Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent 2011 - Preschool Edition

It's officially December 1st and we have officially kicked off the Christmas season at the Day household! Technically, Advent started this past Sunday but with two small kiddos at home, we aren't doing Advent in the traditional manner. Our focus is still the same. Focusing on Christ coming to earth as a babe to save us all and preparing our hearts for His glorious return to take us home. But we decided that with an almost 3 year old and an almost 3 month old, this "preschool edition" works better for our family right now. No candles, no fuss - just simple and tangible and something that we think Cayden will grasp. We are starting Advent tonight as a family and I'm really excited about it. Here's what we're planning to do.

We will gather in the living room around our Little People Nativity (which is Cayden's very favorite thing to play with right now and it makes my heart happy!) with only the lights from the Christmas tree on and talk about how Jesus came to earth as a baby to be the light of the world. That before He came, we were separated from God but because Jesus came, we are able to freely come before God and can spend eternity with him in Heaven. We will pray asking God to prepare our hearts for worship. I have typed up a simplified version of the Christmas story (verses from the Bible not a paraphrase) that we will read and use the Little People Nativity to act it out and talk it through with Cayden. We will start off slow and then build on the story each night. We will sing some Christmas songs. And that's it! That's our no fuss no frills Advent plan. I think it will work for us at this point in our lives but like anything, we will evaluate and reassess if it's not working. More than anything, we want Cayden to grasp the essential truths and meaning behind this Season so if it's not working for us, we will adjust!

Another thing I am implementing into our Christmas traditions this year is a countdown to Jesus' Birthday calendar. We don't focus on Santa in our house but we still want our children to experience the awe, wonder, and excitement of the Christmas season. This is just a fun thing to do as a family. I found online (I think it was on but I'm not exactly sure - I confess, I can be quite the blog stalker!) these "ornaments" that someone had made in photoshop. I printed them on card stock, cut them out, hole punched them, strung them, and Cayden and I hung them on his little Christmas tree in the playroom.

They are numbered 1-24 and each day in December he will pick one off the tree - he will pick one for the corresponding day of the month - and written on the back is something fun that we will do that day. They range from going places, helping mommy bake, or doing a craft. Some days are more complicated than others but I think it's a fun thing that our kids will look forward to each year!
Cayden was excited to pick an ornament off the tree this morning - it's one of the first things he said when he woke up. I have always loved Christmas time but I love it even more now that I have little kiddos. Seeing the excitement and experiencing the joy through their eyes is such a neat gift as a parent!


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