy of giving, serving and loving others. So, our activity cards will also include some ways in which our family can serve together as well.
Once the bags are filled, I plan on hanging a piece of twine across the wall and using clothes pins to hang the bags. I also plan on either dying the clothes pins red or covering them with cute paper.
If you don't have a wall space big enough to hang them, they would be equally as cute in a basket.

A little something else I have been working on.....a little JOY...
I am super excited to hang this in my living room for Christmas. I am thinking it will look great hanging above the couch or above the advent calendar. I'll post some pics when I decide.

We are decorating a little differently this year. Our tree sort had it after last Christmas. There were far too many strings of lights wrapped on those branches that did NOT work and that were NOT coming off, no matter how hard I tried!
So, we decided to do without a tree this year. I know, I know...that seems C-R-A-Z-Y! And really, for those who know me and my love for are probably gasping in disbelief right at this very moment. But really and truly, I am okay with it. It is not forever, it is for now and it is truly the Lord's timing because I would not have been okay with it last year.
Now, let me say this...there is NOTHING wrong with having a Christmas all. Ours was just done and we already knew we wanted to do Advent the next year and make a few changes, so this is where we are. You can totally do Advent and have a Christmas tree! ;)  For our family, right now, we really just want to focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas, without some of the wonderful things that can sometimes also serve as distractions, especially for little ones.
And really and truly, I am SUPER DUPER excited about Christmas this year! I think I am going to enjoy this even more than years past!
It is so easy to be so distracted during this season and I don't like that. We celebrate Christmas because it is the coming, the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Advent means "coming" or "arrival"; about the coming of Christ. Advent is all about waiting with anticipation for the arrival of Jesus.  I am so excited about focusing even more on my Savior this year. Just reading up on Advent and looking through different daily readings and devotional to do with the kids throughout Advent has already been so encouraging to me and a great blessing.
Check out this information on Advent, complete with family devotionals and ideas for family activities. Click on Advent Guide and print it out.

I'll keep sharing as I go! I hope this is helpful to you.

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