This year I finally pulled out all the garland I have been storing for several years. I had no idea I had this incredibly long piece. It worked perfect in our main living room.
I always decorate our mantle. It's pretty much the only useful thing about our fireplace.
I always decorate around our big mirror, too. It's in our front living room. And, of course, we decorate the buffet; it's one of my only spaces to decorate. [I love nativity sets. We have six sets right now. I love having them all around the house. Unfortunately, I don't have many places to put them, so three were on our buffet this year. I never got around to finding places to put them. One was on our dining room table. I LOVE how the sets start great conversations. I think having a nativity set (especially one your kids can touch and play with) is very, very important if you want to emphasize Christ's birth at Christmas.]
In order to maintain some sanity, we put our tree in front of a window in our front living room this year. We keep that room gated off sometimes, so it was easier than trying to keep Jett away from the tree in our main living space.
I also have these cute snowmen my sister-in-law gave me nine years ago. I love them. You can see the presents from our "What God Wants for Christmas" set.
No picture of our outside lights this year. I kept forgetting to take one and Joel just took them all down today. The weather is gorgeous today, but it's turning overnight and will get cold. So, this was the perfect day to get everything done outside. So, that's how we prepared our home for Christmas in the physical sense.
To prepare spiritually, we counted down the days until Christmas. I have a neat book that talks about the history of Advent and why we count down the days. I like the reminder for myself and think that as the kids get older they will begin to understand the significance of the arrival of the long-awaited Savior more and more. I'm also hoping it will lead us to more conversations about His second coming, as well.
We forgot to light the Advent candles. We might have lit them once. Oops. But, we have a tiny little booklet that has daily readings. We would read it during dinner and catch up on any days we missed.
We also read Christmas books. Some talked about Jesus' birth from different perspectives (from an angel, from the animals, a traditional telling, etc). Some books were about generosity and giving. We read about St. Nicholas.
The other snapshots interspersed here are from the kids' school Christmas parties. Asa needed a serious haircut! Rylee's class was so "mature" in their celebrating....sipping cocoa while playing Christmas bingo when I first arrived. It was so grown-up compared with the wild kinder classes I had just visited.
We also hosted the Web Department party for GFA this year. Joel's Web Marketing Team is part of the bigger Web Department, so it was a full house. We enjoyed a taco bar, desserts, and a hot cocoa bar. Some friends we haven't seen in a while stayed late and we loved every minute of it!
So, that's a little more of our Christmas prep. I know it's