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Fighting Envy with Gratitude: Advent begins

November 30, 2012

I need back up. Fast.

Hard core proof that not every 9 year old has their own IPad and IPhone.

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings when bottled up emotions come pouring out and I am unexpectedly needed to reframe and revision and recast purpose for my ofttimes fragile daughter.

Convinced she can not be popular without electronics (she is one of those without a phone.. or any hand held device) she sobbed forth feelings of being different.

Cabbage Patch dolls. Converse sneakers. Bermuda shorts and Izod bags. I have been there. I remember.

But after our imaginary flights to an African soccer field, a Haitian Tent City, and the home of a nearby young woman who recently shared with me her story, we were put back together. Oh yeah, she realized… what she really wants is polymer clay. She wants to be crafty. She doesn’t even really want those devices.

Even though her heart wants acceptance.

The librarian and I commiserated at the crosswalk. This is a challenging age to parent, especially in this season. She promised to send home a book on kids stuff in a material world and we shared plans for advent. Ironically, it was my task for the day: my new advent calendar.

I have longed to create a tradition around advent that combined fun goodies for the kids, family time, focusing our hearts on the Christmas story, and giving to others. Year after year I have failed to make it happen. Last year, around this time, I purchased an adorable book , but it really is too young for my trio. They aren’t about to sit and do meaningful crafts with me anymore. I also own The Jesse Tree, another great book of devotions and ornaments, but something to weave INTO more variety and fun. I want to shop people! I am a sucker for candy canes, xmas pjs, and trinkets! Don’t get me wrong, we have real myrrh and frankincense from Turkey too… I just want to create a meaningful and fun build up… isn’t that the purpose of advent, build up?

Yesterday morning propelled me to action. One day left! Here is my plan: numbered presents and envelopes will appear under the tree on December 1st. Each day, one of the kids will open the numbered package for the day.

1. “A Christmas Story” movie with popcorn and hot chocolate
2. Make a Xmas ornament together
3. Candy Canes
4. Sort through your books, toys, and videos. Pack up to give away. Take to shelter.
5. Choose a Xmas song and make a video.
6. Candlelight Chinese Meal (they love these two things, so I combined them and wrapped up a chinese chopstick set someone gave us years ago and we’ve never used)
7. A new Christmas book… The Sparkle Box. This is SO good and perfect for what I want to convey!
8. Christmas tshirts
9. Make Blessing Bags (This is the BEST one of them all! I have been contemplating this for a long time… ziplock bags full of essentials to disperse to those living on the street that we pass)

blessing bags

10. Make Xmas cookies (wrapped up sprinkles). Go meet the new neighbors (really, we have some!)
11. Write and perform a xmas play
12. Go on a xmas light drive
13. Pick names for family gifts and go shopping
14. Gingerbread House kit
15. Make xmas cards for friends and family afar
16. Open a new family board game
17. Choose a gift from the World Vision catalog to give to someone else
18. Read the xmas story from the Bible
19. Make gingerbread candy cane cookies
20. Christmas movie (I think we’re finally ready for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)
21. Make cookies with these: red and green m&ms
22. Make candy cane place holders for xmas dinner (wrapped candy cane boxes)
23. Make pretzel candy treats
24. New pjs and a family board game
25. The sparkle box is under the tree, filled with the things we did for others this month.. our gift to Jesus

I can’t wait!

What are your advent traditions? And, any back up for the electronic frenzy?


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