This year, I chose “intentional” for my word. If I am honest, I did not do well with that until the last month of the year. For a variety of reasons, I felt very convicted to focus on intentional time with that kiddos this Advent season. It’s so easy to be busy and tired and just trying to get through the daily tasks and miss the opportunity to have intentional time together.
So, on December 1, we set out to make the season of Advent one of intention and time and projects. As someone who is not at all crafty or creative, I was a little nervous that I might hate this…but as it turns out, I loved every minute.
Here are the activities we did together as we counted down the days to Christmas and focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas Day.
Day 1: Setting up my Gran’s nativity.
Day 2: Build a gingerbread house ($10 at the grocery store).
Day 3: Making Christmas cards for their friends.
Day 4: Making Santa ornaments (felt ornaments on 50% off at Hob Lob for a cost of $1.49)
Day 5: Painting ceramic reindeer (50% off at Hob Lob for $1.99)
Day 6: Making homemade wrapping paper (Craft paper roll cost $5)
Day 7: Driving around our small town in our pjs, drinking hot cocoa, looking at Christmas lights.
Day 8: Sugar cookie baking, decorating, and delivering.
Day 9: Stamping Christmas card envelopes. (Stamps $.50 and stamp pad $2)
Day 10: Painting Ceramic Christmas tree ornaments ($1.99)
Day 11: Painting pine cones from the back yard.
Day 12 – 14: We were on vacation at a cattle show…does painting a heifer count?
Day 15: Painting thank you notes to send for Christmas gifts. (Blank cards 5.99 with 40% off coupon)
Day 16: painting the solar system. This was a kid request that I went along with…I mean, God sis make the planets, right? Good enough.
Day 17: Making my Gran’s traditional tiger butter candy. (Click here for recipe)
Day 18: Making Hanukkah cards for our Jewish friends.
Day 19: Making homemade mini loaves of pumpkins bread and zucchini-banana-chocolate chip bread for our teachers.
Day 20: Playing in the Christmas gift bouncy house from Aunt Elaine and Crazy Larry.
Day 21: Tour of Christmas lights in Amarillo with stop for hot cocoa (and limoncello for Mama!) at our friends’ Andy and Shane.
Day 22: Taste testing cookies for Santa.
Day 23: Making footprint reindeer.
Day 24: Candlelit church service, prepping for Santa, and reading our favorite Christmas books.
As usual, I probably learned more from them than they did from me. Here were my takeaways.
1. Let go of perfection. Let them mix paint colors. It does not matter if the sprinkles are poorly distributed. It’s the memories, not the perfection, that matters.
2. This does not have to be expensive. As you see above, I gave you an idea of what I spent for each activity. We were under $50 total.
3. Don’t let them paint in their school clothes. Learned that the hard way on Day 3. Note after that we had a lot of photos of painting in our undies.
4. The pilgrimage was blessed. I heard Kevin Queen say this on Annie F. Downs’ podcast. “God will bless the pilgrimage.” It does not have to be perfect. We do not have to be reading chapters of the Bible and having theological debates or hanging perfectly curated works of art. If we have a desire to focus on God and we take action in light of that, He will bless the pilgrimage, however paint smudged it may be.