Subtitle: How This Homeschooler Does Christmas
The short answer -- it's never the same way twice. Inasmuch as I believe in constantly tweaking the educational process, I believe in doing the same to the Christmas season.
1. Advent at home. We have done simple crafts after lighting the candles, read the scriptures for the week and attempted discussion while the kids did a coloring page, completely gave up on the advent wreath altogether one year and this year we are embarking on telling the whole story of Jesus in the Bible through the Jesse Tree.
2. Worship. This is a consistent part of our season, but I love that it's never the same from year to year. Even the time of the Christmas Eve service changes up -- though the kids and I love the midnight time the best.
3. Parties. Some years there have been more than I could handle. Some years there was only one. This year it's just two and they are on the same day. I have to find some white elephant gifts...
4. Presents. We have always just bought the kids three gifts. (There's the stockings too but that tends to be a cumulative effort with at least one set of grandparents.) This year's different in that we're trying to make a few more. Tomorrow I'm hosting "Make Something Day" for the first time and I hope my creative friends inspire me to make some cool things.
4. Service. We've distributed toys with the Salvation Army for about five years now in different locations using several different methods. This year I think we'll be doing some bell-ringing! We do it on a school day and it COUNTS.
5. Schedule. I have had years where I plowed ahead in school with the kids M-F all the way up until Christmas. Some years were not so heavy with school, but were peppered with other activities. This year we're taking off Fridays from Thanksgiving until after New Year's.
6. Celebration. Sometimes it's at our house. Sometimes it's at my parents. Sometimes Chip's mother comes up. Sometimes we hand out hoodies to homeless. Sometimes we eat Rosemary Pork Roast. Sometimes we eat Mema's Ham. Sometimes we have extra guests over. You get the idea.
I know there are families who thrive on tradition. As comforting as that sounds, it's not the way we do things. I simply find too much freedom in flexibility. If something's not working for the family or if the message is getting skewed we can switch things up and not feel like God is some small-minded bookkeeper who is only pleased if his birthday comes off in a certain pattern. He didn't even tell us to celebrate it in the first place. Which is an interesting idea all on it's own.
What are you switching up this year?