Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Christmas Preparations & Resources (Blogging Through the Alphabet - Letter C)

I always have grand plans for our Christmas preparations (Advent) each year and of course fail to follow through on half of the plans because we are (1) too busy with other Christmas preparations and fun, (2) behind in school and spend most of our available home time on core subjects, (3) disorganized and when there is time, I'm not ready, and (4) Amber isn't interested in what I planned.

This year I have a new plan which really boils down to keeping it simple and tackling the reasons listed above that cause my Christmas / Advent preparations to fall flat.

Our German Advent arch - sporadically used last year.
1. Too Busy with Other Christmas Preparations - I already do the majority of my shopping online, so I had to look for other places to simplify. We decided to attend fewer holiday performances and rest instead. It is not necessary to be busy every day and evening of December.

We also don't need pounds of Christmas cookies and treats, especially since Amber and I can't eat most of them. Instead of hours spent in gluten free baking, we will only make at home what's needed for us to have a few special items on the days surrounding Christmas then spend our other baking time with my mother at her house.

2. Behind in School - This is really a perception issue. Are we truly so far behind that we can't finish the school year? No, of course not. This means our religious studies will  take precedence over core subjects this December. There will be plenty of time to sneak in a few core subjects each week during our relaxed December school.

3. Disorganized and Unprepared - It's prior to Thanksgiving and I've got everything located and together this year already. Almost. The last of it is arriving from Amazon tomorrow. I just need to ensure it is all in place for use on November 30th. I have the added incentive of my gallbladder surgery on December 1st pushing me to be more organized this year.

4. Amber Isn't Interested - Every year one piece of my plans doesn't even remotely interest Amber, then I feel disheartened and drop the ball on half of the other items along the way. That is after we started late to begin with. This year I'm simply using only the successful products from previous years, plus a couple of fun new items. 

Journey to the Manger (last year)

 Our Christmas Preparation Resources This Year:

Christmas Around the World Coloring Book - Yes, I know Amber is nearing 14 years old. She still likes to color, and we can learn some cultural information too. It's  really just a fun activity for tired days.

Victorian German Advent Calendar - Both Amber and my co-op German classes are learning about German Christmas traditions this December. The traditional paper calendar is for Amber to use, but will be a prop in my German classes too.

We're also using our 14 year old wooden Advent calendar with hanging figures that tell the Christmas story. We've read those same daily passages since Amber was a baby and enjoy them still each year. It's a tradition.

Journey to the Manger Advent Calendar - This is the 2014 calendar from Focus on the Family that we downloaded for free last year. Amber loved using it, but we often forgot and I didn't even get it up on time to begin with. Instead of using the free downloadable 2015 calendar (Tales of Christmas Past), we decided to restart our calendar from last year. If you're interested Journey to the Manger, it is available already printed (for much less than I spent printing it) from Christianbook.com

Jesse Tree - This is our fourth consecutive attempt to finish a Jesse Tree. Again, we often forget the first few days and then need to play catch-up. This year I've even printed the daily devotions and stored them with the ornaments, instead trying to remember to load the document on an iPad and then find the iPad at devotion time. It's really the smallest reasons some days why we couldn't fit in our devotions. For your own Jesse Tree ornaments, check out this list of resources.
It's a tradition!
In years past, I would have also included a few devotionals from Lutheran Hour Ministries, plus the pertinent lessons from Amber's religion curriculum. Of course, there will still be music (The Nutcracker), and childhood Christmas books that must be read each year.

We are planning on a peaceful and meaningful time of Christmas preparation this year!

(If you have some other great resources, feel free to leave them in the comments. We won't be adding to our list this year, but others may be looking for just the right fit for their family.)


Please visit our Blogging Through the Alphabet hosts to read more interesting A to Z topics!
Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm & Meg @ Adventures with Jude 

Unexpected Homeschool: Middle School Reading List Addendum


  1. These are some really nice ideas - My 'preparations' could use some refreshing - I think I will borrow some of your ideas. Thanks for posting!

  2. I always want to do a Jesse tree, but we never seem to get that far. This reminds me I need to order new Advent candles. One year, I will be organized!

  3. LOVE your advent house! By any chance is the name of the company or manufacturer on the house? Would love to purchase one like it!

    1. That advent calendar / house is about 14 years old. I got it at Zondervan when they were still in a local mall. I doubt it's available still. Sorry.