The liturgical season of Advent begins on Sunday, December 3. Will your family observe this time of preparation? Time to plan Advent observances!
For many families, the holidays present a challenge of values. How do you focus on the season's meaning when the celebration provides so many distractions?
Too often, the excitement seems to boil down to a round of gifts and goodies, with little thought to the deeper values underlying the fun.
One way to keep the reason in the season: Advent observances. Whether it's a customs like an Advent wreath, daily Scripture readings, or attendance at worship, plan Advent activities now. Entered in your calendar, they'll help your family keep the focus while enjoying the celebration.
December blows in with a flurry of holiday invitations. If you're a parent of young children, don't miss out: arrange for child care early. Babysitters' schedules fill up early, too, so book your favorite caregivers soon.
Alternatives to traditional in-home babysitting include swapping child care with another family, or encouraging neighborhood sitters to host "sleep-over"parties for children from several families.
Look into holiday sleepovers, too: many churches, dance studios and youth organiziations host holiday weekend events designed to entertain children and give Mom and Dad an evening out.
Focus holiday traditions around reading, and make memories for a lifetime with the picture book advent calendar tradition!
To establish this cherished holiday tradition, scour the house (and neighborhood yard sales!) to find children's Christmas storybooks; you'll need 24 books to set up your picture book advent calendar. A sustainable, frugal alternative? Reserve 24 books from the local library!
Wrap the books in gift wrap, then stack in a large basket or decorated box.
Beginning on December 1, have children unwrap and read one book each night through Christmas Eve.
The quiet time calms frazzled children, and parents and grandparents enjoy listening to uplifting holiday tales during the season.
Cleaning out the refrigerator is a great time to track actual consumption. Food items that are thrown away signal that you're overbuying at the supermarket. Scale back--or cut out--these items on your next shopping trip ... and save.