Here is our Nativity advent calendar.
The new tradition I added this year is an activity calendar. I was inspired last Christmas season by reading about how other moms have implemented this in their homes and decided to do it myself this year. I used an idea from Skip to My Lou's blog to make my stocking-themed calendar. I love the idea of planning one simple activity to do with my boys each day during the month of December. I think this will force me to slow down and focus on them even when I feel nearly frantic inside thinking of my to-do list. I am just now thinking that a good New Year's resolution is to seriously cut back on my to-do list. That's food for another whole post, however.
Here are our stockings hanging by clothespins on a length of extra-wide red rick-rack. In each stocking I have placed a little folded up piece of paper with the days activity on it. For a list of the activities we used, you can read this post on my other blog.
Our first activity was to create a red and green paper chain with 25 links to use as a way to countdown to Christmas. I was really happy with how well my boys worked together on this project. My oldest son wrote numbers on little white labels I had and we used these to number each link of the chain. My little boy quickly grasped the idea that we were making a red/green pattern and took turns with his brother putting together every other link.
This photo shows the activity paper from our December 1st stocking next to our pile of red and green paper strips.
The beginnings of our chain.............
I LOVE to see these four little hands working together to accomplish a goal. If that isn't WONDERful, I don't know what is!
When we finished the chain, we added it to our eclectic Christmas tree. Each day the boys will tear off a link until the chain is gone. I am so glad I've committed myself to sharing time each day doing something special with the boys. I hope as they grow up and move out into the world and (hopefully) start families of their own they will remember and cherish the traditions from their childhood. I am not always the most perfect, patient mother. But I love my sons more than anything in the world. And I want to show them that through spending time with them on small, but important, activities that will build lasting memories in all our hearts. They are already growing up so fast. During my worst moments of mommy-impatience, I sometimes wonder what it will be like to have them grown and gone someday. Within a split-second of that thought, however, I inevitably realize (with regret) that when those empty-nest days arrive I will yearn so desperately for just one more cuddle under the quilt at night, one more sloppy kiss, one more bedtime story, one more, "Hey, Mommy. Did you know...........?" These moments are fleeting and precious. O Lord, help me treasure each one.