Out of necessity, we are not buying the kids gifts this year from JB and me. For those of you that are worried, they will still be receiving gifts from Santa as I am sure other relatives since they have asked for ideas. The Santa gifts have either been donated to us or recycled from an older sibling.
Anyways, out of this necessity, came the want for me to make sure my children had a better understanding of the true meaning of Christmas, it wasn't all about that presents but about family and making use of what you have got. I knew that I had a storage tub full of Christmas themed books so I started planning about an week early.
I drug out all of the books and divided them up into 24 days. Some days may have secular books, some days more spiritual books and some days both. Then I wrapped up each days books in Christmas paper and wrote its corresponding number on the front of the package. Starting with December 1st, each child will take turns opening that day's book(s) so we can share some time reading together. Chubbles will have the honor of opening the first one and we will go "up" from there.
I also sat down with a blank December calendar and planned a Christmas activity for each of the 24 days. Some days are scheduled with a parade and some with light displays. One day we are walking through a live Bethlehem experience and another day we are driving through a different live display. Other days will be filled with coop parties, crafts, movies, baking and caroling. Except for a few craft and baking supplies, all the activities are free.
I sat the kids down on the first day and explained to them that daddy works very hard to provide for his family and it is important that our bills are paid. God is providing for those bills but there would not be extra left for us to buy gifts. I also reminded them that even though they may be disappointed, they need to remember that there are many boys and girls that don't have simple things like a roof over their head or clean drinking water. I went onto explain what we were going to do instead and the reception was surprisingly pleasant. I think they are as excited as I am for this year's holiday season.
December 1st we read this book:
I purchased this book years ago when we only had Legs and I was a Discovery Toys representative. It came with Peef the Bear and has been a treasured book. I had secretly pulled Peef out and stuck him next to me on the couch while I was reading. Then at the end of the story, Peef showed himself amidst grins and giggles. Chubbles has especially taken to Peef and insisted on sleeping with him tonight.
December 1st activity was writing letters to Santa. Legs knows of course who Santa really is but she plays along well so the other three can still believe. They are still working on their writing skills so to make it easier for them, I let them look through Target and Toys R Us sale flyers and make their list from pictures they had cut out. They loved dreaming big and then cutting and gluing the pictures onto their Santa paper. You will see Chubbles only had 2 pages for her letter but Lil Man had seven or eight. I might need to do a separate lesson on greediness. :-)
I plan on posting each days' book(s) and activity as we finish them so check back every day or every other day to see what we did.