Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Planning

Thanksgiving is later this week. I have finalized the menu (which I will post, with recipes, later) and bought the groceries. We have 2 Thanksgiving this year, one with family, one just the four of us. On Thursday, we have Thanksgiving with family. I am baking Banana Bread, Pumpkin Bread, and Apple Bread. I also plan to make homemade cinnamon butter to go with the bread. Friday will be our Thanksgiving, just us. This is the one that will be American Indian themed. I finally finalized the menu last week, after poring through books & websites to find the right recipes. We have just a little cleaning left for the holiday, and the cooking, of course. So, this will be a fairly busy week.

Even with the week being so busy, I'm already planning for the next month or so. Advent will be starting soon, so I'll have to get stuff together for that. In case you don't know, a year or two ago, we started celebrating Advent, as well as Christmas. My husband is Christian, so it is mainly for him. However, both my husband and I despise how commercial Christmas is. So, we use the celebration of Advent to keep things simple and keep the focus of the season on things other than material possessions. Even though the celebration of Advent is a Christian thing, it is not completely religious for us. Many of the activities we do are Secular. While we do want to kids to understand Christmas - what it really is about, why it is celebrated (even why it is celebrated in December), the symbols, etc., we really want them to spend the season focusing on the joys of giving rather than the joys of getting.

Throughout the month of December, we read books, watch shows/movies, and do various activities that remind us what the season is about, to us at least. We also read about the history of Christmas and how it is celebrated in other countries.
So far, the books we hope to read this Christmas season include:
 A Child's Christmas in Wales
The Gift of the Magi
Las Posadas: an Hispanic Christmas Celebration
Holly, Reindeer, and Colored Lights: The Story of the Christmas Symbols
The Family Under the Bridge
Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters

These are just the ones I found while searching the library catalog online. I have them all on hold, and will hopefully be getting many of them this week. We'll, of course, also read A Christmas Carol. We also plan to read Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in Latin), and maybe even the English version, too.

We're still deciding on movies/shows. Here's what we know we'll watch:
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the old one, narrated by Boris Karloff, of course
Frosty the Snowman
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
A Christmas Carol - the one with Patrick Stewart
the episode of Animaniacs about the Nativity story

Other than those, we aren't sure. We might watch The Bishop's Wife. Maybe Miracle on 34th Street. We also might just search Netflix and see what we can find for Instant Streaming. We really aren't big on Christmas movies. My husband hates A Christmas Story. I have never enjoyed It's a Wonderful Life & my husband has no interest in watching it.  My husband loves National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, so we might watch that. I might watch The Nightmare Before Christmas with the kids. Gremlins is a possibility, too. We'll probably watch Love Actually one night after the kids are in bed.

We'll also make some donations - local food bank, maybe a toy for Toys for Tots, maybe the local shelter. We haven't decided yet exactly where we'll donate. We also drive around and look at the lights & decorations. We'll go see the light display our city does each year, and maybe the ice sculptures.

I've also pretty much finished shopping for Christmas. We're not doing much for presents. We've been working all year on redecorating the kids' bedrooms. That is their main gift this year. I have ordered a book for each of them. I have also 'adopted' animals for each of us through the WWF. I did bucket adoptions for each kid, $50 each and each one will get a bucket with 3 plush animals, a picture, and an adoption certificate. For my husband and myself, I did $50 adoptions of just one animal each, which also come with plush animals, adoption certificates, and pictures. All I have left to do is wrap the books when they come. As far as presents for anyone outside our household, we either aren't giving any or we're making them. I'm still undecided on that.

On Christmas Eve, after the kids go to bed, I will hide the plush animals around the house. On Christmas morning, we'll do a safari to find all the animals. I think the kids will enjoy that. I've also decided that our Christmas dinner will only include finder foods. I don't know why, it just sounds fun. As far as I know, Christmas will be pretty low-key for us this year.