As promised from my last post, a few more ideas to share for making your holidays more relaxing and fulfilling this year. Why so early? I’m hoping to get a jump on things this year, so my head and my heart are in the right place when the cold ushers December in. A Sharing Beauty holiday post if you will. Inspiration for a couple of special things you can do now and enjoy later.
First up, some Advent Inspiration – A modern take on this symbolic tradition of preparing Him room.
Many of these designs were not intended to serve as Advent wreaths, but could easily be altered. Most can be assembled with pieces you already have, just envisioned in a new way, and set aside for this purpose. When Advent rolls around, just pull them out and trim (or buy) a couple of evergreen branches to fill out your design. If you prefer the colored candles, you can order them now for about $5.00.
The main components of what I’m going to call an Advent installation (since there is no actual wreath here): container, evergreen, 4 candles and any additional decorations you desire. The evergreen serves as the base of the installation to represent God as the foundation of all good. The 4 candles symbolize hope, love, joy and peace. These are often purple, purple, pink and purple respectively. If you use a circular container (or actual wreath) the circle symbolizes the eternity of God with no beginning or end. The flame from the lit candles represents the light of Christ to mankind. There are many beautiful Advent prayers to use as you light each week’s candle, as well.
I included 2 Advent calendar ideas, too. I love the idea of filling each little box with a verse or suggested family activity. The calendar below with the tiny matchboxes hanging from the branch includes the name of an individual to send a kind note to each day with postcards below. And a repurposed chalkboard is the ultimate blank slate for an Advent calendar – love this. Easily adaptable year after year.
Another idea I fell in love with was wrapping up a book for each day in December and letting your kids unwrap one each day until Christmas. Then, read it together as a family. I scavenged my house last month for all the winter / Christmas books we already had and came up with 10. I found a couple at the flea market and I plan on borrowing the remaining ones I need from the library. If you like, mark the special ones you want to read in the final days leading up to Christmas. One more thing you can do now and not worry about later. My stack so far.
You don’t need an official book club to share beautiful books with your friends. Although, my entire adult life I’ve been dreaming of a cozy living room filled with girlfriends, laughter and wine under the official title of “book club.” Chat with your friends who love to read and decide on a book to read together this Christmas. A couple of my girlfriends and I are going to read Ann Vokamp’s book The Greatest Gift together this December and chat about it throughout the month. Maybe send an encouraging email or text that day if something particularly moved you. Ann’s book is an Advent devotional and broken down into small sections by day, so it is easy to stay on track.
If a devotional is not your style, here are a couple of other book suggestions. The reviews peaked my interest and look promising. Corral your girls now and find a fun book. Then when Advent comes, your book will be one more thing done, ready and waiting for you. P.S. if you want to read The Greatest Gift with us, I’m sure we’ll be chatting about it come December and would love your input. If you have other book suggestions to add, please leave them in a comment below. I’m sure there are lots of amazing ones out there.
This idea comes from my friend Sarah. It is not something you can do ahead of time, but it is too good not to share. Bake a cake for either Christmas Eve or Christmas morning and blow out the candles for Christ’s birthday to help the kids understand why we celebrate Christmas. Then, have one of the children place baby Jesus in the crib and sing “Happy Birthday.”
Ornaments to try this year. Either for your tree or as gifts?
Finally, some beautiful things to do with old Christmas cards ~ Buy some rings and find an old book at a second-hand store. Make books out of each year’s Christmas cards you can’t part with. Then stick each year’s card book in a basket to flip through each Christmas. This would be especially fun with all the family photo cards that are so popular now. Or, maybe just make a book with the Christmas cards you send out each year and watch your family grow.
Thanks for checking out part 2. I hope some of these ideas help get your creative juices flowing.
If you have more ideas, please share in the comments below. The traditions evolving from one generation to another and blending from one family to another only further the joy found in Christmas.