Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Planners and other Preparations

There is always so much I want to do this time of year --from gifts to buy, parties, activities to do with my family, treats to bake, movies to watch...and the list goes on!
This year I decided to make a Christmas Planner to keep me organized.  I also made one for my sister and friend with end of November birthdays:)

I got the idea from the blog eighteen25.  They have directions here.
I used a set of Christmas scrapbook papers from Hobby Lobby, a composition notebook, some white cardstock, glue dots, white cardstock, and a small brown ink pad.

You can print calendars here.

And make the tabs to fit your needs.  It really was so fun to create and has helped me stay organized!  I take it everywhere I go and review it several times a day!

In other news:
We set up our Hot Chocolate Making Station
 The boys have been LOVIN' it!

And on Saturday after my little boys gazzillioneth time asking me when we are going on an airplane to Grandma and Grandpas--we made a Paperchain Countdown
We are so excited, can you tell?!!

The Stockings are hung...

and I have tried to fill our home with reminders of the true meaning of the season with nativities in almost every room:)
This sweet one is from Isreal--my sister brought it home for me when she spent a semester at the BYU Jerusalem center.  I love it.

I have been thinking alot about of how to create a more 'Christ centered' Christmas for my family.   I read this book --which is full of lots of wonderful ideas!  I really want my boys to feel the true magic of the season that comes with a sincere celebration and increased devotion to the Son of God.

Do you have any traditions or activities that help your family have a more Christ centered Christmas? 
 I would love to hear about them!



Mindy said...

Your house looks so festive! The paper chain is such a fun idea. I know what you mean about trying to keep Christ the center of Christmas instead of Santa Claus too. I've been trying to think of how I can do it with a toddler. Can't wait for you to come!

Thee Fire Wife said...

Giving to those who have less is one of the best experiences I can remember. You could shop to fill shoeboxes, ask your church for a family in need to shop for, or check out the local soup kitchen. Kids as young as 3 can understand that not everyone has as much as them! Love your nativities!

Brittany said...

I loved those pictures! It helps to see pics at least of your home at the holidays. Not as good as dropping by like the old days but at least I can visualize and imagine you guys there! :)

The paperchain countdown is so cute! The boys look so happy and excited - we can't wait either!

It's funny you posted about focusing more on the true meaning of Christmas... tonight when I was preparing fhe I was reading about that. There is so much to teach about Christmas - so many neat things that we do already and forget why. I'm excited to share it all with Gabe. Of course it's different with little ones - you can only talk so much before you lose them! :) but tonight we talked about the nativity and I told the basic story of Christ's birth. I talked about the symbolism of lights on the trees, the shepherds hook, star on top of the tree, etc to remind us of the night Christ was born. NExt week I'm going to do the story of the wise men and talk about how they gave gifts to baby Jesus and that's why we give gifts. the manual had a good idea about everyone writing down an idea of a gift they wanted to give to Christ during this holiday season then everyone put it in a box. The family wraps it/decorates it and leaves it out to remind them. Anyway, I don't have a ton of ideas but I was inspired tonight! :) I'll tell you more later. Love you sis!!

shawna said...

I love finding new ways to think about the real reason for the season. So I'll share some of my ideas with you..hope they are helpful.

I tried to display a few new pictures of Jesus along with all my holiday decorations(the multiple nativities are really nice too).
We always read the book "the last straw" and do weekly service to fill our own manager under the tree with a piece of straw for every service done --all to make the bed softer for Jesus. (the kids love chosing a drawing a sibling's name and doing secret service for them).
The Christmas devotional was also great to watch online and the first presidency has posted some new movies online about the nativity and the life of Christ to watch.
We also made a goal to do a secret service project every sunday evening as a family. Whether it is a plate of cookies and $20 dollars for a family in need in the neighborhood or a special gift for someone lonely.
One year my kids learned some fun Christmas songs and we performed them for a few lonely widows. The last sunday (christmas eve) we will save for a certain family that the kids all get to spend $5 dollars each on picking out a gift for a child that doesn't get much and then we will deliver it (possibly along with some food or other items we know the family needs) anonymously. Or one servive project planned this month is a missionary package.. The kids really look forward to this every year. There are so many service ideas that can be done without money too.
Some years we help the kids make gifts for each other because we talk about how making and giving.
This year I started a new tradition of having an activity for every day from the 1st until the 25th of December. It is our countdown to Christmas/ advent calendar. Sometimes it is just reading aloud a Christmas story or driving around to see lights other days it might be delivering cookies or attending a party. The kids are excited to pull out the next activity to see what they are going to do that day.

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