It's always felt important to us to create experiences for our kids. Day-to-day routines that ground us in our familial rhythm. And seasonal rituals (my BlogHer friend, @Jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed is a huge inspiration for me on the latter). We want our kids to grow up feeling connected to each other, to us & to enjoy the variety of adventures each season brings. In the summer, we do beaches & bad food, fall is very much about apple picking & orchard life, along with warm layers, walks in the woods, and baking apple crisp. Spring...still have to work that one out. But the first half of winter...OBVI THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!
Last year we had so much fun building up the holiday excitement in our home (and setting up those dinosaurs XMAS eve!). From cooking & baking to a post-Thanksgiving visit to "Santa's Workshop," to Christmas & Holiday music on the daily. We celebrated full on for an entire month and took our time stepping away from it come January. Tiny was too tiny, but Mr. Toddler - the spirit fully moved him.
One thing we super wanted to do but didn't pull off - partly schedule, partly the boys were so young - was an advent calendar that offered something small & special every day of December. We were aiming for "time together," and not necessarily "things." Make special cookies one day, craft together another day, drive around in pj's listening to XMAS music & looking at decorated houses, maybe even the Polar Express. We did not pull it off but we've been inching toward our 2nd season as a family & I think we're doin alright in the planning department, so far. The fall will always be busy for us; Tiny's bday, Halloween, TxGiving festivities with extended family, Mr. T's bday...plenty of time to plan for a CHRISTMAS MONTH.
This year, we wanted to incorporate our love for the smells & sounds of the holidays with our love of reading and have been on a thrift quest to collect a used Christmas book for every day of our advent calendar. We read to the kids every night & they're starting to read to us. What better way to combine great loves?! We've got 21 books so far - 10 more to go!