Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The countdown begins

As a parent, I find the Christmas season to be a constant battle between the joy of celebration and the frustration of stuff. I love to decorate with my children, but I don't want it to consume our already full household. I love to give my children gifts but we already have so much. I want to allow others to bless our family, but I don't want my children to think that the holidays are about getting. I find myself in this constant battle between celebrating and pulling back.

So, after missing the annual post-Thanksgiving dinner family craft time due to a Christmas show that needed to be performed, Eden wondered what she was going to do to replace the craft time. I assured her that we would find our own craft to do at home. It wouldn't be the same as the tradition of the Godshall women around the table crafting, while the men split themselves between sleeping in front of the TV and making fun of the annual tradition, but it would definitely be something that she would enjoy.

Which meant that I then had to deliver an idea that would fit the bill. (Never mind that it is not I, but my mom or one of her sisters who usually organizes the annual craft time.)

Thankfully a catalog came in the mail (and didn't quite make it to the trash in time) and we found a cute garland of mittens to be used as a Christmas countdown. We decided that we could make it much cheaper than the one in the catalog and with Eden's expertise in all things felt, we were set. We duly cut out 48 mittens, paired them up, and started sewing.

Even Hope got in on the festivities (although I had to do a lot of re-threading the needle as she got it knotted, and twisted, and pulled out, and...).

Of course Linus was right in the mix, too.

With three of us sewing, it didn't take long to finish 24 mittens.

But then I had a dilemma. The idea behind this countdown was to put something in each mitten, to be consumed or enjoyed on that particular day of the countdown. But I don't want to buy my kids more stuff. And I don't want them thinking Christmas is always about getting more things. Conversely, I want them to learn to think of others and to develop an attitude of giving that lasts the whole year.

Thus we came up with the Official Think-of-Others Christmas Countdown. Each mitten does hold a candy cane BUT it cannot be consumed until the child of the day completes a task which is written on a slip of paper found in that mitten. We decided that the child has until Christmas to complete the task. At that point, any uneaten candy canes will be given away (I guess it's a form of regifting, but not really).

Sample tasks include:

-Find someone who has a birthday in December. Make a special card for that person and deliver it to him or her.
-Bake something (or help to bake something) for someone who probably doesn't get homemade goodies very often.
-Find and use every opportunity to give compliments today.
-Choose something of yours to give away.
-Find an alone-place and kneel down to purposefully pray for your family and friends, naming them specifically and praying for individual needs.
-Write a long letter to someone and mail it (email does not count)

Satisfactory completion of said activity will of course be determined by moi. Hopefully we'll all be showing a little more care and concern for others as the month progresses. Stay tuned . . .

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