As of Friday, the kids are off for two weeks!! What are you going to do with a house full of little ones after watching all the Christmas videos three times a piece and baking that tenth batch of sugar cookies??
Crafts, of course!
As you know I’m not a crafty mama, but I’ve found a fun craft suggestion from the web site www.artsymommy.com which my kids and I will be undertaking next week! Give it a try and let me know how it comes out!
If you’re like me, and need visual aides, here is a link to the video tutorial for this project.
If you have any other fun suggestions that can help keep the kids busy during the long, cold two weeks ahead– please post links below!
Merry Christmas and Happy crafting!!
Stitched Christmas Tree in a Frame
Ages 4 and Up
This project is simply adorable. Your child will have fun sanding, finger painting, and stitching while doing this craft. You’ll love adding this miniature frame to your holiday décor. This project would make a great gift for grandparents or teachers.
Mini Picture Frame – holds a 2”x 3” photo Muslin
6” square Green Fabric Scrap
2”x 1” triangle
Red Embroidery Thread and Needle
Red Button Craft paint
red, white, and green 1⁄2” Ribbon
4” Sand Paper Brown Shoe Polish
4” Embroidery Hoop
1. Remove the back insert and the piece of glass from the frame.
2. Have your child lightly sand the frame on all four sides to take off some of the paint and expose some of the raw wood. Dust off.
3. Have your child add dots of red, white, and green paint with his fingertips. (see video) Set aside to dry.
4. Attach the green xmas tree to the center of the muslin piece with spray adhesive.
5. Insert the muslin piece in the embroidery hoop.
6. Add the button to the top of the xmas tree with needle and thread.
7. Have your child add stitches to the xmas tree as desired. The kind of stitches will reflect the age of your child, so let him sew as he likes. (see video)
8. Once the frame had dried completely, you or your child can rub some shoe polish on the frame with a scrap of cloth. Rub with a clean cloth removing any excess and adding a subtle shine to the frame.
9. Insert the stitched xmas tree in the frame. Place the frame facedown on the table. Place the muslin facedown on top of the frame. Place a small bit of stuffing in the center. Take the glass piece and place it on top of the stuffing pushing it down in the frame. Adjust the muslin so that the xmas tree is centered. Trim away some of the excess muslin.
Replace the back insert. You may have to use some muscle, but keep at it. It will go back into place.
Add a loop of ribbon to the frame with a staple gun.
In our society we mark “firsts” in a special way. A baby’s first steps, his first words, the first date, the first time we drive a car, etc. These are milestones in our lives, and they hold a special place in our memories. They are celebratory!
The first year after a loved one passes is also full of firsts.
Last year my dad passed away right before Christmas. In reality, last Christmas was our first without dad, but I think we were still in such shock over his passing; we simply got through the holiday feeling numb. It didn’t hit us until all the decorations had been put away that we had just had a huge loss. The grieving process then began.
This year we have hit all the “first” milestones, and have grieved a little at each celebration, missing his presence. The first Father’s Day, his birthday, and now here we are preparing ourselves for Christmas. The sting of not having dad around is hitting my mom and me much harder this year. The kids had a hard time when we came across papa’s Christmas stocking. Should we hang it beside grandma’s, like we have every year? –Or would that be “weird”?
Dad loved Christmas. Each time I hear a Christmas carol sung by Andy Williams, Dean Martin, or Frank Sinatra– I think of my dad. I think about the family sitting beside our record player, one of his most prized possessions, listening to Christmas records for hours! At Christmastime I think about the fake flocking that my dad, like so many of us silly Californians, used to spray on the windows to emulate a “white Christmas”(…and unfortunately the stuff would never come off completely, so it looked as though we had a little fake snow around the window panes even during July!) I remember the Barbie Dream house and so many other toys that he spent hours putting together in the garage on Christmas Eve, so they’d be displayed under the tree as I awoke Christmas morning. As a teenager, I remember attending midnight Mass with dad; “O Come All Ye Faithful” was sung as the clock struck 12 midnight. Jesus was born!!
We are faithful believers in Jesus, so this has nothing to do with wondering “where” dad is. We know he’s home! But, on a very personal note, he is still much missed, here.
This blog isn’t written to bum-out anyone. Rather, I hope to encourage those of us who have had a recent loss. It is through the Christmas story that our salvation plan starts. With that sweet little baby who is humbly lying in the straw of that stable, God has given us the gift of life eternal, with Him. As an added “gift”, we also look forward to spending eternity with our loved ones. No more tears. No more pain.
This truth really is celebratory!!
This year we decided to hang papa’s stocking on the mantle, like we always have. It has become more of a statement of “who’s in our family”. And even though he’s now living in Heaven, my kids know that papa is still part of our family. We joyfully look forward to being with each other again, one day!
Are you going through a personal grieving process this Christmas? How have you found strength and comfort during this Christmas season?
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
If your family is anything like mine, you all enjoy gathering in front of the TV to watch family friendly movies, especially during the Christmas season! I’ve enlisted the help of some friends to make up a Top Ten Family Friendly Christmas Movie List, and wanted to share it with you! There is absolutely nothing even remotely scientifically statistical about our list; it’s purely done in fun– and is completely opinionated! But, nonetheless, I bring to you the:
Unofficial What’s in the Bible?’s (but mostly Lisa’s) First Annual Family Friendly Christmas Movie Top Ten List!
#10 Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is an old classic with Burl Ives as narrator, and it has made a recent come-back. The show uses innovative puppetry and stop-motion animation to tell the story of an outcast reindeer, an aspiring-dentist elf, and an island of misfit toys who help Santa save Christmas. Great for all ages!
#9 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
This is the version starring Jim Carrey. It’s an adaptation of the famous Christmas tale by Dr. Seuss. This film is a big treat for the whole family. With the antics of Carrey and the imagination of director Ron Howard, you will feel like you’ve been really swept away to Whoville!
#8 VeggieTales’ St. Nicholas (2009)
A Story of Joyful Giving! Find out as the Veggies discover the true joy of giving to others — at Christmas time and throughout the year! Laura Carrot’s Christmas stocking might be empty this year because her dad is in danger of losing his job. While Larry thinks a letter to the North Pole should fix the problem, Bob knows what will really help … and tells the story of a little boy named Nicholas who made a discovery in Bethlehem that changed Christmas forever. But what did Nick learn and how can it possibly help Laura and her family?! There’s an added bonus to this DVD, and that is the Matthew West / Amy Grant music video for the song, “Give This Christmas Away”. I LOVE this song!! VeggieTales continues their partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child, and Matthew’s song nicely ties into that theme of “giving”. This movie is great for ALL ages!
#7 A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Charlie Brown is out to find the true meaning of Christmas. Everyone seems to care more about gifts and activities than the actual holiday. The defining moment comes when Charlie Brown takes pity on the homeliest Christmas tree on the lot, and takes it back to his very unimpressed friends. Great for ALL ages!
#6 A Christmas Snow (2010)
(This is a new film, by Trost Moving Pictures. It has been critically acclaimed throughout the Christian film market!) Kathleen has carried around the unwanted memory of her father abandoning her and her mother on Christmas Eve. For the past 30 years, she has blamed her mother for that night and refuses to celebrate Christmas in any fashion. Although she has tried to forget her past, it has not forgotten her, and in the days leading up to Christmas she finds herself stuck in her own home with two strangers, because of an unforgiving blizzard. As the storm brings her face to face with the hurts of her past, she will have to choose one path; letting go and grabbing hold of a life changing forgiveness or continuing to carry her pain and bitterness with her.
#5 The Polar Express
A doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. This is one of my all time favorite movies, and I’ll watch it throughout the year! I think it’s great for all ages!
#4 Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Another adaptation of the Dickens’ classic, told Muppet style! The Muppets add their special and musical touch while staying true to the story. With Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as his poor employee Cratchit, and a host of other fun, loveable Muppets, The Muppet Christmas Carol is both funny and heartwarming! Great for all ages!!
#3 Elf (2003)
A little human baby finds his way into Santa’s bag. Thus begins the life of our friend, Buddy the elf. The “man-elf” decides to look for his father in New York City. It turns out Dad is a workaholic business man who has no time for family. Buddy finds himself in many outrageous situations including the “pre-chewed gum” scene! This is a movie I would recommend for older kids and adults, since the humor is geared to a more mature audience than the preschool set. (One of my absolute favs!)
#2 A Christmas Story (1983)
The king of all holiday flicks!! All Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder BB gun. After asking, begging, and pleading, will he get it? This is more than just an “I want this for Christmas” movie – it deals with bullies, family relationships, and being misunderstood. This classic movie will appeal to kids and adults alike who will sympathize with Ralphie – and his parents who are afraid he’ll shoot his eye out!! The magic of Christmas comes in a funny, irreverent, and heart-warming package! I would say it’s fine for all ages! — But I leave this up to your discretion.
#1 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
My favorite Christmas movie of all time!! The story is simple, but told in such a pointiest way! We can all use a little reminder that God has a plan for our lives, and how one life truly does affect so many others. George Bailey (played superbly by James Stewart) grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal, George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. An angel arrives to show him a vision: what the world would have been like if George had never been born.
Does your family celebrate Advent? Many families have enjoyed this tradition for generations! Perhaps you light candles every week, say specially written prayers, or even follow along using a fun, candy filled calendar during the four weeks leading up to Christmas.
The word “advent” is Latin for “a coming” or “an arrival’. The idea behind it is that God came to an earthly life and lived among us, which is pretty exciting news! It’s definitely something to celebrate and rejoice in! This birth became the rescue plan that is spoken about in the What’s in the Bible series. Advent is a time in which we prayerfully prepare ourselves for this greatest of gifts– the birth of our Savior.
During this season, we thank God for Christ’s first coming, prepare for his final coming at the end of time, and celebrate Christ’s presence among us today through the Spirit. It is a time for deep reflection, prayer and looking back into the Old Testament Scriptures that foretold the coming of the Savior– fulfilled in Jesus!
A common Advent tradition is that of the Advent wreath. The wreath is made of evergreen branches with four candleholders and candles. Each candle representing a week, starting on or around the last Sunday in November. Since in Advent we’re waiting for the Christ child, there needs to be a ceremonial way to mark the time and make us aware of the wait. Lighting a candle reminds us of Christ as light of the world. As the candle is lit, it’s customary to sing a verse or two of “O Come O Come Emmanuel”. One candle is lit for each Sunday in Advent: one on the first Sunday, two on the second, and so on.
The liturgical color of candles used for Advent is violet (except for the Third Week of Advent, often called Gaudete Sunday, in which rose may be used), and the season is somewhat penitential, similar to Lent, although not so explicit and emphatic. The use of violet reflects the general themes of Advent: penitence (generally expressed more in terms of expectant hope) and royalty.
But if you don’t have the wreath or the right colors of candles, you need not worry. This is more about the preparation of our inner self for the birth of the Savior. Some people use red and green candles…some use all white… but purple and rose are the more traditional colors. Whatever you use, it remains a time for reflection, and another opportunity where we can come together as a family for song and reading of Scripture.
If you and your family make celebrating Advent as one of your traditions, we’d love to hear about it. How do you celebrate this liturgical season?
Maybe you’re interested in reading more information about celebrating the Advent season in your own home. Here is an online site that will give you daily prayers and ideas to follow (We are currently in week 2).
An Advent Prayer of Hope:
Lord Jesus Christ,
who is, who was, and who is to come,
we pray for the virtue of hope,
that amidst the trials and difficulties
of this world,
we may keep our hearts fixed
upon you, who reigns over the cosmos.
May your grace enliven us,
and defend us,
as we await your coming in glory. Amen
Clive and Ian are asking and answering questions about Christmas all over the web for the next 12 days! Follow them around to some of our favorite blogs where you’ll also have a chance to win copies of What’s in the Bible?.
Check back here every day for the location of the newest video.
Wednesday, December 1:
Why is it called Christmas?
Hosted by Stacey at 29lincolnavenue.com
Thursday, December 2:
Was Jesus really born on Christmas?
Hosted by Jen at onemomsworld.com
Friday, December 3:
How long ago was Jesus born?
Hosted by thestayathomemissionary.com
Monday, December 6:
What does Santa Claus have to do with Jesus’ birthday?
Hosted by ministry-to-children.com
Tuesday, December 7:
How did St. Nicholas become Santa Claus?
Hosted by amybayliss.com
Wednesday, December 8:
Why does Santa wear a red furry hat?
Hosted by savedsister7.blogspot.com
Thursday, December 9:
Why does Santa ring a bell and collect money sometimes?
Hosted by Tyndale.
Friday, December 10:
What is Hanukah?
Hosted by noordinarymomentsblog.com
Monday, December 13:
What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?
Hosted by lemonlimekids.com
Tuesday, December 14:
Where did the 12 Days of Christmas come from?
Hosted by Pete Wilson at withoutwax.com
Wednesday, December 15:
Who is Immanuel? What does he have to do with Christmas?
Hosted by girltalkhome.com
Thursday, December 16:
What is Clive getting Ian for Christmas?
Hosted by jonathancliff.com