Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas hodgepodge - advent, books, and handicrafts

I thought I would share some of the things we are doing during this Christmas season.

Morning Time

Our morning time in December is centered around Christmas.  I keep it simple and only do 3 things.  First, we read a Christmas-themed poem. You can find some here and here.  I also have a book called Favorite Poems Old and New, from which I sometimes read.

Next, we sing a Christmas hymn.  Right now we're learning "Away in a Manger."  We either listen to it on youtube or just sing it ourselves.  We'll focus on this song for two weeks, then learn another one.  I haven't decided on the other one yet!

Last, we read a Bible story.  We've deviated from our normal plans and are focusing on advent readings.  We began with creation on December 1st and we'll read a story everyday, leading up to Christ's birth on Christmas.  I found a free advent reading guide from using The Jesus Storybook Bible, which we own.  (Although, you don't have to have this storybook Bible to follow this guide because it includes the passages from the Bible.)  The girls LOVE this storybook Bible.  I like it too, for the most part.  I'm not the biggest fan of the illustrations (I would prefer them to be more life-like, not cartoonish), and I sometimes have to edit what is written (for example, why couldn't the author write that God said, "Let there be light," instead of "Hello, light!").  But I do like how each story points to Christ.

The reading guide comes with lovely paper ornaments, which I printed off.  Each day, after we read the story, one of the girls will put the ornament on a little tree that we have in our extra living room.  (I actually put the ornament in an envelope and hide it somewhere in our real Christmas tree, and after we read the day's story one of the girls has to find the envelope - they think this is so fun).

That's it for morning time.

Christmas books

Another thing we are doing for the season is reading a Christmas story each night before bed.  I checked out a bunch of good Christmas picture books from our library and, along with some books we own, I wrapped them up.  Each night one of the girls picks a book and unwraps it, then we read it.  This is the first year we've done this and they are loving it.

So far we've read Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo, The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Some others in our stack are (off the top of my head, so I most likely won't include them all) The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck, Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant, I'll Be Home for Christmas (Toot and Puddle) by Holly Hobbie, A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz, The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden, and Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

For our composer study, we're listening to The Nutracker by Tchaikovsky, and to go along with that we're reading The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman.  We're reading this at lunch time (my normal read-aloud time), every other day (the other days we're continuing with our current read-aloud, Mr. Popper's Penguins).

I've had this copy for a couple of years - I found it at a used bookstore for 2 bucks I think.  It's been sitting in my closet, just waiting until the girls were old enough to read it!  We're really enjoying it so far.

The illustrations are lovely.

We're still doing hand-stitching for our handicraft and we're stitching Christmas cards.

We are obviously not done with those :)

This isn't a handicraft, just a craft, but the girls also made a paper chain to count down the days until Christmas.  I remember doing this when I was growing up!  

(In case you're curious, the girls rotate days to *do* everything - hang the advent ornament, choose a book to unwrap, and tear the chain link.)

And now a couple of random pics.

She's such a happy baby!

Sweet sisters :)

That's it for now!  What are some things you're doing for Christmas?


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun! :) We are reading an Advent reading each day in The Jesse Tree book. We are enjoying a couple of read alouds too, our favorite being The Christmas Stove. We have our picture books out, but for the most part they are looking at these on their own...I hope to read a few to the younger ones or have my oldest do it. :) We will take one day to make and decorate a gingerbread train. We are also reading through Luke sections, reading Christmas poems from New & Old or Take Joy, and singing Christmas carols as well. :) On Sunday family night we will get our tree and decorate together. :)

    1. I actually purchased The Jesse Tree, but it came in late. I've been wondering how to incorporate it, but with all of the other books, we may just wait till next year.

      A gingerbread train - how cool! I would love to see pics on your blog :) We'll decorate gingerbread houses at some point; we do those every year.

      Have a lovely Christmas, Amy!

  2. Pretty good. Girls are having a good time and enjoying the new traditions.