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Sunday, November 25, 2012

A true family Christmas!

If you have children you know their excitement over Christmas, the lights, the decorations, the family, the fun, and the presents.  As a mom I want my boys to know there's more to Christmas than just lights and presents.  I want my boys to know the real reason for Christmas, I want them to keep their eyes focused on Him during this busy season, and to remember their spirit of giving rather than getting. 

We are homeschoolers, and as such we have great flexibility in our school scheduling so I like to fill the month of December with activities and mini lessons that will do exactly that!  I thought there might be others out there that would like these activities as well so I'm going to link you all to some great sites full of awesome inexpensive and free materials, as well as give some ideas we've seen or used over the years.  I hope it will be a blessing to you and your family.

One of my favorite resources for preschoolers is Hubbard's Cupboard, and she has an entire month of Advent activities for you to enjoy, complete with a paper chain so children can remove one link each day to reveal a Bible verse, and activity to complete.

My favorite places for mini lessons, and unit studies is currclick and they have some great resources for children of all ages in their Christmas section!  If you like them on Facebook or sign up for their newsletter you can find out when all the sales and specials are, which will save you money.  Of course all their resources are so inexpensive anyway that even if you miss a sale you'll still find a great deal!

If lapbooks and ebooks are more your style check out Knowledge Box Central for some great Christmas theme projects!  Their downloads and E-Books are mostly $5.00 and $10.00, and you'll find some great stuff over there.  If you prefer you can pay a bit more and get the printed kits that you only need to assemble. 

If inexpensive crafts are your goal well I have got the place for you!  Oriental Trading has some amazingly cute and remarkably simple Christmas Crafts for great prices!  They have crafts, decorations, party supplies, candy, ornaments, costumes and MORE!  We have made lots of Oriental Trading crafts over the years, and this year even Twiggles got in on some of it!  Their crafts really are simple, and they come with all you need to complete them!  The only downfall, if there is one, is that everything is sold in sets of 12 or more. With crafts though that's rarely a problem, we just invite others over to craft with us!

Here are some other great Christmas Ideas:

Set up your family's nativity set, and each night while your children are asleep hide the baby Jesus, then when they wake up it's a game to see who can find him. - The lesson here is to teach littles to keep their eyes on Jesus, to stay focused on Him! 

Do an advent calendar, you can find many online to make and they don't need to be expensive, but instead of candy each one can hold something to remind them of the real meaning of Christmas (like a cross, a star, a manger, three wise men, etc.). 

Help your children learn to help others, choose an angel from the angel tree and let them do the shopping, if you know a family who is struggling this year take your children shopping for that family, let them put a dollar in the big red salvation army buckets, have them choose a toy and then donate it to toys for tots, volunteer at a soup kitchen, buy donuts and pass them out Christmas morning to the homeless, the possibilities are endless.  The lesson here is to teach your children to be thankful for their blessings, but also to learn to bless others, this is not something children will learn on their own it needs to be taught. 

Decorate the tree together, let your children choose special ornaments to put on the tree each year, if your child has made an ornament let them choose where to put it make this time a special family time.  It doesn't matter is your tree is perfect, or if there are two red bulbs next to each other, or if there's a small blank spot, what matters is you did it together.  If it bothers you, you can always move ornaments around later or add to it after they are in bed, but be sure not to move their special ornaments! 

Get a collection of Christmas and Winter themed books, you can often pick these up at thrift stores for just a dollar or two each. Be sure you have 25 of them!  Then wrap them, and place them under the tree.  Each day beginning on December 1st let your children choose one book to unwrap and then read it together, you could read the whole thing to them, or take turns reading whatever just do it together!  We even read one on Christmas morning before we open presents! 

Make decorations, you can make snowflakes from paper, paint Christmas trees from hand prints, wrap picture frames into presents on the walls, whatever strikes your fancy but do it together as a family.  Make Pinterest your best friend for Christmas crafts with kids - you can view my pinboard for some ideas too! Make gingerbread men from felt, or Stockings from paper, use window paint to decorate your windows. 

Build puzzles, for most people it's too Cold in December to go outside and play so instead why not spend the time building puzzles which can be glued together and hung throughout the house to remember for years to come!  Sure for little ones you'll have to start small, but as your children get older you can get bigger and bigger puzzles! 

Bake cookies!  I have such fond memories from my childhood of Mommy pulling out the baking supplies the day after Thanksgiving and bringing out her recipe file of Christmas cookies and each day we'd make 2 or 3 or 5 or 6 batches of cookies!  We ended up with popcorn tins full of cookies which we could keep in the garage since it was so cold!  We'd give cookies to my teachers for Christmas, leave a tin in the mailbox for our mailman, hand them out to Sunday School teachers and friends and family, no one came to our home during the holidays and left without a tin of cookies! 

Get a plain wreath or small tabletop Christmas tree, and just place one thing on it maybe a ribbon, or a star, whatever you find meaningful.  Display it proudly, and take it down and save it at the end of Christmas.  Then next year, pull it out and put on that ribbon or star, and add one more thing, maybe some garland, or a holly branch.  Then put it away at the end of Christmas.  Do this each and every year your children are home with you, and by the time they grow up and start families of their own you will have a beautiful wreath or tabletop tree full of memories!  Your grown children might just come home and see it and say "hey Mom remember when we put that figure skate on the tree, right after Suzie learned her first jump"!

Make memories to last a lifetime, take lots of pictures, make a scrapbook just of Christmas each year!  Make it a tradition to look over past years, before beginning your Christmas time celebrations each year, let your children help decorate the pages.  It may not be what you had in mind, but you made memories, you taught important lessons, and you made a lasting impression on your children!  Those are the things that matter!  You could even make a scrapbook of the Christmas story, starting with Mary and Joseph as they go to be counted, and continuing through Jesus' birth, and the wise men as they come to bring gifts, etc.  The possibilities are ENDLESS! 

Whatever you choose to do, make it meaningful, do it with joy and love in your heart, and share the true reason for the season with your children!  As you decorate your home to celebrate all things Christmas, don't loose sight of what's important and don't forget that your children are watching you and learning from you how to be adults! 

Birbitt Thinks Christmas can be lots of fun, and a great time for learning!  Let's keep our eyes on the Lord this Christmas season, and make our days meaningful!


  1. This is a great article!! I LOVE oriental trading company also!! I just ordered 2 huge spools of curling ribbons!! and 5 dozen lil tiny take out boxes to load with treats:-)

  2. Jay, you have out done yourself! Great article done in the right spirit of Christmas. May God bless you for your faithfulness.

  3. These are some really great idea! My boys are just only enough for some of this, so it should be an exciting year :)

  4. Great article Jess!!!

  5. Love this! We will have to book mark this page for some great crafts :) I love the advent calendar idea! We usually do one with chocolate or candy, but your idea really is awesome! and it will help my step daughter who is only 6 get a better grasp on the meaning of Christmas! Thank you!

  6. What great ideas! Hubbards Cupboard is one of my MOST favoritest sites EVER to be on the wide web. Excellent stuff there!

    Some great tradition ideas as well. Some of these we've done, some of these we tried, and some we are hoping to do this year or soon. Great collection, thanks so much!

  7. Good thinking, blogging, enjoyed your spirit and site. I am only a beginner blog but will chat more later. Visit sometime, http://www.PatriciasMagicalSanctuaryBlog.com


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