Last year, I pulled out all the stops. I found all these amazing ideas for homemade gifts on Pinterest. I went to Hobby Lobby and spent a fortune on items to make these homemade gifts. I found amazing Advent activities in which we would do fun activities every. single. day.
And I failed. Miserably.
When I say I failed, I mean that the gifts didn't get made, the Advent activities rarely happened, and I was extremely stressed by the season.
I spent almost my whole Christmas budget on items to make gifts, then I didn't have time to make them. I barely had any money to buy gifts after that...
The kids went to our numbered envelopes each day to find what we were supposed to do that day, and if it was too difficult, I said "not today."
It was too much.
This year, I decided to have a Simple Advent Season... one in which the focus is on Jesus and love, and not on activities and hours spent making gifts.
I decided to do all of my Christmas shopping online. I did most of my shopping before Thanksgiving, and all the gifts are on their way. I decided to keep the gifts simple, and as much as possible, buying gifts through websites that support people in other countries.
The kids are each just getting a few gifts that they want, some books, and we got a family gift of a telescope this year. Stocking stuffers are simple, and they are things that they need and/or can use. No more junk!
Other family will be receiving things that were purchased through the website Ten Thousand Villages (a website in which all items are made in other countries and the money actually goes back to support the individuals that made them), gift cards that are helpful or enjoyable, and some picture gifts. We also purchased some chickens for a family in need through World Vision in our kids' names.
Our family naturally does activities that are fun during the Christmas season, there's no reason to force it. Doing things like watching Christmas movies, drinking hot chocolate, making Christmas crafts, baking, making scented playdough, are all things that we do... we don't need a specific day to do them. That just causes anxiety when it becomes impossible to keep up!
Here are a few blog posts that I found helpful to promote the simplicity of the Advent Season:
Girl Talk: Advent Reading For Kids
Advent: Why It Matters (and how to do it sanely)
Advent with the Jesus Storybook Bible
Printable Advent Jesus Storybook
We'll be following the Girl Talk one pretty closely; though I don't have some of those books so I'll be subbing some with these:
I purchased this for the Kindle:
I'm not assigning certain days to our readings because I don't want to set myself up for failure again. We will read each day, and I will choose what I feel like reading that day :-).
I'm so excited about the simplicity that we have decided on this year. I don't feel one ounce of stress, but only joy!
Will you join me?