What if you could be more intentional about how you and your family spend the holiday season? As you prepare for Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas, I'd like to encourage you to take advantage of one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling: flexibility.
You can do what works for your family.
You don't have to do what our culture expects or what everyone around you does. You can be intentional and freely implement what you choose.
Instead of falling haphazardly into the craziness of late November and December, look ahead to it calmly and with joy. Now is the time to set some intentions for the holiday season.
I encourage you to take an hour this week to dream about what you want your family's experience during this holiday season to be like. What emotional memories do you want your kids to have of this time? What will help you feel like you've invested your time well?
Prepare for Christmas by Celebrating Advent
Do you want to take some special time to celebrate the Advent season with your family this year?
Celebrating Advent is a great way to help your family stay focused on Christ throughout the Christmas season. Sonlight offers a free Introduction to Advent download with daily Advent readings and conversation starters to encourage meaningful discussion. Or opt for one of our Advent Unit Studies with a more immersive schedule including crafts and recipes.
If you want an advent wreath and don't have one, now is a great time to buy or make one. And don't forget to pick up candles so you're ready when the first Sunday of Advent comes.
Modify Your Gift Giving
Do you like your family's approach to gift-giving, or do you want to change things up?
If you're ready for a change, you could do some of these things. First, check out the popular Advent Conspiracy video embedded here.
Pray about what an Advent/Christmas season with fewer gifts and more generosity could look like for your family.
Consider limiting to three gifts for each family member (in honor of the fact that the Magi brought three gifts to the young Jesus). Many Sonlight families give something like one book, one piece of clothing, and one item the child really wants. That frees the family to focus on sharing quality time as a family and helping others instead of frantic shopping.
Plan for homemade gifts instead of store-bought. Save your sanity and start creating now.
Imagine the Ideal Holiday
What do you want your homeschooling days to look like during the holiday season?
- Do you want to keep your typical homeschool routine?
- Or do you want to take a break for a Christmas School unit?
Many families change their school routine sometime in December. You really have freedom here to do what you want.
Accept Your Budget
If money is tight, how can you find joy in the small things?
If you need to tighten the belt this year, I encourage you to accept that now and get creative. Brainstorm low-cost ways to enjoy a wonderfully meaningful Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Since you homeschool, you already have the gift of time to give to your children. Make the most of this special season with them! Holiday and winter-themed activities don't cost much but feel special:
- playing in the snow
- caroling outside a local nursing home
- decorating cookies
- family game nights
- eating by candlelight
- reading Christmas stories together
One activity we always look forward to is playing Christmas music as a family. I received a set of bells for Christmas once and marked up Christmas music with the color of each bell above the appropriate notes so we could all play the carols. Even the little ones participate each year. We all love it.
The point of this dreaming is to help you look forward to a calm and meaningful holiday season. Are there one or two ideas here that you'd like to try?
Is there anything you usually do that you want to cut out? For example, I hereby give you permission to serve a simpler Thanksgiving dinner if it will mean you have more energy to enjoy your family and friends that day! When we lived in California, we would go camping over Thanksgiving weekend and skip the elaborate meal all together. We made great memories outdoors.
And as we look forward to Christmas, what better way to celebrate the Incarnation than by the Church acting as Christ's body to serve this hurting world? How can we all be part of that this season?
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You'll be encouraged by the words of founder Sarita Holzmann, inspired by real-life stories from other homeschoolers, pick up practical tips for the journey and more.