Thursday, December 1, 2011

our advent

I read the Happiness Project last month and I loved something she brought to my attention.  Enjoy the process...enjoy the preparation and anticipation of events---they are often more fun than the event itself. Isn't that true!!!  The days leading up to Christmas are so much more exciting for me than the actual day.  The traditions we have bring so much joy in the holiday!

I decided to combine two traditions into one...and I can hardly contain my excitement.  We have had numerous advent calendars- the chocolate window advent, a felt Santa with numbered pockets, last year we tried this (so cute...right!?).  I wanted something new this year.  Nothing has seemed like the perfect fit.  I scoured Pintrest: see here.  I loved so much of what I saw but I couldn't decide on anything.

Then I thought about our Christmas book basket.  Many years ago, when Ellie was a baby, my friend Liza came up with beautiful baskets we would line for Christmas books.  We were going to make them at a Relief Society activity.  If that wasn't great enough she wrote a poem to go with them.  

Come children, come folks, come grandparents, too,

And hear of a tradition that I'll share with you.
Each year when the snow first begins to fall-
Up from the basement this basket you'll haul.

Grab some hot cocoa and cookies with sprinkles,
By the light of the fire or Christmas tree twinkles,
Snuggle up with the family, babe on mom's lap
And share a Christmas story before your long winter's nap.

There are stories of reindeer and noses that glow
Of a grinch watching Whoville celebrate down below.
There's a train and a boy who hears Santa's bells
And of course, there is Scrooge with his tale to tell.

But the best Christmas story is saved for the last 
And we think of it often when the holidays are past.
Tell the story of the Christ child and the first Christmas Eve,
Of the Babe in the manger who taught us to believe.
by Liza Richards

We have had a Christmas Book "basket" since then.  I still have the tag she printed with the poem tied to my basket.  (I gave the lined baskets away as gifts and I have kept this metal "basket" and have been too lazy to line it.)  I love bringing it up from the basement each Christmas.  I love that our books are tucked away all year and the girls have a pile of books that feel new and intriguing for the holidays---even though many of them I have had since they have been born.    I decided to choose 25 of our favorite Christmas books to wrap and number.  (The rest are hiding under my bed.)  We will open a new one each night to count down for Christmas!    The girls are SO excited to see what is behind the simple brown paper.  (Sophie woke up asking about it this morning.)  Some of them will have activities with them too.  Here is my book list for this year...shhhh, don't tell the girls:

this is my very favorite Christmas book--I LOVE the way it turns my thoughts toward the true reason for Christmas
plan what they will give each other this night
7.  Sally's Christmas Miracle (Peanuts)
We will try to watch the movie that week
bring out their stocking bells
secretly deliver a box of oranges to someone's front steps
this isn't the one I have but I wish I did- love the illustrations
why do so many of our books have mice in them?
this isn't a Christmas story...but it is beautiful.  my girls have never read it.  they are going to make their own paper crowns this night.
22.  The First Night
make cookies this night and deliver it to neighbors

What are your favorite Christmas books?  What is your favorite advent calendar!?


Tebbs Family said...

I LOVE your idea! I have done the same with Christmas books until a couple of years ago when everyone was just too old for the "children's" stories. I bought The Mansion last year after hearing Pres. Monson say it was one he reads every Christmas and I am going to read it with the family on one of these FHE in Dec. (My kids still enjoy the chocolate advent calendars :)

gillar girl said...

oh my goodness, i love this advent idea so much!! i think i will use it next year. and i loved the happiness project too. so many great little bits of wisdom.

Cristi said...

oh too cute! love this idea~