taking a cue from my mother’s sense of heritage, we’ve decorated the house this year with swedish-inspired decorations. red, black, white, wood, and lots of candles. it’s not a definitive scandinavian decor, but it feels right: simple, and classic, and fun. festive and sacred. my father made the wood ornament tree for me, i’ve adopted my mother-in-laws tradition of advent activities, and my family -over the past couple of years- has bestowed on me some beautiful nativity scenes to call my own. so though this year the powerdrivers are sticking closer to home to intentionally focus on what christmas looks like for the three of us (and next year for the four of us!) we remain loyal to the traditions that made christmas a very special holy day for both jp and me when growing up.
what does your family do to make your home feel special for christmas?
every december, when i was a child, my mother had a simple but beautiful advent calendar. i can’t remember it exactly but i do recall a wood one, where behind each intricate door were nice chocolates that my mother would have picked out. as exciting for her as for my brother and i. mama, please correct me here. either way, each day of december, our little family of four would open the number of the corresponding day and have a treat. simple as that.
jp’s family had a different activity every night for advent. his mother, he recalls, planned items and outings and foods for the whole family to partake in each day leading up to advent. he doesn’t remember the advent calendar.
i’d like a mix of both; simplicity and surprise.
with our little family, each holiday i feel this intense urge to create our own powerdriver traditions. ramona is still young and, essentially, oblivious. but soon she won’t be. and she’ll be excited about the little things our family does each year. so last year i made stockings and this year i made an advent calendar. bc i wanted to take the tradition of my mother’s thoughtful and beautifully made advent calendar and jp’s mother’s tradition of nightly activities based on what was opened each day of advent. ramona won’t care much for the advent calendar i made. at least not this year. and she won’t care much for the activities, except for the hot cocoa. at least not this year. but they’ll be there. the traditions. at least the start of them. and my humble attempts at making our little family our own.
this year i made a simple, modern advent calendar based on the tutorial from weekday carnival. jp helped me diagram the triangles on a piece of wood that we had initially planned to use for our bathroom vanity. i used gold nails, fancy black & white twine, and numbers printed on heavy cardstock. (my strings weren’t all as taut as i would like so, if you try this for yourself, make sure you pull your strings tight and double twist at every nail).
here’s what i have planned for each day of december (written on the back of the respective day) to get in the christmas spirit:
- decorate house for christmas (it’s small so we only need an hour!
- watch “a christmas story”
- make paper snowflakes
- make popcorn and watch “a charlie brown christmas”
- buy new toothbrushes for the family!
- write a christmas wish list and include non-tangible things
- read the birth of Christ in the gospels
- spend special family time with the farm yard animals
- have a candlelit dinner
- hang mistletoe
- have a sweet treat for breakfast
- make pepperkakor cookies
- declutter for christmas (boxes of vintage stuff, mo’s toys. basement)
- make an egg nog cocktail. egg nog for the little ones.
- go on morning winter hike
- go for a drive to see christmas lights
- drink hot cocoa while watching yet another christmas movie
- enjoy hot cocoa for breakfast
- go thru and read winter and christmas books
- bake some more christmas treats
- put coins in strangers’ meters
- determine new years resolutions
- have a sweet treat for breakfast
- take a photo w santa
here are other posts i used that have additional festive ideas for how to celebrate the days leading up to the 25th.