Well, its almost here - Santa is on his way! Food has been bought and presents wrapped. (Note to self - do not leave all the wrapping until Christmas Eve next year).
Just to prove that cake has actually been made, Andrew and Auntie Karen decorated this earlier tonight. It is a cake just for Auntie Karen, as it made with gluten free flour! I hope it tastes as good as it looks.
The weather has been very wintry this week, we had even had snow, which is very unusual for us here. But we have the photos to prove it.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa is good to you all.
Yes, I know it's not Thursday, but I was not the only one having a busy week last week, so it was agreed to do This is how we Christmas today instead. This week we are talking about How we celebrate Christ in Christmas.
When my children were small my Mum knitted this Nativity scene for them, so that they could touch it without worrying about breaking anything. We put it up at the start of December every year.
Yesterday at Church it is the annual JIGSAW (Sunday School) Service. For the past few years, due to small numbers of children, we have done a sort of tableau effect, with the children forming the nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, wise men, while the appropriate carols are being sung. This year, due to the snow, some of the youngsters couldn't make it, so we called on some adult volunteers to help. It worked really well and the children really love it.
This year for the first time I have put bible verses into the boys Advent boxes as well as chocolate and a joke, we gather together as a family and read the verse together.
On Christmas Eve I take the Church Family Nativity Service, while hubbie takes a service elsewhere. This is usually a noisy but fun service where the children all come to the front and we place the nativity figures into the stable while the story is told.
Well who did it then? Who fast forwarded the clock and made time run away from me this last week? I don't know where the time has gone to and how did it come to be so close to Christmas already!!!!!
I have spent a fair amount of time this week trying to really tidy and clean the house, which has got a bit out of control over the past three months - I didn't think I was particularly house-proud, but the state of it was beginning to get to me. Almost there now, just the bathroom and guest/craft room to be sorted. As my sister is coming down for Christmas I had better make sure the guest room is tidy!!
Andrew's school decided to have a Christmas Ball this year, so of course he had to look smart.
This week has also been the week for Nativity. The school one was on Tuesday and went very well. Church was this morning and also went fine, considering we have snow and have the kids were snowed in so couldn't make it!
Last night our Church held a Family Christmas Party for the first time. It went very well, with about 60 attending of all ages. We had great fun playing games, eating food and singing carols!
It's Thursday, so it must be This is how we Christmas Day, over at Preachers Wife. Last week we talked about Christmas Traditions, this week we are on our Decoration Traditions and next Thursday - well you will just have to come back and see.
I love decorating the house for Christmas, and as we are fortunate to have a large house, there is lots of room for decorations. I also like to buy a couple of new decorations (at least!) every year. This year I bought these two cheeky little birds - not decided where to put them yet though.
It's difficult to know what decorations to include but here are some of the main ones:
1. The Tree:
When we moved here, almost ten years ago, the living room is large so we decided to buy a large Christmas tree. I prefer artificial trees as I can't be bothered with the mess etc of real ones, so we have always had an artificial one. Our tree will not go up until this weekend, so this photo was taken two years ago (I think), but this years will look very similar. There are a couple of hand-made decorations hanging on it and a couple of decorations we bought when on holiday in Austria one year.
2. Children's favourites: the boys have a couple of favourite things that they really love, even though this is perhaps not shared by everyone in the family! One of them, I don't have a picture of (I wonder why?) is of a Santa run - a bit like a helter skelter with about 4 little santa figures on sledges which go round and round with an annoying little tune. The other is this fellow
when you press his hand he jumps up and down and sing "lets all jump for Christmas!"
3. I don't really do flower arranging as such, but do like to do several dried flower arrangements at Christmas, mainly done in baskets. I can't find any photos though from previous years and this years are not done yet. Note to self - must take more photos!!!
So that's our Decoration Traditions - whats yours?
Well I have finally managed to start my Christmas Journal and just to prove it here are the photo for the first 4 days.
I am going for the simple look this year and using the jokes, facts and verses from the boys advent boxes.
Day 2 looked at the weather, so I used one of my crocheted snowflakes.
Christmas cards - I have still got to write mine. Have not made any this year at all!
The magic of Christmas!
Day 8 in the advent boxes:
Joke -Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy!
Fact - In Sweden, a common Christmas decoration is the Julbukk, a small figurine of a goat. It is usually make of straw. Scandinavian Christmas festivities feature a variety of straw decorations in the form of stars, angels, hearts and other shapes, as well as the Julbukk.
Bible Verse - Luke 1:8-20 The angel Gabriel is sent by God to announce the news to Zechariah - news so wonderful that the old priest cannot believe it.
Joke - What do you sing at a snowman's birthday party? Freeze a jolly good fellow!
Fact - Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome (125-136AD) declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate "The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour". In 320 AD Pope Julius I and other religious leaders specified 25 December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.
When I think of weather at this time of year I always think of snow, a White Christmas! Not that we actually get many of them anymore. In fact it has been quite a while since we had a decent fall of snow here - we managed to be about the only place in Scotland last year which didn't get any snow to speak of!!! Which is a shame as I don't have many scrapping LOs with snowy scenes in them.
To make up for the lack of snow, I decided to crochet some snowflakes, as seen on Attic24 blog. Her tutorial is really good and I actually managed to follow it, as I sometimes have trouble following crochet patterns.
I might even manage to make some more and have a snowstorm!
Todays advent box contents:
Joke: What's impossible to overtake at Christmas? The three wide men!
Fact: British people first started putting decorated trees up at Christmas after Queen Victoria's husband, Albert, brought one back from Germany in 1841. Christmas trees had long been a tradition over there and German-born Albert thought it remined him of childhood Christmases.
Bible verse: Luke 1:5-7 God's plan for our lives. A year before the first Christmas, God promises Zechariah and Elizabeth that they will have a son, even though they are elderly and childless.
Playing a bit of catch up with what was inside the boys advent boxes.
Joke: What goes ho-ho whoosh, ho-ho whoosh? Santa caught in a revolving door!
Fact: Tom Smith who owned a sweet shop in London was the originator of the cracker. Int he 1840s Tom found that people liked sugar almonds, but while he was in France he discovered a variety of sweets wrapped up in a twist of paper. These bonbons were popular, so Tom decided to copy them. When Tom noticed that young men were buying them to give to their sweethearts he began to place "love mottoes" on small slips of paper inside the sweet wrapping. In 1846 Tom's thoughts turned to Christmas - instead of sweets he thought he would place toys and novelties inside the twisted wrapping. He experimented with this and the idea of producing a wrapping that could be pulled apart - just like the cracker as we know it today.
Bible verse: Luke 3:31-32 Ordinary people - Abraham's family also included a shepherd boy called David, who became king of God's people Israel.
Joke: What did one snowman, say to the other snowman? Can you smell carrot?
Activity: Start to put up some decorations.
Bible Verse: Luke 3:23-24 A family tree of faith. Heli is not famous, but without him the first Christmas would not have taken place.
My Christmas papers also arrived on Saturday so now I have no excuse for getting on with my Christmas journal - watch this space!!
Say Hello to my new Christmas decorations, not that I really need more, but I like buying at least one new decoration every year. We found these two at the garden centre on the way to the hospital the other day and they really wanted to come home with me, so how could I refuse?
Day 3 from our Advent boxes was;
Joke - How does a snowman lose weight? He wais for the weather to get warmer!
Yesterday we had an activity instead of a tradition - Start to write Christmas Cards.
Bible verse - A fresh start, Luke 3:36. Luke includes Noah in the family tree - a farmer who learnt to be a sailor as part of God's first rescue plan.
Joke - What do you have in December that you don't have in any other month? The letter D.
Tradition/Fact - 26 December was traditionally known as St Stephen's Day, but is more commonly known as Boxing Day. This expression came about because money was collected in alms-boxes placed in churches during the festive season. This money was then distributed to the poor and needy after Christmas.
Bible verse - Listening to God, Luke 3:34,In obedience to God, Abraham started a new life and a new family that one day would include people of many faiths.
I'm taking part in a blog party over at A Preachers Wife, for the Thursdays in December I will be sharing different aspects of our Christmas. Today it's How we Christmas.
I love Santa and have never had any real conflict about worrying that it will detract from the real meaning of Christmas. This is the first year that both boys now no longer believe in Santa but we will still continue with some of our Santa traditions. The boys used to email Santa with their lists which I think is a wonderful idea and Santa emailed them back! Sometimes we took them to see Santa but not always. On Christmas Eve we all hang up a stocking (adults included) for Santa to fill. We also leave out mince pies and milk for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph. We will still continue hanging up our stockings this year.
All our presents are arranged in piles for each person and we let the children open theirs first and then the adults, while I try and take some photos to scrapbook later!
3. Christmas Eve
Is generally spend running around trying to make sure everything is ready, then we go to Church for the 6.30 pm Nativity service (which I usually take), then we come home, the boys get ready for bed, hang up stockings and we read a book together. Then I can normally relax and watch one of the midnight services while waiting for Gordon to get back from taking the Midnight service. I love sitting with the tree lights on.
4. Christmas Day
After present opening we go to Church. Each year is a bit different as to who we spend time with. This year we are going to have Christmas Dinner with my in-laws.
We love a traditional Christmas Day Dinner - turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, little sausages with bacon rolled round them, followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter. I also adore a fruit Christmast cake, although I also make a sponge cake for the children. We have crackers to pull, which have hats and jokes inside them.
Yes, I got the pin out of my toe yesterday! However my foot is still quite sore today and rather swollen - still having difficulty getting a pair of shoes on. Also walking again normally is a bit tricky, so possibly not going Christmas shopping yet!!!!
Day 2 in the Advent boxes:
Joke - Knock knock! Who's there? Snow. Snow who? Snow use, I've forgotten my name again!
Fact - Santa's reindeers are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, and of course Rudolph!
Bible Verse - Walking with God, Luke 3:38 - Luke places importance n showing us that Jesus' family tree could be traced back all the way to Adam and then to God.
For my Advent Swap parcel I got a lovely bottle of raspberry body wash.
I can't quite believe today is the 1st of December, the start of Advent. I feel like I have missed the last three months somewhere. Having discovered that I had no Christmas paper (honest!) I did an online shop last night, so can't actually start my journal until the goodies arrive. Meantime I shall make do with blogging!
The children were excited this morning as they got to open their chocolate advent calendar. We also have an Advent tree, which Mum knitted last year.
In the advent boxes this year I have put some different things for each day. Today we had a joke: What do monkeys sing at Christmas? Jungle bells, jungle bells. A Christmas fact: In the Ukraine, if you find a spider web in the house on Christmas morning, it is believed to be a harbinger of good luck! There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukranian folk tale, that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children's tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone of then, the webs turned to silver and gold. An articial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.
To help us remember why we celebrate Christmas each day there will be a short verse from the Bible, which will build up into a journey to Christmas. Today's verse was Luke1:1 and 3-4. Luke sets out his Gospel first showing that he has carefully researched the events that surround the truth about Jesus.
I also got to open my first parcel from the Advent Swap at FaithscrappersUK, I got a lovely ball of fluffy white wool.
And lastly, my manifesto from Shimelle's JYC class about why I am doing a journal.
1. I enjoy doing a journal and, as I have done it for the past 3 years, feel it is now part of my Christmas traditions.
2. It helps me to spend a short time day for me and to be creative.
3. To help me remember the joy and love that there is at Christmas.
4. This year especially, as the last three months have not been easy, to bring back some joy and fun again into our lives.