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In our home, we do not do “Elf on the Shelf.” I had never even heard of it before we lived in PA. Now, it’s all over Pinterest and almost everyone we know does it to some degree or another. I, however, am not going to do it in our home. I just have a problem with using Christmas and whether or not Santa will bring you presents as a way to bribe our children into being good. And then the whole deal of having your Elf be “naughty” or “mischievous” and yet, your kids are supposed to act like angels or Santa won’t bring them gifts? Doesn’t that seem a little backwards?! Besides, it’s one month out of the year. You’d think for it to be effective, you’d use the Elf year-round because doesn’t Santa watch you the entire year, not just December? Yeah. I am so opposed to the Elf idea. I want my children to be good because Jesus wants them to be good – not because some creepy Elf is going to tattle on them to Santa. I want them to be good year-round, not just in December. And I want Christmas to be about giving to others – not being super good so they can get loaded up with gifts. So, the Elf is not welcome in our home. *End of Rant.*

The things we are doing are the following:

  • “You’ve Been Socked” : We took a 99 cent stocking and filled it with goodies.

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I found the note from this blog on Pinterest, printed it off, and stapled it to the stocking. Brian was to deliver it this morning. We’ll see how it goes!

  • We are doing Advent this year with the children. Now, I am not creative – mainly because I can’t afford to be creative! I simply can’t afford lots of art supplies and I don’t have the time to get all crafty. So, instead, what we’re doing is that every night, Brian reads the portion of Scripture for Advent and then E gets to put a small Christmas ball on the tree with a name of Jesus written on it. We bought a couple boxes of inexpensive Christmas balls and I wrote on them with a simple Sharpie. The balls are numbered and in a vase on our dining room table. This also serves as a countdown to Christmas since, obviously, there will be fewer and fewer until Christmas Day. At the end of this post, I’ll include our list of Scripture with the corresponding name of Jesus that I chose.
  • E and I are making a variety of Christmas cookies, this week and next, all to give away. This week, the cookies go to our church for their annual Living Christmas Village and next week, they will go to each missionary currently living here at the property. The idea is that she will learn to give things away – we don’t always keep everything we make.
I got real industrious this year and made Peruvian "alfajores" - a vanilla-type cookie with dulce de leche filling. Turned out amazing and were surprisingly easy to do!

I got real industrious this year and made Peruvian “alfajores” – a vanilla-type cookie with dulce de leche filling. Turned out amazing and were surprisingly easy to do!

  • Then, the week before Christmas, E and I will go through her toys, books, and clothes and fill up some boxes and bags with items to give away. We have been noticing that there quite a few toys the kids simply don’t ever use. We’d like to clear their rooms out before they get new items and hopefully, it will teach E a little more about generosity.

The idea is that we do something together each week – our “project of the week” – before Christmas. They are things that will normally take more than a day to accomplish and will help to teach her that Christmas is about giving and showing love to others. She loved making chocolate covered pretzels yesterday and we already whipped up a batch of sugar cookie dough this morning that will get rolled and cut out in another hour or so.

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Hopefully, some of these things will become traditions. It’s fun to think that in a few years, they will be things she asks to do and looks forward to doing! Every family needs to make their own traditions, I think, and we’re looking forward to beginning ours with our kids.

Here’s the Advent Verse List with corresponding Names of God:

  1. Dec. 1: 1 John 1:1-5, Alpha & Omega
  2. Dec. 2: Isaiah 9:2-7, The Word
  3. Dec. 3: Isaiah 11:1-10, Lion of Judah
  4. Dec. 4: Jeremiah 33:14-16, Ancient of Days
  5. Dec. 5: Luke 1:5-10, High Priest
  6. Dec. 6: Luke 1:11-17, Savior
  7. Dec. 7: Luke 1:18-25, Yahweh
  8. Dec. 8: Luke 1:26-38, Son of God
  9. Dec. 9: Matthew 1:18-21, Light of the World
  10. Dec. 10: Matthew 1:22-26, Wonderful Counselor
  11. Dec. 11: Luke 1:39-45, Great Physician
  12. Dec. 12: Luke 1:46-56, Mighty God
  13. Dec. 13: Luke 2:1-5, King of Kings
  14. Dec. 14: Luke 2:6-7, Everlasting Father
  15. Dec. 15: Luke 2:8-12, Messiah
  16. Dec. 16: Luke 2:13-14, Lord of Glory
  17. Dec. 17: Luke 2:15-18, Good Shepherd
  18. Dec. 18: Luke 2:19-20, Redeemer
  19. Dec. 19: Micah 5:2-5, Prince of Peace
  20. Dec. 20: Matthew 2:1-2, Jehovah
  21. Dec. 21: Matthew 2:3-6, Rock of Ages
  22. Dec. 22: Matthew 2:7-8, I Am
  23. Dec. 23: Matthew 2:9-12, Lamb of God
  24. Dec. 24: John 1:14, Immanuel
Hanging up one of the first Advent balls.

Hanging up one of the first Advent balls.

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