Christmas is almost here. Eeek! I love the whole month of December. I love the cookies, the decorations, the lights, the gifts, the gift-buying, the cookies, and the cookies (did I mention cookies?). We go big for Christmas and we go big because we are celebrating our Savior being born. Over the past ten years of mothering, I have decided what is important for us and we do those things big. Honestly, we give lots of gifts because Christmas means a the greatest gift has come to this world. Our electricity bill is big in December because the Light of the world came to this Earth for you and me. We do a little Santa because it is impossible not to in America, but he is not a huge part of our Christmas season. The biggest part of our Christmas season is Jesus and His story. We make Him the biggest part of our story by giving in many different ways, participating in Christmas services at church, having many different nativity scenes around our house for our kids to play with or look at, and reading the Christmas story and other advent guides.
Here are some of the things I have read and would recommend…
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp- This book provides a daily devotional to set you mind on the great love Jesus had to come to this Earth. It, also, provides a place to journal on each day. I think Ann Voskamp is at her best when describing Jesus’ love for us and she really nailed it in this book.
All Good Things Collective Advent Guide: Do Less, Make it Mean More– This little precious company has created a beautiful advent guide, little action cards, and beautiful printables to help us create an intentional Christmas season. I used their cards last year and enjoyed doing it. This year, I have the advent guide and action cards. I have already taken a peek at it and am looking forward to working through each day. I bought the action cards for a family, but there is, also, one geared towards just woman. Insider hint: They are going to have sales on Black Friday.
Do you have children and want the Christmas story to seep deep into their souls? Here are a few things we have done, read, or watched…
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp- This book helps raise our children’s biblical literacy. Ann Voskamp connects how the Old Testament points to the birth of Jesus. I had been looking for a great book to help my children understand the importance of Jesus coming to this Earth. This book does such a great job. The way I know it does a good job is that my children remind me everyday to read this book.
This book walks us through the story of how the Old Testament points to the coming of Jesus. Each day for 24 days, we read and discuss Old Testament stories. The daily devotions can be too long for my kids, so I pick a little bit out for each day. Each day has a corresponding ornament that you print out and your children can color. Over the course of the month, we decorate a tree (that is called the Jesse tree in Christian circles). I would recommend this book and its activities to any child over the age of five. Each year I add more details from what Ann writes. My oldest will be ten this December and I feel like he will get much more out of this year than any year before.
Advent Storybook by Antonie Schneider
This little book is one of the most precious little books my mom found a few years ago. It is the story of a little bear on a journey. Over the course of 24 days, we realize that this little bear is, unknowingly, making its way to see the birth of Jesus. The story is so rich, the illustrations are so beautiful, and my children have loved hearing this story for four or five years now. Each day only takes about 5 minutes and over the course of the month, we learn more about the heart of God. I think we started reading it when my oldest was five, but my two youngest ones started hearing the story when they were about three and love it, too. It is just beautiful and one of those rare finds.