Well, I have only a few books and activities to write about and then I'll be done clogging the blog with posts.
Saturday we read the book The Christmas Song: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. It is just the song put to cute pictures. We decided to go to the Broadmoor with some of our best friends here. The Broadmoor is a resort and hotel in Colorado Springs that has these cool gingerbread displays. Unfortunately, Will threw up Friday night and even though he woke up Saturday feeling better we were afraid of passing germs on so we canceled. Hopefully we can still go in the next few days.
Sunday night we read the book three trees and their hopes and dreams, which come true in an unexpected way--one tree is used for the manger, another for the ship Christ sails in when he calms the water, and the other as the cross. After reading this book we talked about Christ and the gifts He has given us and how we will get gifts on Christmas. Then we talked about gifts we could give to Christ--the agency we have to choose to do good things. Each of us wrote something that we could choose to do better at this coming year and then we put our notes in a pretty box and put the "gift" under the tree. We will leave the notes in the box and next year when we pull it out we will evaluate if we did in fact, give that gift to Jesus but improving our behavior in that area.
Last night, Christmas Eve, we read another of my favorite Christmas books. It is The Christmas Miracle of Johnathan Toomey. My feelings are tender towards this book and activity. The story is about a woodcarver who is angry and sad because his wife and child died. He receives a knock on his door early one December to find a boy and his widow mother. They explain that their Nativity got lost in a move and ask if he would carve a new Nativity for them. As Johnathan Toomey carves the figures of the Nativity his heart is changed and he finds joy and healing. It is a beautiful story and made both myself and Mike cry because of course we couldn't help but think of Laila and how much we missed her. It seemed appropriate to read on Christmas Eve because the 24th is an important day--she died on the 24th of July so each Christmas Eve we think of Laila. With the passing of Laila, we feel an increased desire to make good choices as a family (and separately) so that we can return to live with her. So on Christmas Eve, the 24th, we open a gift of a spiritual nature to remind us of our need to make good choices, as well as reminding us about the Savior. Last year we opened up key chains with a picture of Laila. We put them on the boy's backpacks so when they went to school they could see her picture and remember to make good choices. This year we all got a CTR ring that glows in the dark (the boys love that aspect). It was the perfect way to end our Christmas activities by remembering Laila and the Savior.