Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All Aboard the Advent Train

My name is Natasha and I am a sucker for family traditions. (Hi, Natasha!)

I didn't grow up with very many set-in-stone traditions, but the ones that we did have are still sacred to me. I am trying to fit as many of those and as many new ones into Grasshopper's childhood as possible because, to me, tradition is the foundation that family is built upon.

To that end, I bought this advent calendar. It's not heirloom quality (heirloom quality is soooo not in the budget, this year) but it's just right for sparking imagination, and that's what I really wanted. That and a way to (hopefully) explain that, "No. Today is not Christmas. No, tomorrow is not Christmas. Why? Because it's not until December 25 and today is only December 1 and if I have to answer this question anymore this morning I will take down the Christmas tree and put it back in the attic until Christmas Eve so help me!" Ahem.

Also, I wanted a way to make the holiday season more about creating memories together than about the accumulation of more stuff (I'm looking at you, Toys-R-Us catalog). So I started brainstorming ideas for seasonal fun that we could have every single day between now and Christmas and printing those on little strips of paper that I tucked inside the calendar. Some were obvious like attending The Monkey Boy's family open house on the 12th, or seeing a special children's performance of The Nutcracker Ballet on the 17th. This morning we planted paperwhites in a pretty silver pot, and tomorrow JR and I will crank up some Brian Setzer Orchestra holiday music and have a dance party with Grasshopper after dinner.

I've scheduled in viewings of The Polar Express and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I'm hoping that we can make a trip to Callaway Gardens for their Fantasy in Lights and at least one Sunday morning will be spent making gingerbread waffles. Grasshopper is going to take some of his own money with him to the Dollar Store to choose a present or two for Daddy, and we're going to wrap them together. He's going to help me choose some items for Toys for Tots donation, and he is also going to go with me to donate foodstuffs to the local food bank.

I hope that the process of opening those little calendar doors each morning will lead to the opening of some much bigger thought-processes about what Christmas really means, and why the season is so magical.

At a minimum, I'll get to rock around the Christmas tree with two of the handsomest boys I know.

What about you? What are you most looking forward to this season? I've still got a few cubbyholes left to fill and I would love to add your ideas to the mix!


Angela said...

Great idea, Natasha. We always have a day where we make cookies for all of our neighbors. We also always attend the Christmas concert at the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. One of our very good friends in in the choir. I think this year's is on Dec. 13. Miss seeing you all!

Manic Mommy said...

We just (like an hour ago) introduced the Elf on the Shelf for the first time. We're going to The Polar Express, we watched Christmas movies and with cocoa and popcorn this weekend, and we always make Christmas cookies with our neighbors.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

What a nice tradition to share with your little one! We don't have any specific ones, but we bake lots of cookies and watch lots of Christmas movies. We do Christmas Eve at my Aunt's house and Christmas morning with my in-laws, Christmas day with my family. I love it!

lonek8 said...

I have no ideas to add to your calendar, but I may steal your idea for myself - I think it is great!

Stacey said...

We do Elf on the Shelf too! The girls love it. I also have managed to acquire eleventy hundred Christmas books so we have turned them into a sort of Christmas countdown--I wrap 24 books (nuts, right?) and starting on the 1st the girls unwrap a new one each night to read. The last book unwrapped is on Christmas Eve and is always "Twas the Night Before Christmas." It's nerdy fun.
Enjoy your newfound traditions Natasha. You are making great memories for Grasshopper! Happy Holidays!

Dyar Baby Momma said...

Such a great idea Natasha - inspiring! I need to do something along the lines - so glad I stopped by your site this morning!

Mama Goose said...

That little Advent Train is the cutest! We don't have any real traditions yet either - with the exception of going to the city tree lighting and going for a horse-sleigh ride! Tomorrow night! Yay!

Love your plans.

Karen Chatters said...

This is so awesome! I love these ideas. We're not there yet (baby girl is too young) but I hope I can be this creative in a couple of years.

Grasshopper is lucky to have such a creative mom!!

FollowMeDown30 said...

I love your Advent Train! Growing up we always set up the Manger and the wise men & Mary & Joseph traveled our mantel daily until Christmas and Baby Jesus would then join everyone in the manger.

This year we decided for our new family tradition we would make pancakes for dinner and then go look at lights. It was great!