When Big J was 2 1/2 years old, we started doing some “preschool” at home. It was my first-year homeschooling the boys. It was also the year I entered the world of blogging. And had our second child. And my husband started medical school. No big deal.
As I dove more into the online world, I found TONS of great ideas for teaching just about everything to my little guys. As a former teacher, I was THRILLED to find lesson plans and printables and field trip ideas and…you get the idea!
The holiday season came around and Advent calendar ideas were EVERYWHERE.
I just couldn’t get enough of looking at the newest one and figuring out how it was better than what I was already planning. But then I thought, “Why don’t I just ADD that to whatever we’ve been doing?” And the snowball effect began. Every new idea I found, I needed to try. And the Advent season became VERY stressful.
Just like that. I was not doing my children any favors by throwing MORE of Christmas and Jesus at them—in fact, they were probably overwhelmed by it all too. Not to mention my attitude—I was obsessed with doing an awesome craft every day, and if that didn’t go well. The day was ruined. Great Christmas spirit, huh?! By the time Christmas came and went, I was done. And I knew I couldn’t go through another holiday season as obsessed-crazy-Christmas-lesson plan mommy. You don’t have to do it all, parents. There already is enough “stuff” surrounding the Christmas holiday in our culture.
To help your children realize what Christmas is all about, go for the less is more strategy and keep the focus where it belongs: on Jesus.
So what did we do the next year?
We picked ONE Advent calendar “lesson plan” to follow and then let the rest of our “learning” about the birth of Jesus and that the true meaning of Christmas comes from our daily life. Believe me, the boys always have PLENTY of questions surrounding the holidays, so we weren’t hurting for chances to discuss the reason for the season. Doing less “planned” stuff during the holiday season also gives your family a chance to bless others as the need arises. You can’t give your time if every moment of your schedule is already packed!
The reward for slowing doing and simplifying your holiday season?
A family who looks forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus. This year, Big J looked at the calendar in early October and said… “Next comes November and then… Jesus’s birthday!!!” Yep, that’s what it’s all about.