Thursday, December 24, 2009

Plans for Celebrating the Christmas Season!

Christmas is almost here!!! And the most exciting part is, as Catholics, we celebrate for a whole season - from Christmas Eve through the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is the Sunday following Epiphany (January 10 this year, I believe)... so let the celebrations begin!!

~Christmas Eve~

During the day, we will deliver homemade goodies and Christmas cards to our neighbors. I packaged them all up last night.

Christmas Eve Mass... we will attend a "children's Mass," which means it is late afternoon and that some of the PSR kids will be in a nativity procession right before Mass. We have two options - 4:00 or 5:30. While I'd prefer going closer to actual evening, 4:00 it will be since we have littles to get to bed, not to mention dinner to cook once we get home!

After Mass...
* Photos by the Christmas tree still dressed in our Christmas church clothes, hopefully!
* Bake Jesus's birthday cake - it is a Kahlua cake this year (we'll take it to my parents' house the next day)
* Add the final pieces to Look Around the Stable and put our next few days' worth of saint magnets on the calendar while dinner is cooking
* Dinner - Christmas Pasta (a Rachel Ray recipe), uncovering and lighting of the Christ candle,
Christmas Eve blessing, possibly blessing of the Christmas tree as well
* Each child opens one gift (they will get matching pairs of pajamas to wear to bed tonight) and we'll play Christmas carols in the background
* Christmas treats (ours and from the neighbors) and eggnog and a Christmas bedtime story
* Chris and I will fill stockings, put out a few larger/hard-to-wrap gifts, prepare breakfast for the next morning, put baby Jesus in the manger, and finish packing our suitcase to go to my parents' house tomorrow afternoon.

~Christmas Day~

* Opening presents while breakfast cooks in the oven
* Caroline and Cecilia will put the baby Jesus from our nativity scene in the stable.
* In the afternoon - going to my parents' house for more gifts and Christmas dinner and Jesus's birthday cake
* Visiting and playing with family until we come home Sunday

~Feast of the Holy Family, December 27th~

* Mass with my family at their parish
* Once home, reading The Holy Family
* Maybe a family dinner out on this day for celebrating families?

~Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - January 1~

* Of course, we will go to Mass, as this is a Holy Day.
* Read Mary, Mother of Jesus
* Have rosemary chicken for dinner, maybe with some white and blue sides? A blueberry crumble for dessert?
* Put out holy cards and such for January.

~Throughout the Christmas Season~

Chris's parents will be coming to visit for a few days, so we'll do more
presents and more eating! Now I just need to decide what to make for a Christmas dinner on Monday or Tuesday evening...

Other ideas of ways to celebrate... we may or may not do all these:
* Gingerbread houses: use some leftover frosting and graham crackers to make preschool-age-friendly houses. Decorate with some candies.
* Nativity stickers: I have some left from our Look Around the Stable activity, and Caroline can use them to make her own nativity scene on a piece of paper.
* Make paper snowflakes for our windows
* Write our thank-you notes to extended family members who gave us gifts... I take a photo of the girls enjoying the gift from each person and then we print it off as par
t of a Word doc to send as a thank-you letter.
* Make star-shaped cookies (Star of Bethlehem cookies)
* Do a Christmas-themed Circle Time, which will include the typical things like the saint magnets on the calendar. We will change out our Advent songs for ones like Silent Night and We Three Kings, and maybe I will find a few finger plays and a star song... Twinkle, Twinkle, perhaps?
* Here are some fun ideas for foods to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, based on the song... fun! I don't think we will do it this year, but in the future, perhaps...
* And for me and Chris... shop the after-Christmas sales to buy a discounted fake tree, and maybe some wrapping paper and cookie tins for next year!

~Epiphany, January 6 (but moved to Sunday in the

I will have to decide if we will celebrate this at home on Sunday the third or wait until the 6th later that week... anyone know what the "correct" thing to do is on that?? Some ideas of things to do:
* Make crowns with craft jewels glued on
* Have Gifts of the Magi bread for breakfast
* Make a king cake for dessert with a tiny toy baby baked inside - whoever gets the slice with the baby is King for the Day (and gets to host next year's Epiphany party, so some people say!)
* Leave out three small gifts for the girls... a "gold" gift (somethin
g handmade - I am making little felt seal animals), a "frankincense" gift (something religious... angel book and Glory Stories CD), and "myrrh" gift (something for the body - a bottle of body wash for the bath).
* Read our library books about the three kings... We Three Kings, The Legend of Old Befana, and a few others I found at the library. Hmm, maybe the gifts will be waiting on the morning of Epiphany, since Old Befana is still roaming around in search of the Christ Child. ;)

So those are some of our ideas...

A very Merry Christmas to everyone!!
(this photo taken after Christmas Eve Mass today... I began writing this blog post before we went to Mass and finished in the evening!)


Anonymous said...

Cute ideas as always! Thanks for our delicious treats! Would love the peppermint cocoa recipe, so good!! My vote (not that I get one) is to stick with real trees, better for the environment even though a little hassle and so much fun. They have a great place to cut them down in Aragon. Merry Christmas!

Erin said...

Yeah, I'd prefer a real tree as well, but they are expensive and hard to find if you don't buy one early. We paid $50 for the one we got... and it was on sale!! So, a fake tree might be more cost-effective over the next several years, and then we could return to real trees in the future... we still aren't sure we'll get a fake one yet. it's just an idea we've been tossing around. I sure prefer the smell and look of a real Christmas tree, though!

ViolinMama said...

LOVE these ideas and someone at Faith and Family Live just posted an article with great ideas too. I feel much more empowered now to fully embrace this season with our family. You always seem to be so prepared!

We LOVE real trees, but the past few years have used fake, much for the reasons you listed. I miss a real one, but the fake has been easier with our schedules. A few months ago I thought maybe next year would be a return to real, but I'm pregnant again, so I think I'll bless myself with less stress and use the fake again lol! But, like you - I prefer and desire real!!

God Bless - Merry Christmas!

Erin said...

Would you mind posting a link to the article at Faith and Family Live?

ViolinMama said...

sure!!! Sorry, I should have done so:

Today's looks fun :) I think we'll do dinner out today (or order in). This morning while Daddy went to morning Mass (we're going this afternoon together as a family - he had to play the flute this am)I made a big family breakfast we could eat when he returned. Pancakes, eggs, veggie sausage, and fruit. Our toast was inspired from this blog post:

Since this weekend is also the feast of St. John - we made Eagle Toast (a modified look of the quesadilla pic). It's been so much fun today!

Thanks for your inspiration! I hope to post some fuzzy pics later of today and the last few days :)


Tiny Actions said...

What great ideas! The girls look so cute too! Merry Christmas.

Tiny Actions said...

One more thing...I just posted a tutorial how to make more small hand friendly poinsettia flower fairies. Big boy was even able to make his own. Here's the link if you're interested...