06 Jan Preparing for Christmas
The day we got home from Thanksgiving celebrations, we picked up a tree and brought up the Christmas boxes. Sometimes I wonder why we do it all for just over a month of this Christmas season, but there’s something about the traditions and specialness of the season that just requires different decorations. As James was winding the lights around the tree, Jaeda started jumping up and down, squealing, “This is our tree?? Our Christmas tree?!! YAY!!!!!!!”
This was the first year we decorated the porch. It’s basically the #1 reason I wanted to buy a house. Prolly wouldn’t make Dave Ramsey’s Top 10 List of When You Know You’re Ready to Buy a House. And then I found out our first Christmas season that we have exactly zero exterior outlets. I was devastated. Neighbor Kevin found out about my outdoor lighting depression the next year and offered to run some wiring from our house to the porch, but then our basement flooded and…yeah, you know the story. Well. This year I knew purchasing outdoor lights and electric was not an option, so I stepped out of my box (that outdoor lights must be on the outside of your house, plugged in outside–yes, once I get myself into a box, it’s very difficult to get me out!) and got resourceful. We had one extra strand of lights, so we wrapped it tightly around our tree and used the really long strand to line the front of the porch, snaked through the front door, and into the closest outlet inside our house. It worked! Although, I never took a picture from the outside at night, because well, it was outside and at night, duh. Cold. But the lights just needed a little extra, so I sent James and Johnny to the Dollar Tree where they picked up two strands of garland. I wound them together to make two wreaths, dug some red bias tape out of my sewing drawer, and flattened it all the way out (not enough for bows, but still nice splash of color). Then I spray painted some local pinecones (aka from the neighbor’s yard, but local sounds much more organic) gold and strung them up. And found some extra ornaments from when we first got married to fill the other porch windows. Yes, it was symmetrical. Contented sigh. Exterior outlets, pssh.
I added decals to the kids’ stockings. Olaf for Jaeda (please tell me you could tell that was Olaf!), since she’s loved him (and Anna and Elsa) ever since our birthday surprise trip for James…back in March. I’d say that represents her year pretty well. And Legos for Corban, who after our Lego Scavenger Hunt win at the library, has been far less interested in Baby Duplos and much more excited about Big Boy Legos.
Another way we started preparing for Christmas was with the Jesse Tree. Starting December 1st and ending on Christmas, this advent activity walks you from creation to the fathers of our faith and all the way to Christ’s birth, namely through His lineage. You can definitely make these yourself. I found these felt ornaments from an Etsy shop two years ago but felt the kids were too young. So Fall 2013, I decided to look into her shop again (of course, I’d pinned it…and was so glad I had becaaaaause). She had closed up shop! I did some major digging and was able to contact her and pleaded with her to make me one last set. She happened to be making one last set at the time (already claimed), but with the right amount of These are so beautiful and You do your own photography?!, I was able to talk her into making one last Very Last One. This was our first year to do it (it came with its own daily devotional), and I’m just so glad we did! I really appreciated the fun way to focus on Jesus and build our anticipation to His birth.
Of course, we had to do some Christmas-y crafts. This was painting with toilet paper rolls and then finger stamping the lights on the tree. (The kids gave theirs away so fast, I only had mine to photograph. They absolutely love others having their art; not vain at all.)
Then we made salt dough magnets for kids in our life group. I had stamps from my high school days that came in quite handy. The kids loved coloring them, which basically left them completely unreadable. I can assure you I left some for Mommy’s coloring only. We only broke one in the process (of course, for Daddy), which I consider a huge success!
We received a surprise visit from Mrs. Lisa that included the above snowman candle holder, these two scented playdoughs and cookie cutters, and some yummy hot cocoa. It was such a kindness and has provided much fun for us and our friends!
We went Christmas caroling with James, Anne, Evie, and new baby Andrew, buuut after just a small handful of houses, were much too cold and wet from the…rain. So we opted to come inside and sing Christmas hymns around the piano. It was a good Plan B.
At this point, Christmas was prepared for. Check!