I noticed that some of my best blogger friends have already started playing Christmas music and have their decorations up. We are always a little slow to get going on that...maybe it's that we don't have the impetus of American Thanksgiving to trigger the start of the holidays, maybe we're just a little lazy or want to hold off on getting all the Squirrelings (and Mama Squirrel and Mr. Fixit) hyper with anticipation too soon. (One of those habits you get into when the children are small: short build-ups to things.)
Anyway, for whatever reason I have not baked one batch of Christmas anything yet, and we haven't opened any of the decoration boxes. Maybe tomorrow.
But these are some things we've done so far:
1. Gotten the Advent wreath out and done family time almost every night this week. We're following a booklet called "Prayers and Promises: Activities for Advent." So far we've read about God's promises to Adam and Eve and Noah; over the weekend we'll be reading about Abraham and Sarah.
2. We had a pizza party last weekend with Grandpa Squirrel to celebrate the beginning of Advent and the younger Squirrelings' dance recital. Mama Squirrel made an unusually indulgent chocolate cake with chocolate-marshallow icing for dessert, and we used as many blue dishes and napkins as we could find. (Blue's the colour of hope and a symbol of Advent.)
3. We have a homemade Advent calendar on the kitchen wall, made from a piece of red poster board. Each day has an index card with a decoration on it (cut from a several-years-old Victorian wall calendar) and a number, and each day one of the Squirrelings turns the right card around. On the back is just a word that corresponds to that night's reading, like "Garden" or "Ark" or "Rainbow." And whoever turns the card around gets to draw a picture to decorate the card, and shows it to everyone that evening. Then it goes back in its spot on the poster board, drawing side out.
4. Our box of Christmas books has been opened and the best ones are in a basket beside the fireplace. (It's electric and we don't mind; it's easy to use and nobody has to clean out the ashes.) Crayons has already hornswoggled two of us into reading her the entire book of Oliver and Amanda's Christmas. Ponytails is reading Snowbound with Betsy to herself. (Addition: Crayons asked me to read This is the Star to her tonight, a new book for her; and she was very pleased that she could read the first page all by herself, "This is the star in the sky.")
5. Mama Squirrel mixed up some imitation sweetened condensed milk today, in anticipation of good things to come. Recipes will follow when I get the time!
Hoping that all your Advent seasons begin as sweetly.