Last year Mikie was deployed for 10 weeks from October through January. To help get the kids into the Christmas spirit I bought a new advent wreath. Each day is a little round box. I remove the lid and place a small treat, money or note in the box. Last year I filled them all at the same time. This year that won't work. They've already opened them all to see if there is anything in them yet. Last night before I went to bed I placed a note in the #1 box. It said Check Mom's Closet. They visited my closet this morning and found a new outfit for #1 and #4, a dress for #2 and reindeer sweater for #3.
They were excited about new outfits except that when they sing for the tree lighting tonight they are supposed to wear a Christmas outfit or red and green. Their new outfits aren't red and green and they don't think Christmas outfits should be blue or pink.
For the rest of the week they will receive a note of encouragement, couple of quarters, note about something special we will do that day, etc. Some days they won't receive, but will give. For example to Samaritan's Purse or a trip to the Nursing Home. Each Tuesday they will receive another gift like a music cd, movie, or pjs. We aren't doing much candy this year since we are eating healthier.
I have budgeted for these gifts in my Christmas budget so they don't cost me anymore than I would normally spend. Gifts are inexpensive. The girl's outfits I bought at Belk's on Valentine's Day for $.98. Yes, 98 cents each. The kids love getting and giving all year but the excitement builds during December.
I think their favorite day last year was our trip to the nursing home to sing Happy Birthday Jesus for the residents. They've already asked me if that will be one of their "gifts" this year.
You don't have to make your gifts expensive, just make them fun. A new journal for each child and you to write notes in to each other. It could be a simple spiral one subject notebook that they can decorate and a cool pen or pencil. A cheap $2.50 Christmas cd from Wal-mart. A $5.00 movie you can buy out of Red Box at Walgreens. A special lunch you packed them or a lunch suprise of you eating with them at school.
Think about your children and let your ideals come from them. It's not to late to start your 25 days of Christmas. Have fun with it and post your comments and let me know how it works.