Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas 2012

December was busy.  School and music events and performances, Mitch's formal work party, two church-related Christmas parties, Conjunctivitis, colds, and coughs, doctors' appointments, a backpacking trip, church callings, a concert, hosting two holilday dinner parties; All of this made for craziness  a busy holiday season.  Sound familiar?

Here are a few pictures from December.

 I made these salt dough ornaments as a Christmas gift for the children in our Primary.

I was so excited to have a chance to use this fun decorating idea for a friend's birthday.

Gingerbread houses with the kids.

My family exchanges home-made ornaments each year.  This was mine for this year.  I used the same technique to make poinsettias to decorate a tree skirt I made for the tree in our family room.

I also made balls like these to use for our outdoor lights display.

 Another fun thing we did was create a 12-days of Christmas for our cousins who are living in China, using their guinea pig, Snowball, who we adopted when they left the country almost two years ago.  We emailed them one photo each day for twelve days leading up to Christmas.  It was one of our favorite Christmas activities!

On top of everything,or rather, in spite of all of that, I really wanted my kids to get a sense of what Christmas is all about.  I wanted them to remember the reason we celebrate, and give them a taste of that great feeling you get when you give selfless service to others.  But sometimes it's hard.  Sometimes it's too busy.  The kids aren't listening.  There's so much to distract them.

So I planned some service opportunities.  WAY to many service opportunities for us to get all of them done (the goal was one a day, ha!), but we did get some done and it really made a difference in the feeling in our home around Christmas!

 Here are some of our favorites:
Taped quarters to vending machines
Donated new clothes and toys for local kids in need
Baked these cookies for our local fire fighters (who then graciously gave us our very own tour!)
Taped candy canes to ATMs
Gave small toys to random kids at a playground
Donated food through the kids' school to local food banks
Picked up trash all along the way to school
Donated some of our toys and clothes
Made stuffed sock snowmen to donate

I am so glad we did some simple acts of service.  Although the month was crazy (I literally had to fish a jingle bell out of my youngest son's right nostril one night) I think it really made a difference to the kids to spend time serving others and feel the spirit of Christmas.  I know it made a difference for me.

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