What We Learned This Christmas

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This is just a fun post to tell you about the things we learned this Christmas and some things we will be doing differently next year.

Gingerbread Nativity

I saw an idea on Pinterest that I loved. It was to make a gingerbread nativity. I always balk at making gingerbread, because it takes so long and doesn’t turn out well most the time for me. I don’t use white sugar, so this may be why. I also don’t like to buy the unhealthy kits, because my kids always end up eating half of it before it gets discarded.

So when Bountiful Baskets offered gingerbread house kits without preservatives and hydrogenated fat, I immediately ordered some. We got creative and made this.

Gingerbread Nativity
Can I just tell you, these gingerbread cookies were the best I’ve ever had! We ate almost this whole creation, and it was a compromise I felt just fine about.Showing Grandma Sandi Nativity

My children loved showing off our nativity to my mother, Sandi, who visited.

Giving to Charity As A Family

We gave our kids some coins and let them pick out items to buy for people less fortunate. You can see how we did this here in my video. You’ll hear Joel yell “NO” when Mike asks everyone to listen (try not to laugh) and in a couple parts you’ll hear how the volume in our daily living can sometimes get LOUD.

I loved this giving activity! Mike and the older kids pooled their money together to buy a lamb and a community garden. We contributed to Gospel For Asia and International Rescue Committee this time. You can get a glimpse of the impact it had on my kids by some of the things they said.

Simplifying My Annual Newsletter

I learned a new way to create Christmas cards that simplified my life so much, I let go of my traditional, long newsletter (along with the hours-long creating, printing, buying more ink, folding, sealing, stamping, etc), imported my 200 contact list into CardStore.com and had them send my cards for me.Christmas Card Outside

I ended up paying less than the cost of a stamp=about 35 cents, per letter (which means they lost money on my order). Can you believe that? I was so happy, I signed up to be an affiliate. I’m sure I’ll have them send my cards again next year too. What a relief! Even if I don’t get as good a deal next year, it will still be worth it to save the 3 days of time, hassle and expense  it used to take me.

Christmas Tree Selection

I learned not to buy another tree like this one next year. The prickles were so sharp, after we put up the lights and a few ornaments, no one wanted to touch it again.Christmas tree 2011

Photographic Christmas Light Art

My son, Nathan, learned how to use my camera to make beautiful, photographic art with Christmas lights!Screen shot 2016-06-16 at 10.35.35 AM

Aren’t those cool? The round ones look like roses.

Speaking of Nathan, he just turned 15 and could hardly wait a couple days for us to take him to get his learner’s driving permit. So now, he’s asking to practice his driving whenever possible. This has been helping me to learn a new kind of patience. 🙂

JibJab Christmas Playlist

I just learned how to make a playlist on YouTube of our funny JibJab videos. These are the ones you can put your own faces in.  You can check them out here.
[youtube playlist?list=PL0F03D043045C0D44]

My kids love watching these videos over and over. They help us laugh together and are so entertaining to show to guests.

Jesus Box

A couple days before Christmas, we created a container with strips of paper for writing down acts of kindness we’ve noticed being done in our home. It was a bit too close to the holiday for this to be a success, but I will get this box out just after Thanksgiving next year so we can discuss on Christmas day how well we’ve tried to follow our Savior’s example.

One thing we try to teach and reinforce to our children every year is WHY Christ’s birth is so important. Through scriptures and discussion we help them understand that because Jesus gave His life for us, we have the opportunity to return to live with our Heavenly Father, together with our loved ones someday. What more wonderful gift can we get?

What Are We Teaching?

Home education isn’t about just academics. It’s about teaching kids the principles in life which are most important. We want our kids to understand that the family is the core unit of society. What better way is there to emphasize this than through fun, bonding, holiday activities and traditions?

I’d love to know your thoughts! What is the number one thing you learned this holiday season, and what will you be sure to do next year?


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