December has arrived, and it's time for us to count down to Christmas! While there are many countdowns for sale - ranging from stickers on dates all the way to fancy ones where there is a little gift given each day - we prefer to make our own calendar.
I suppose the inspiration came from when I was a kid - we always had a face of Santa and we would put a cotton ball on Santa's beard. Today Santa is everywhere, and I wanted our kids to be able to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. So, I made a calendar featuring the shepherds. At the beginning, we put on stars in the sky, and then later we put on cotton balls, which then become sheep for the shepherds. On Christmas Eve, an angel is added at the top, as a reminder that the angel came to the shepherds and told them that Jesus was born.
If you look at the photo, it looks confusing. That's because I added all three kids to the picture. I could have made 3 individual calendars, but I liked the idea of one big picture. I like seeing all the stars and sheep. I could have made one calendar with one set of numbers, but my kids would have to take turns putting on a star or a sheep. They enjoy putting on a star or a cotton ball for a sheep - it's easier to make sure that everyone has a chance! Later I will put on a picture when we have sheep on it, and then one on Christmas Eve when everything is complete.
We actually have this on our refrigerator. It's easily seen and helps us on our countdown. We don't have many decorations in our kitchen, and so this becomes our decoration there and helps to remind us multiple times throughout the day the reason for the season. I also like that it's hand made - it brings simplicity to a holiday that has become so commercialized.
This year, too, we made a nativity scene to put outside our house. I cut out Mary and Joseph and painted them, then painted some wood for the barn. I made the star and added lights, and made the lights become the roof of the barn. I wanted to catch the simplicity of and humbleness of that first Christmas night. We have other lights in the trees and bushes, but I wanted to try and capture the quietness of that first Christmas. We have to try constantly fight the battle of secularism and commercialism, and these are a few things that we have done to help bring a focus to the holiday. From our house to yours - have a blessed Christmas!
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