Christmas is my favorite holiday. In fact, it's the only holiday I enjoy more than birthdays. I love celebrating the birth of Christ with my family and the fact that there is an entire month of celebrating makes it all the more special. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, I fill the house with Christmas music, decorations, hot cocoa, and the smell of cookies baking. We cut out paper snowflakes, make window clings, make all sorts of ornaments and gifts to give, set up the Nativity, and read Christmas books that are only out during the month of December. Some years we've done a Jesse Tree, and others we've done a chocolate Advent calendar (they were only $1 at ALDI this year!).
The one thing that we have done to prepare for Christmas every year since JA was 1, has been to read from the Advent Storybook each night leading up to Christmas. It's the story of a little bear, who's mama tells a story each night from December 1st through the 24th. The stories are about another little bear and his journey to Bethlehem to see Baby Jesus. I love this book! Each little story has a message about God's love for us or how we can share God's love with others. The kids enjoy reading the stories about little Benjamin bear as well, and remind me each night to read it before bedtime.
This year, we are incorporating Advent into our school day and studying Christmas around the world. So far, we have learned about the traditions in Argentina and Australia, and will study 8 more countries between now and Christmas. JT is listening to the stories and doing the crafts with us, and JA is also making a lapbook with a page about the traditions in each country. This is a fun way to keep learning while acknowledging the fact that I just want to think about Christmas. We're also continuing with math, writing, and science, but this unit study covers social studies and literature for us for the month. (Though we're big readers around here and have still been keeping up with our normal Ambleside literature this week; we'll be taking a break from that for a couple of weeks to allow extra time for all of the gift making and cookie baking.)