25 Days of Christmas: A Thoughtful Approach

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Mamas, it’s November 30, 2018. Do you know what that means?

It means that tomorrow, yes TOMORROW is December 1st which starts the season of Elf chaos, advent calendars, Christmas parties and endless days of baking.

Some of you over achievers (yes you whose Elf has already made a grand appearance!) may have already started but the week between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always a slow transition into the holiday for me and I enjoy these extra few days of preparation.

This past week I spent some time thinking about the days leading up to Christmas. One of my favorite traditions is our advent calendar which incorporates our December Bucket List activities, service for others, scripture reading, and a few special treats each day.

As I have told you before in regards to doing Bucket Lists with your family, these are not meant to be stressful and I don’t think the 25 days leading up to Christmas should be either. I think a more thoughtful approach is to make a plan, keep it simple and make sure you are enjoying the moments and not stressing about the perfection of it all. As a self proclaimed perfectionist attempting recovery all the time, I know this can be a challenge but I promise you by slowing down and focusing on the time together it trumps a perfect and overfilled calendar.

Does the idea of doing something everyday for the next 25 days stress you out? Then don’t. If the idea makes your holiday heart happy, then dance! If you can’t do an activity one day, relax, you can always do it on another day or skip it completely. The days leading up to Christmas should be fun and memorable, not crazy and stressful.

If you are looking for some ideas, I am going to share my calendar for next month but I encourage you to make your own that fits your family and your capacity at this moment in time.

One thing to note is that I don’t do Elf on the Shelf. It’s not because I don’t like it, I think its a really cute idea and enjoy seeing what you mamas are doing each day. But for me, this is one area where I decided to say no. I can only take on so much and this just isn’t something that I want to add to my calendar at this time.

When selecting things to do for the 25 days, I wanted to focus on serving others, sharing the celebration of Jesus’s birthday and making memories as a family so you will find the most of our activities are based on these categories.

Mamas, let’s make this holiday season magical not only for our kids but for us. Let’s say no to the things we know we can’t take on and yes to the things that really matter.

You can download a free print to jot down your own ideas HERE. I am a paper and pen type of girl and like to write it all down. You will see I have two lines, one for the activity and one for a gift. I use the term  “gift” lightly as its not always a treat or a gift. It is sometimes a scripture on a piece of paper or something we are doing that day. I use it to write down whatever I am putting in the stocking that day.

2018 Advent Calendar

1. Christmas Trees in the Boys Rooms

I purchased Connor one of these felt Christmas Trees this year. I think he will enjoy sticking the ornaments on. I thought this may be better than a small tree like Gabriel’s. His has mini ornaments that are so cute but that a toddler might break or try to eat. 

2. Recycle + Donate Toys

In my Christmas Traditions Box I include a large gift bag that you can fill and use to donate. If you haven’t purchased one of these, check out your local store for these extra large bags. They are cuter than trash bags and make filling them a little more fun and festive! 

3. Family Home Evening “Light the World” / Candlelight Dinner at Home

4. Gift for the Postman

5. Starbucks for a Stranger

6. Local Christmas Parade

7. Christmas Movie + Popcorn

8. Write Letters + Decorate with Christmas Stickers  (Family Members, Missionaries, Military)

9. Volunteer at Lovepacs

10. Family Home Evening “A Savior is Born”

11. Candy Cane Lane

“Candy Cane Lane” is where you take candy canes and put them all over your neighborhood. We place them in mailboxes, hand them to people as we walk by, or leave by the doorstep. We did something similar this summer with Sunshine Notes and it’s fun to spend the afternoon walking the neighborhood. I have a friend who does something similar with her boys except she does it at the kids school. They race to put candy canes on all of the teachers cars! This would be a fun activity too! You can download the postcard below HERE, attach a candy cane and be on your merry way! 

12. Make Homemade Christmas Cards

13. Afternoon Tea / Share Favorite Christmas Memories

Every Thursday I have ‘afternoon tea’ with the boys. Its a fun tradition that we started early in the year and I look forward to it every week. We almost always drink hot chocolate instead of tea but I still like to call it afternoon tea, it feels fancy or maybe reminds me of being abroad! After school we sit down with our drinks and a few cookies and talk about the day. I bought Connor a play tea set and he loves to pretend with us. So at tea this week, I am going to ask Gabriel about his favorite Christmas memories, write them down and share my own favorites. 

14. Photos with Santa

15. Birthday Party for Jesus

16. Surprise Service

I love to get my kids involved in service activities when I can. I am not sure what we have planned yet but I am keeping my eye open for something that we can do to serve another family. It may even be someone in our family, like visiting a grandparent or helping someone close to us.  

17. Family Home Evening “Why We Give Gifts for Christmas”

18. Snow Day

For “Snow Day” we have an indoor snow ball fight, make a snowman craft and eat snowman pancakes! Even though we live in Texas and don’t get much snow we like to pretend. 

19. Six Flags Holiday in the Park

20. Afternoon Tea / Letters to Santa

If you want a personalized letter from Santa and a cute template to write a letter to Santa, make sure to take a peek at my Letters to Santa in the shop! The envelopes are my favorite with a custom stamp with Santa’s address and I include Christmas pencils too!

21. Gingerbread House

22. Feed the Missionaries

We try to feed our local missionaries when we can but I always try to have them over during the month of December. I try to make it a special meal and also setup a hot chocolate bar. They always enjoy all the fun toppings! I also try to put some type of small gift together for them and have my kids help wrap it. 

23. Reindeer Food + Make Christmas Cookies for Santa

If you are looking for a way to bring some extra holiday magic this Christmas, make sure to check out my Personalized Christmas Eve Boxes! They include reindeer food and letters from Santa! 

24. Christmas Eve

25. Christmas Day

We also love to incorporate ideas from #lighttheworld. Instead of ways to serve, there is a focus this year on who to serve and I love the simplicity of this. You can download a free calendar HERE to see who you can serve this Christmas and easy ways to do so! Each week has a video that shares the theme of who to serve that week and these would be great to share with your family!

Week One: Light the World

Week Two: Light the Community

Week Three: Light your Family

Week Four: Light your Faith

Whether you boycott the 25 days of Christmas or soak in all the magic that can be made, I am wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Thoughtfully, Chelsey