Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest Post with One Artsy Mama

I'm so excited! Today Amy from One Artsy Mama is guest posting.  

Hi!  I'm Amy, aka One Artsy Mama, and I am so excited to be here today to share with you a few of our family's favorite holiday traditions.  There are three of us in the Artsy Family; I've been married to my best friend and dance partner for almost 10 years, and we have an adorable 3-year-old son who I call my "Little Crafter."
I've always loved the holiday season, and watching Little Crafter experience it now makes it that much more fun.  Hubby and I have really enjoyed deciding which traditions we wanted to continue from our own childhoods and what new traditions we wanted to start as a family.  Here's what we came up with to make the Advent season special for all three of us.

First, on Thanksgiving Day, after we've eaten our meals and spent time with family, we kick off the countdown to Christmas by making a red and green paper chain.

 On each link, we write the date and how many days remain until Christmas.  Then we staple the links together.  This is a tradition I brought with me into marriage; my parents and I used to make a chain each Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.  I have so many memories of sitting around the kitchen table creating it with them...each of us had our jobs.  One person would draw the lines and cut the paper, one would write, and one would staple until the chain was complete.  I always got to draw special decorations on the link for my birthday, December fact, I still do.  Shhhh!
Last year, Little Crafter just kind of watched the whole process, but this year he wanted to do everything.  He felt like a big man helping Daddy staple the links together!

 Once the chain is complete, each day, you tear off a link until on Christmas day the topper is the only thing left.  I always loved doing this as a kid because it gave me a real visual for how many more days were left until the holiday!  It's one of the earliest traditions I can remember doing, so it was so precious for me last year to teach it to my son and watch him look forward to tearing off a link each night just like I used to do.  The photo on the left was his first chain last year, and on the right you can see him hanging up this year's chain with Daddy.

In addition to the chain, we also do an Advent Activity each day.  Hubby did this as a kid, and I loved the idea.  We have this super-cute gift box advent calendar, and I put a slip of paper in each box with an activity written on it. 

Toward the end of November, hubby and I brainstorm fun ideas and put them in categories: things that will work on a weeknight, things that will have to be on a weekend, and things that will work on days when we have Bible Study or other evening commitments.  There are also some things that have specific dates.
Here are some of the things we like to include:

- bake Christmas cookies
- decorate Gingerbread men
- make a gumdrop wreath
- make a foam Gingerbread house {we have a cool kit}
- cut down and decorate the Christmas tree
- drive around the neighborhood and look at lights
- attend the local Festival of Wreaths
- watch A Charlie Brown Christmas 
- watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
- attend a live drive-thru nativity
- read the Christmas story from Little Crafter's Bible
- deliver cookies to firefighters, police officers, and others in the community
- visit local train garden
- kiss under the mistletoe
- sing Christmas carols while Mama plays the piano
- act out the Christmas story using Little People nativity
- watch "The Nativity Story"
- purchase a gift for someone on the Angel Tree

These are just some of the things on our's fun for all of us to do the activities each day, and it gives us some guaranteed family time focusing on the meaningful and exciting parts of the holiday.
How does your family celebrate?
Thanks for letting me share a little about some of our favorite traditions with you today.  I hope you'll stop by One Artsy Mama sometime; making new friends is the best part of blogging!  I'd love to have you join in our ongoing {Our} Home for the Holidays Link Party, and I also have a fun handmade ornament giveaway coming up on the 14th to celebrate my birthday! {I'm turning 29 for the third time!}

Have a blessed and joyous holiday season!

Thank you so much Amy, for guest posting. I am going to include some of these ideas into our families advent calendar.

I love Amy's blog. She's super talented and has tons of great ideas. I hope you'll all go and check out her blog.


  1. This age for Little Crafter makes Christmas so magical. I remember those days fondly!!

  2. Loved this post, I have never seen the chain idea before. We do advent activities too but I can see I have some new ideas from your list.

  3. Hi, Rachel. When I was teaching, one thing my 8th graders (yes, 8th graders :)), loved was making a chain like this for our classroom countdown to Christmas break. I love Amy's blog, too. Good choice for a guest writer! I'm your newest follower. Thanks to One Art Mama :).