The Inspired Room is gathering ways we keep the meaning of the season for our children. We have a couple of traditions to try to center them to preparing for the big day- Jesus' birthday!
We always have an advent book and try to observe advent traditions of lighting the advent wreath candle and reading verses. I have one book that helps the kids to see the process using a mini nativity set. You start off with them way across the room. Jesus is kept hidden/packed, because he is not yet born. Each night the kids move them a little closer. Somewhere else in the room you have the shephards and they move closer. Mary and Joseph finally arrive Christmas Eve and after the kids go to bed you put out the baby Jesus for his birthday on Christmas morning. I will have to find the book to see what the title is.
We have also read through three Advent story books that are awesome. They are Jotham's Journey, Bartholomew's Passage, and Tabatha's Travels. They are all by Arnold Ytreeide. We read through one each year. In Jotham's Journeys he meets Bartholomew and Tabatha but the story is all from Jotham's perspective. Then, when you read Tabitha's Travels she meets the boys but it is her story. They all intertwine but can stand alone and can be read in any order. You read a chapter a night and each chapter ends with a cliff hanger. They then have questions and a prayer and devotional.
We used to have a cheesecake or dessert and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. This is dying as the kids age.
Now, for our really geeky, did it once and the kids loved it and begged each year for it idea....
We hide a piece of candy for the kids along with baby Jesus (that is not with his mom and dad traveling the room. ) We turn off all the lights. The kids take turns each night. My husband takes a flashlight and shines it around the room (It is the shining star!) They chase it and he has them running around and falling and tripping to stay with the star. It will finally land where the candy is hidden and they get their treat. They really look forward to this.
I get out our Christmas china after Thanksgiving. We eat every supper meal off of the china using my red goblets. I had two year olds using expensive goblets. People wondered about them breaking them and you know what? Half have been broken, but the joy they get using them is worth it. I now buy every red goblet I can find at garage sales and have an eclectic collection. We light candles and eat candlelight every night. If we buy Burger King we put it on the plates and light the candles. They LOVE having candlelight. They LOVE using the china. It seems to allow us at least 30 minutes during all the hectic activities to slow down and relax a minute. My MIL gave me a set of the 12 Reindeer plates that may be Pottery Barn. She got them as a gift and didn't want them. I am so happy to get them out for the first time this year!
I have a friend that has a red tablecloth. Each year she gets a handprint of her kids with paint and they sign their name and the year. It is adorable.