December 3, 2008

Enriching Your December

Recently I helped out with our wards December Enrichment night by bringing two bags of marshmallows that did not get opened. That is my kind of helping and we now have two bags of marshmallows in our food storage. Okay, I might have taught (in the loosest sense of the word) a mini class on family activities. So as my Christmas gift to you, I will now share the excitement and joy of that class with you here. No need to give a gift in return, this is from the heart!

The first activity I sort of borrowed from our Thanksgiving FHE. We had a naked turkey and we needed to cover him with our thankful feathers. On our feathers we wrote what we were thankful for. To make that a Christmas activity, I traced the kids hands on any green paper I could find. They wrote on their hands what they were thankful for and I glued them on to the outside of a paper plate (cut the inside out). WA-LAA instant Christmas wreath!

The next great and marvelous activity is a paper bag scrapbook of Christmas memories. I made one for Owen and Gavin.

There are pages inside for pictures and tags with questions that go along with each page for them to write whatever they want.

This was super quick and easy, not to mention cheap. I used leftover scrapbook stuff and maybe bought a couple of pieces of paper. You use regular brown paper bags folded in half and you can get a bag of 200 at walmart for less than two dollars.

The last fantabulous activity is a Christmas FHE kit. I know how you all love to have FHE and so do I, especially if it is already done for me. I am just going to copy and paste the lesson right here so you may have to copy and paste it yourself and put it into word if you want to print it out. I wish I were more technically advanced, but you can't have everything, right? There is also a page of pictures that I am hoping you will be able to click on and print it out or at least right click and save it. We'll see!


The True Meaning of Christmas

Opening Prayer

Opening Song: Choose any Christmas Hymn (#’s 201-214 in Hymn book)

Scripture: 2 Nephi 19:6

Objective: We can identify the symbols of Christmas and use them to remind us of Christ.

1. Read and review the Christmas story with your family in Luke chapter 2.
2. Tell Pre-Christmas Visit story.
3. Conclusion: Christmas is all about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Use this discussion to challenge your children to keep the true focus of Christmas this year on Christ and not toys or other things that commercialize the holiday.

Closing Song:

Closing Prayer

Treat Idea: Candy canes and hot chocolate!

Pre-Christmas Visit
Just a day before Christmas I had a wonderful visitor. I had just finished my chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the living room. I opened the door and to my surprise, Santa Claus himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree!! He placed his fingers over his lips so I would not shout out in excitement. "What are you doing?" I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw Santa had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone...gone was the eager boisterous soul we all knew.
He then answered me with a simple statement of "Teach the Children." I was puzzled. What did he mean? As I stood there bewildered, Santa said again, “Teach the children, teach them the old meaning of Christmas...the meaning that now days has forgotten." I started to say, "How can I?" when Santa pointed to the Christmas Tree and said “The pure color of the stately fir tree remains green all year around. This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. Green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature. All the needles point heavenward, symbolic of man’s returning thoughts toward heaven.”
Santa reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant, shiny STAR. “Teach the children the star was the heavenly sign of promise long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and a sign of the fulfillment of that promise was the great star of the East. The star now reminds of us Gods love for all mankind. The countless shining stars at night-one for each man- now show the burning hope for mankind.”
Santa gently placed the star on top of the Christmas tree, and drew from the bag a glittering RED CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT. “Teach the children red is a color of Christmas. It was first used by faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all people by the Savior. Christ gave his life and shed his blood that every man might have Gods gift to all, eternal life. Red is deep, intense, and is the greatest color of all. It is a symbol of the gift from God.” Santa hung the glittering ornament on the tree.Santa's eyes were beginning to twinkle now as he stood there. Suddenly I heard a soft tinkling sound. As it grew louder and louder, it seemed like a sound from a long time ago. “Teach the children that the lost sheep are found by the sound of the BELL. The bell means guidance and return, and further signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord.”As the soft sound of the bell faded into the night, Santa drew forth a CANDLE. He placed it on the mantle, and the soft light from its tiny flame caught a beautiful glow from around the darkened room. Santa whispered, "Teach the children that the candle shows mans thanks for the star of long ago. It's light is the mirror of starlight. Safety has now removed the candles from the tree, but lights replace them for remembrance."Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to the large RIBBON BOW and said, "A bow is placed upon the present to remind us of the brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as man should be tied, all of us together with good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow."Now my mind began to wander as to what else Santa might have in his bag. Instead of reaching in his bag, he slung it over his shoulder and began to reach up to the top of the Christmas tree. I thought he was hungry as he reached for a CANDY CANE placed high on the tree. "Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back the strayed sheep to the fold. The candy cane reminds us how we should be helping hands at Christmas time. The candy cane is a symbol that we are our brother's keepers."Santa then paused: he seemed to realize that he should be on his way. But the twinkle in his eye gave Santa away; I knew he wasn’t through yet. He reached into his bag and brought forth a HOLLY WREATH. He placed it on the door and said, "Please teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love; it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is made of many things and many colors. It should remind us of all the things of Christmas." As he disappeared up the chimney he said, "Good night, Merry Christmas, and remember, Teach the Children!"

I pondered and wondered and thrilled with delight. As I sat and viewed all those symbols at night. Old Santa Claus that jolly fat elf, is the very best symbol of Christmas itself.
He’s the sign of the gifts, of love and of life, the ending of evil, the ceasing of strife.
His message to men this pre-Christmas night, has opened a treasure of deepest insight.The one thing on earth we all ought to do, is the teaching of children the right and the truth.

Merry Christmas and happy family activities to you!


The Ransom's said...

This is super cute!!Thanks for sharing it!

Reed and Nat's Family said...

Wow, thanks for sharing. You are a fantastic resource for those of us slackers!

Kenzie said...

Thanks for the ideas. I will be back to copy. And I have my favorite scrapbook on display in my home. Best gift ever.
And how fun that you had this enrichment activity. Our ward got rid of Super Saturday and decided to have a class on how to cook your food storage beans instead. Wonder how many showed up to that? I don't know, I wasn't there.

BALL said...

Fun ideas, and by the way, no I did not pick up the quilting skill from my mother. Oh, how I wish...

Jeanne said...

I love the wreath. Also, I love the FHE idea, I am definetly copying it and doing it.

Engars said...

Wow, you are a go getter. None of those things look "quick & easy." Good for you.

Ines said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

Anna D. said...

Move over Martha Stewart!

cottle fam said...

thanks for this we read this every year as we put up the tree and couldn't find it this year so i am excited to see it.