Sunday, December 9, 2012

25 Days of Handmade Christmas: Day 12 Advent Jars

December is one of my favorite times of year. I can't get enough of all the kindness and fun and joy that is almost tangible in the air. I would be lying, though, if I didn't acknowledge all the busyness that comes along with it. Before I know it, December 1st hits and I have presents to wrap, food to make, church functions to attend [or plan. yikes!], cards to address, gifts to buy, phone calls to make, and without fail some major appliance bites the dust [this year, it was our washing machine. mid-cycle. whee.] It took my husband and I a while to have kids and because of that I had a lot of time to think about the family traditions that were important to me. And I am determined to make our Decembers memorable in a positive way. More than anything, I want my children to know that feeling of Christmas magic. Christmas spirit. Christmas Joy. The best way I figured to do that was to set aside time every day to spend as a family or doing an activity that is a little out of the ordinary for us. Making each day a little special. My boys are only 8 months old right now, but I believe in habits and knowing myself, a couple trial runs before they will actually remember their Christmases is probably a good idea! Anyhow, I set up an advent calendar to fill with activities instead of treats. It was so fast. And it is probably my favorite Christmas decoration. It is so bright and cheery! I love it. Using 25 jars of all different sizes. From a 4oz fruit butter jar to a salsa jar to a quart size mason jar and everything in between. You don't have to have all mason jars. The different textures add interest and the varying heights make sure each color is seen. I put up a wanted listing on a community free-sale site and had more jars than I knew what to do with. If your neighborhood is all out of jars, check your local thrift store. I've found jars for as little as a quarter there. I first laid out the jars in the arrangement I would want them, so I could figure out my colors. I picked a little non-traditional Christmas color scheme. Mostly because we already had yellow and black paint, and traditional doesn't really happen in my house [we have a purple couch and a yellow piano...bless my husband.] Large jars in back, and I staggered the jars forward so at least part of the jar could be seen. I used interior wall paint and plain old craft paint to color the jars. There was a tutorial I looked up to do it [that also said you needed a specific type of paint. not true. use what you have. It'll turn out great!], but you don't need it. You squirt the paint into the bottom of the jar and twist it around until all the surfaces are coated. Then turn the jar upside down and drain the paint into the next jar of that color. Repeat. 25 times. Or 5 times if you enlist a small army to help you. I fed my siblings Sunday dinner. They painted jars for me. After the jars were dry [or a little earlier, because I have zero patience] I arranged them on our piano and cut numbers out of silver vinyl using my silhouette machine. Number stickers would work great too, with a quick coat of glitter spray, you'd be in serious business. So simple. This year our jars are filled with planned activities, like church Christmas concerts or parties at the local library, and impromptu activities, like making cookies for neighbors, taking pictures with Christmas lights, making a chocolate train, and watching polar express with snow cocoa. I have long forgotten what is in each jar even though I am the one planning the whole thing, and it is so fun to see what's in store for me and my little family over breakfast that morning. I can't wait to see how this family tradition unfolds. Hopefully someday we'll be adding snowball fights, pajama days, and children's Nativity pageants to the list. What matters most to me is that it brings the focus back around family for the busiest month of the year. And even if we miss a day, the past 3 have been better than I ever hoped for! Kristin Call is a stay-at-home mom to two rowdy boys and wife to one gorgeous man. She blogs their life over at Call Me Kristin. Her "me-time" consists of doing graphic design work for Designer Blogs and trying to tame her inner voice that constantly says "I bet I could make that." She loves Psych and White Collar, Chai Tea, Sushi, and Penguins. Drop by and say hi! <--end data-blogger-escaped-post--="post--">

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