I love the holidays! About this time of year I think about holiday preparations. Mostly at this point I am thinking about how I can ensure we have slow, meaningful, and fun holiday? I am hoping I can prepare in a way that helps us remember the reason for the season and soak up our time as a family. In a consumer driven culture this is a challenging task, but one I enjoy and prioritize each year. Planning ahead is one way to help us all enjoy and maintain our focus.
This year I’m starting a little earlier than normal with the Annual Christmas Preview by DaySpring. I was thrilled when they offered to send me their “Shepherd on the Search” kit. I am a sucker for traditions and I immediately knew this was something that could really stick with my family. Given the ages of my boys I knew this had the potential to be a serious success.
And then I opened the box…
You guys they were enamored. The immediately set to imagining, playing with the Shepherd and clearly were thrilled with the “new addition to the family.” The kit itself comes with your very own shepherd, the awesome storage and display box, and the hardback story book. Watch the video below to see just some of the candid moments they had with our shepherd already. The “Shepherd on the Search” really can be a magical experience for small children and still delightful for older elementary age children too. The additional activity book says for ages three and up and I would say that it’s really perfect for my five-year-old. It seems maybe his younger 3 1/2-year-old brother will also enjoyed the coloring pages. And the 25 day devotional is going to be the perfect family activity with a spiritual emphasis.
I’ve also created this list of 25 fun activities and ideas for you to use throughout the month of December. The story book itself says the game is all about who can spot the shepherd first, as he changes his position in your home each night while you sleep. I think this is also an opportunity to encourage good deeds, and the simple act of remembering why we celebrate Christmas. Take a look at the list and other tips I provided, adapt it to fit your family and above all else have fun remembering the reason for the season.
Watch here for more of the boys’ hot cocoa adventure with our Shepherd on the Search we affectionately named “Shep.” You will also see more of the Shepherd on the Search additional activity book and devotional.
The shepherd arrives in an awesome box that becomes a nativity background, it includes the basic story book which is a beautifully illustrated hardback book that you can read every year and ends with a page in the back for you to name your shepherd. The activity book and devotional books are add-ons you can also purchase through DaySpring. In my opinion the devotional is a must-have and could even be used on it’s own.
One of my favorite parts of holiday preparation is decorating so when I opened this “Joy to the World” door banner I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ll be honest and tell you that when I saw DaySpring had an online resource for how to “assemble it.” I was suspicious. I was worried that it would be complicated. But here’s the deal… It’s so easy and makes such a statement! DaySpring just wanted to make it even easier by providing the “how to” in an online format on top of the step by step instructions that come in the packaging. It’s so simple that I decided to use it to decorate three separate doors in one afternoon, just to demonstrate how it will look different and how easy it was to do. I’m a busy mom of four boys, ages five and under, and truly this was the simplest Christmas decoration I can remember putting up. There are two designs available through DaySpring and I just love this bright red festive “Joy to the World” banner. The other is a majestic “Jesus is the Reason” banner, both are adjustable and super easy to use. A true statement piece that can be seen from the driveway.
You literally just drape it over the door, stretch the elastic bands underneath the bottom of your door and adjust it. I love that the inside of the door has a beautiful message as well. What a great reminder as you leave your home every day. Truly a way to remind yourself of the reason for the season.
I cannot wait to decorate my door with this beautiful banner! It is next.
I will close with these gorgeous Christmas cards. DaySpring is known for their incredible greeting cards and the Christmas collection this year is no exception.
In this set there are 24 cards, two designs, and they are gorgeous. They are thoughtful and impressive, right down to the lovely sparkly details. I can think of multiple ways these beauties can be used.
- Send them as your Christmas cards. Enclose a recent family photo or even a general printed newsletter. But a handwritten greeting card is such a gift! Plus if the photograph is not too seasonal it’s a gift in itself, as it can stay posted in their home year round.
- Use them as thank you notes as you attend Christmas parties, receive gifts, or just want to tell someone how grateful you are for them this season.
- They would also serve as gorgeous invitations to a holiday party.
SO… Christmas is coming… But in the meantime we are going to enjoy the fall season, including the fun of fall decorating! I work really hard to enjoy each season individually. Here’s to apple picking, applesauce simmering in the crock pot, pumpkin bread baking, hot soup bubbling, and the laughter filling my home while we host friends. Rain gear, rain boots, wet hair when bringing in groceries, and back to school activities. I have no desire to rush into Christmas, even as I prepare for the special season ahead, and I’m looking forward to it gratitude filled fall season.