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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Countdown to Christmas

2 merry thoughts
Based on the last post I wrote -- about Advent -- this article continues the idea of a countdown to Christmas.

There are many ways to commemorate the Christmas spirit throughout the month of December.  These ideas are based on doing a countdown from the first of December through Christmas Eve (unless otherwise noted).  The activities are for the whole family to enjoy together.

Christmas Books - Put 25 books (wrapped in Christmas paper, if you wish) in a basket.  Read a book each night before bed. There are many books about Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and the holiday season.

Advent Calendar - Open the door (drawer, box, etc.) and find a small surprise.  There are many many many versions of this type of calendar in the stores and online.

Jesse Tree - The Jesse Tree represents the family of Jesse, father of King David.  Out of this family line, God would take flesh and live among the people of Earth. The genealogy of Jesus, Matthew 1:1-17, names a person from each generation before Jesus' birth.  Make or add an ornament each day that represents the ancestors of Jesus.

Daily Scripture Readings (4 weeks)
    1. Luke 21:5-19
    2. Matthew 21:1-11
    3. Matthew 21:12-22
    4. Matthew 21:23-32
    5. Matthew 21:33-46
    6. Matthew 22:1-14
    7. Matthew 22:15-22
    8. Luke 1:57-68
    9. Matthew 22:23-33
    10. Matthew 22:34-46
    11. Matthew 23:1-12
    12. Matthew 23:13-26
    13. Matthew 23:27-39
    14. Matthew 24:1-14
    15. John 5:30-47
    16. Matthew 24:15-31
    17. Matthew 24:32-44
    18. Matthew 24:45-51
    19. Matthew 25:1-13
    20. Matthew 25:14-30
    21. Matthew 25:31-46
    22. John 3:16-21
    23. Luke 1:1-25
    24. Luke 1:26-38
    25. Luke 1:39-56
    26. Luke 1:57-66
    27. Luke 1:67-80
    28. Matthew 1:18-25

Community Cares
    1. Bake cookies, brownies, and other sweets, then deliver them to a local fire company &/or police station.
    2. Go Christmas caroling at a local senior citizen center.
    3. Do a Christmas craft with a local Head Start class.
    4. Shovel the sidewalk/driveway for an elderly neighbor.
    5. Help a local Boy Scout or Girl Scout group buy presents for a low-income family .
    6. Provide babysitting for a single parent so they can go shopping without the kids.
    7. Donate a Christmas tree to a local library.
    8. Donate money to your favorite charity.
    9. Help out at your local soup kitchen.
    10. Provide mittens, hats, & scarves to less fortunate classmates.
    11. Host a food drive for a local food bank.
    12. Volunteer your time at a local pet shelter.
    13. Host a Christmas book reading for kids at a local library.
    14. Help low-income families by making a gift to the Dollar Energy Fund via your local gas or electric company.
    15. Anonymously pay for the coffee/tea/pop/water for the next person in line.
    16. Invite a homeless person over for a home-cooked meal.
    17. Make ornaments with kids from your church to decorate the Christmas tree in the sanctuary.
    18. Spend time - getting to know a person and talking about past Christmases - with a person from a senior citizens center.
    19. Pamper a cancer patient with a stocking of beauty and health care products.
    20. Create Christmas art with the kids to hang in the local veterans center.
    21. Provide hot chocolate &/or mulled cider for local emergency room doctors, nurses, and staff.
    22. Be an elf (or Santa) and deliver small gifts to a local children's hospital.
    23. Donate a Bible to a youngster via the Angel Tree program.
    24. Visit and pray with those incarcerated at a local jail.
    25. Invite all the friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc.,  - who have no place to go - over for Christmas dinner.
 Of course, you can combine more than one idea to create your own unique countdown.


1 merry thoughts
The month of December is filled with great anticipation so many families like to celebrate Christmas throughout the month of December instead of only on the 25th.

There are many ways to commerate Christmas beyond the one BIG day. Advent calendars -- or countdown to Christmas -- is a jolly and merry way to incorporate

The word advent means coming or arrival. The focus of the entire Christmas season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus and the anticipation of the return of Christ (second advent).

Advent is the season leading up to Christmas day.  It begins four Sundays before December 25th (sometimes the last weekend of November, sometimes the first Sunday in December).

Advent is one of the few Christian festivals that is observed at home as well as at church.  Advent is a natural time to involve children at home in activities that directly connect with worship at church.

The season of Advent represents the long years that the Israelites awaited the coming Savior.

At the heart of the Christian faith is the declaration that our Lord Jesus Christ became man for our salvation.  This affirmation is expressed succinctly in the term incarnation. This word is of Latin origin and simply means invested with flesh.  Simply put, Christmas is the celebration and observance of the incarnation. Such an event calls for rejoicing, bright lights, and happy gatherings. It also calls for reverence, reflection, and a deep sense of awe.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.

There are many different ways to observe the Advent time.  It is common in many homes to mark the days of Advent (or countdown to Christmas).

The next few days I will share various ways to celebrate Advent or -- like my family -- countdown to Christmas day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Christmas Around the World - Who is Santa? and Food Traditions

0 merry thoughts
Christmas Around The World

 Click on the image to see the full infographic.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Four Months Til Christmas & Meaning of Christmas

1 merry thoughts
This is simply one of the most beautiful moments that is seen on TV during the Christmas season.  Linus, of course, is quoting the Holy Bible, and yet, whether you in the Bible, God, Jesus, or not, you don't need to believe in any of it to get to the true core of the meaning of Christmas.  As he quotes --"Peace on Earth, and good will towards men."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Online Christmas Wish List

0 merry thoughts
There’s a site that makes creating your own Christmas wish list super easy. It offers you the option to quickly and easily add links to anything you find online on any site.

Go to Wishmodo and sign in. 

You have the option to post your wish list on Facebook after you’ve created it.

Making a wish list is super easy. You just install a Wishmodo button into your browser and surf online as you usually do. Once you find something you like just click the Wishmodo Button and it’ll be quickly added to your wish list.

Obviously, a huge time saver.  Let me know if you try it out.

Various people have stated that Internet Explorer does not open the website.  I liked the idea and am saddened to hear of this glitch.  If you do achieve access, please tell us your experience with an online wish list.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Gag Gifts

2 merry thoughts
This is a great gift idea, especially if you are a secret Santa. You present the suggested gift along with the printed verse each day for twelve days.

Feel free to make up your own verses.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - a partridge in a pear tree...

Sorry, but I couldn't find the partridge so I am giving you some pears from the tree the partridge flew away from.
(Leave note along with a can of pears or a few fresh pears.)

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - two turtle doves...

Unfortunately, I don't have any, will candy turtles on a bar of Dove soap do?
(Leave note along with a box of turtle candy and a bar of Dove soap.)

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - three French hens...

The French hens were not available, so I'm giving you some chicken noodle soup, compliments of the three French hens.
(Leave note along with a can - or 3 cans - of chicken noodle soup.)

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - four calling birds...

I can't find those calling birds, but here are four messages they left for you before they flew off.
(Leave note along with four messages describing what a wonderful person the gift recipient is.)

ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - five golden rings...

Sorry, I'm too poor to buy five real gold rings, but will some golden pineapple rings suffice?
(Leave note along with a can of pineapple rings.)

ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - six geese a laying...

You don't really want messy geese all over the house do you? How about some of the eggs they left behind?
(Leave note along with six eggs.)

ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - seven swans a swimming...

All of the swans have flown south for the winter, but here are some of the bubbles they used while they were swimming.
(Leave note along with a bottle of bubble bath.)

ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - eight maids a milking...

Here's some milk I got from the eight maids - we think they must have been milking some brown cows.
(Leave note along with carton of chocolate milk.)

ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - nine ladies dancing...

Here are some canes used by the ladies to help them walk home after they were out dancing all night.
(Leave note along with a box of candy canes.)

ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - ten Lords-a-leapin'...

After the Lords get done leapin', this is what they use for their sore muscles.
(Leave note along with a tube of Ben-gay or other soothing lotion.)

ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - eleven pipers piping...

Here's a pipe of your own, have fun and don't blow the whole day.
(Leave note along with a bottle of bubbles and bubble pipe.)

ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, your true love gave to you - twelve drummers drumming...

No drummers, we thought you could use some quiet time so here is a special treat we drummed up for you so relax and enjoy.
(Leave note along with some homemade cookies or other treats.)