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NOEL--Celebrating the Christmas Season

Now that the girls are older, they anticipate Christmas, specifically the PRESENTS! In attempt to keep the focus of the season not on how and when they receive things, last year I made a poster of activities of Christmastime--things they could look forward to until present-opening-time, and things that keep us focused on Christ's birth and giving to others. We would check off each activity as the days in December rolled by.  This year, I wanted to give even more focus to the different categories of activities and why we do them.  I thought about making my poster say "Christmas JOY" and have each letter of the word JOY be a category with the good ol' acronym: Jesus, Others, Yourself.  But as I've seen more and more entitlement sins grow in my kids (and myself) in our materialistic culture, I didn't want to separate Christ from any of the activities. 
I decided to use the word Noel. I always thought Noel meant "Good News" (probably because of the Christmas carol "Noel, Noel, Good News I tell."  But it is actually an Old French word for Christmas. It's Latin root means "birth", and in Irish they use it in their phrase for December, which means "Month of the Newborn."  I thought this was the perfect word for the entire Christmas season! I wanted the birth of our Savior to be the over-arching reason for all the fun we are going to have.  So our activities fall into a 4-category acrostic:

N= Nearest & Dearest
  • Johnson Family Christmas Eve
  • Family Gift Exchanges
  • Christmas Dinner with Grammy & Grandpa
  • Homemade Christmas ornaments for relatives
  • Christmas cards
  • Make candy and deliver it to neighbors
  • Package for the Pippins
  • Visit the Mirike Family and their new baby boy!
  • Staff Team Christmas party
O = Others
E = Exaltation
  • Countdown to Christmas Advent (with scripture and candy).
  • "What God Wants for Christmas" Children's Story and Nativity
  • Christmas Carols
  • Nativity---toy, decor, and live
  • Worship at church
  • "Merry Christmas with Love" (Prestonwood's Free Christmas Event)
  • Annual Charlie Brown night with hot chocolate (don't laugh at me that I put Charlie Brown in the exaltation category).
  • Happy Birthday, Jesus! family activities (special dessert, coloring activity pad)
L = Living it Up! (All of these "just for fun" activities are so exciting for the girls that they all receive exclamation marks on our poster. :) While browsing online for fun events in the Dallas area, I discovered that you can drop a lot of coin in the "Living it Up" category. However, there are a lot of free events around Dallas, so we opted to just do those).
  • Pictures with Santa!
  • Watch The Polar Express!
  • Decorate our tree!
  • Ice-Skating Show!
  • Paint toenails with red polish and glitter!
  • Ice Sculptures with Grammy & Grandpa!
  • Frisco Square Light Show!
  • Mommy and daughters' date to Kitty's Jr. High Choir Christmas Concert!
  • Cartoons! --Rudolph, The Grinch, Veggie Tales, Mickey Mouse, etc.
  • Bake Mississippi Mud Cake!
  • Make Paper Snowflakes! 
The girls colored their N.O.E.L poster today, and we are hanging it in the kitchen next to our advent.   
(p.s. I don't know what is up with my font color-selector--it is having a mind of its own today). :/

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