December Advent and other Miscellanies

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to me, is like being on a really great vacation. 

The day that Thanksgiving arrives is like when you've crossed the Xs through your calendar on the countdown to your upcoming vacation. Except the best part: This vacation lasts a pretty long time. 

I always feel like I have this infinite amount of time to enjoy all of my favorite things about the holidays, and yet somehow, in the blink of an eye, that time has dissipated. I don't know about you, but I think part of it has to do with working all week and sometimes even on the weekends. Before I know it, the day is over, papers have been graded, emails have been answered, dinner has been cooked, and the preparations for the Christmas Cookies and gingerbread I bought November 25th "because I'd have tons of time to bake cookies and fudge and peppermint bark" sit untouched in the pantry. 

I tell myself that I'll bake "When I get home from school this Wednesday," or, "After shopping on Saturday," and instead, Wednesday becomes Monday and Monday becomes Sunday and Christmas Eve is right around the corner with absolutely zero cookies or fudge made. 

... This has been my life for the last several years since growing up and wearing my big girl pants, and I've realized that if I'm not intentional about enjoying every day this holiday season in some way, the magic of Christmas will slip by as I'm pre-occupied with the busy-ness of my own little world. 

However, two little words have rectified this whole situation in the Love family: House Box. 

What is House Box, you might ask? 

House Box is my childhood. 

When I was a kid, we had a literal "House. Box." It was a cardboard box that looked like a house, and and had 24 boxes on it that held little goodies and surprises for my sister and I. Each morning, without fail, my mom and dad would have either a note or a candy or sometimes even money in it for us. We'd take turns each day with who got to open the House Box and see what was in store for us for the day. Typical notes might have us go on a scavenger hunt around the house in search for mittens or socks or candy bars or maybe new pajamas. Other adventures would be that we'd drive around looking at Christmas lights, go out to dinner as a family, watch a Christmas movie together with popcorn or have family game night together. 

I have such amazing memories of House Box, and when I got married, my darling husband discovered this love after hearing about it from my dad and restored it for us this year. 

What I love about doing our December Advent House Box is that it forces us to stop and enjoy what's going on around us; to gift each other something special (an item we both love or an act of service), or to take time out together to enjoy the holidays as a family. This month we've gone to the movies, gone out to dinner, drove around looking at Christmas lights, listened to live music, baked fresh pumpkin bread, and some of my gifts have even been Timothy doing the chores that I loathe and procrastinate on. Each day we both wake up in anticipation of what is in our House Box for the day, and I love that it helps slow down this already fast and busy month so that we can enjoy each moment to the fullest. 

If you like the idea of House Box for your family this year, Target sells fabulous Advent boxes like the one shown here (click the link to go straight to its website):

What are some holiday traditions that you and your family do together during this season? 

XO and Merry Christmas from my family to yours! 

(And no... I still haven't baked those cookies yet...)

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