I set them. I get frustrated when I cannot attain them.
I try to live by grace. I work hard to extend it to others and I try valiantly to give it to myself.
Last year I had lofty plans. (This will get you to all our posts about Christmas in years past.) I made a list and we were going to do so many fun activities. I wrapped Christmas books and we opened them. We did our very best to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. It was great! I declared it "the best Christmas yet"!
This year, I started a list. Then, I stopped.
My list included things like: drive around and look at lights, visit a live nativity, attend staff Christmas party, participate in school performances, pick gifts from the GFA Christmas catalog, shop for family gifts, make grandparent gifts, etc. I thought we could do an activity every day. I thought of several ways we could 'reveal' the day's activity.
Then, reality hit me.
Nothing really happened, per se. I just realized I didn't want to even have a list. We're still doing pretty much all those things on the list. But, I don't have a list anymore. For me, a list means you have stuff to do. I don't want to feel like we have to do those things. And, I couldn't figure out the best way to reveal each activity. Plus, some activities take more than one day.
Instead, I have had sick children. I have been tired. Instead, I have just aimed at having better conversations with my kids and taking each day as it comes.
Instead of wrapping the Christmas books this year, I just have them set out. The kids have had a blast looking through them and reading the stories. (Rylee can read--yahoo!)
I ditched ALL craft projects. Last year sealed the deal for me: Megan + crafts = not a good idea. If it involves cooking or food, we can handle it. In fact, that's on tap for today.
Our Advent readings have been a little scattered. I'd say we average reading 4 nights each week. We use a little book I grabbed at Mardel's last year. It's super duper short. One night the kids drew pictures of angels, but most nights we just talk after we read.
We have continued our discussions about Santa. We have really stressed that it's not so much that "Santa isn't real" (which is what immediately comes out of their mouth) but Santa is like any other make-believe character (Dora, Spiderman, Disney princesses, the American Girls). We emphasize, however, that Santa is based on a real person, St. Nicholas, who loved Jesus very much. We talk about the spirit of giving and why it's a big piece of celebrating Christmas.
Thus far, I think we're all enjoying our Advent season, except the sick part (Asa has had an ear infection and Rylee has strep throat). We keep talking about waiting for Jesus. We talk about hope, peace, joy, and love.
I think our home is pretty full of those things.