christmas is coming…

…the geese are getting fat and this desertmum is getting excited! I thought I’d share a few things I’m planning for Advent.

Christmas toy box

Have your kids ever received Christmas stuff for Christmas? It’s all very nice, but the motivation to play with it soon wanes in our household! Last year I stashed away all of the kids’ Christmas books, DVDs and jigsaws. This Saturday they’ll re-appear in a special Christmas toy box. (Well, a cardboard box and some cheap wrapping paper, but hey ho.) I reckon my kids will enjoy the novelty of ‘new’ activities to do through December.

Advent calendar

When Joel and Lois are a bit older, I look forward to doing an ‘active’ Advent calendar with them  – one where there’s a Christmassy task to do each day. For now, however, I’m sticking to a simple Nativity scene with 24 pieces. You can buy these, but I’ve made my own simple version using felt and cardboard. You could also draw or print out Nativity figures onto cardboard, and use blu-tack to stick them to a backdrop – or draw/print onto magnetic paper, and attach to an old metal tray. Here’s a sneak preview of what ours should look like by December 24th!


I don’t like Christmas pudding…so this year I’m making my own, to see if I like it any better than shop-bought.

Mmmmm…if the gorgeous colours are anything to go by, I may just have found a new food-like!

I’ll also be hoping to make these scrummy mince pies with Joel at some point over the next few weeks. Besides being some of the most delicious I’ve ever tasted, the ‘pastry’ is actually a sort of shortbread, so it doesn’t require rolling, just pressing down. This is great news for Joel and others who don’t yet have the arm strength for heavy-duty pastry rolling!


It’s not that I’m anti-Santa, it’s more that I don’t want people coming to our home over Advent and getting confused about what we’re celebrating. So, yes, there’ll be a few Santas, snowmen and other secular symbols of the season – but I hope that how they’re arranged will point towards the focus of our celebrations: the most amazing gift ever, Jesus. By focussing our decorations on aspects of His story, I hope it’ll prompt us to keep reminding each other of the mind-blowing sacrifice God made in sending His son to be born into the world!

Some of our decorations are bought, like this cute Nativity carousel:

Others are made:

Joel and I made these…they’re somewhat unconventional – but totally fitting prompts for the Christmas story! If he’s keen again, we might make mangers and donkeys. The angel looks a bit scary, doesn’t he?! Well, I suppose that’s pretty accurate, as I seem to remember Mary and the shepherds getting a little freaked out… The angel’s wings are cut-outs of Joel’s hands – the idea comes from Alice’s brilliant Christmas resources on her blog. Do check them out if you’re at a loose end for stories, play, craft, baking or Advent calendar ideas – there’s SO much on there to browse through!

Advent time

Our cell group has just started an excellent Advent series. On Monday, we were looking at the shepherds’ experience, and I was challenged by how they seemingly dropped everything and went off to look for Jesus – not dissimilar to the first disciples, I guess. In a similar vein, throughout Advent I’m aiming to ‘drop everything’ once the kids are in bed – much-needed chores, housework, email catch-up, time with Al – and spend just 10 minutes reading a section of the gospels relating to the birth of Christ: my Advent time. I might use this free e-book from the Desiring God website. It’s not much, but I hope that this regular routine will help me not to crowd out Jesus this Christmas. I’ve started this week – I’m so appalling at any sort of spiritual routine that I need a headstart!

How do you plan to celebrate the run-up to Christmas?

Through Advent, I’m linking up with Tanya’s blog. I’ve just found it – it’s so encouraging, and I highly recommend you take a look! If you write a blog and are interested in linking up, go to Tanya’s site for instructions.