LATEST

November/December 2021


{special holiday edition}


This Mosaic is all about helping your family prepare for and enjoy this holiday season. Big thanks to each of you who contributed by sharing with us some of the things you love as a family during this special time of year. Hope this round-up of ideas from our own community is helpful to you and perhaps even sparks an idea for a new tradition to try this year.

 

Places to go

Koziar's Christmas Village (Christmas lights galore!)

Christmas on the Mountain - FREE large Christmas lights display with concessions. Opens 12/3 at 5pm, open weeknights and weekends. 459 N 14th St. Reading

Ringing Dale Farm in Pottstown (cut your own tree)

Beck Tree Farms (another place to cut your own tree, along with farm animals to see, free hot cocoa and "the most picturesque location!")

Hay Creek Joanna Furnace - there is a Christmas themed weekend starting on Friday 12/3

Plow Farm in Mohnton - for photo taking and to purchase a real tree

Valley Forge National Park for the March In of the Continental Army - usually an in-person event with free hot chocolate and cookies at the park. This year it is listed on the park's website as a virtual tour with each night being a different video series. December 14-19, 2021.

Longwood Gardens (one family made special note of the hot cider and treehouses)

Steel River Playhouse Christmas show

Lehigh Valley Zoo (one family kicked off the Christmas season here this year!)

Wawa - a reasonably priced place to get hot chocolate, fill up with gas and then drive around looking at Christmas lights and decorations

Calvary Bible Fellowship (Sinking Spring) - free music light show you can watch from your car. Free hot chocolate on the weekends

Christmas in Birdsboro - at Main Bird Park, 4-8pm Dec. 11

Glick's Poinsettia Show - beautiful displays of poinsettias and other plants along with music and more, with the theme of "Celebrating the Joys of Christmas". Dec. 3-4 and 6-11, 1-7pm.

Diggerland in NJ - a drive-through holiday light show, open most nights until Jan. 2


Things to do

  • Drive around to look at Christmas lights (for added fun, wear pajamas)

  • Take homemade baked goods to neighbors

  • Sing Christmas carols

  • Spend a full day doing Christmas decorations

  • Make Christmas cookies (while jamming to Christmas songs!)

  • Have a cookie decorating party

  • Read the Christmas story from the Bible Christmas morning

  • Watch Elf (one family admits to doing this a lot) and other Christmas movies (one family shared A Christmas Carol with Allister Sims as a favorite, and another family shared that they watch a Christmas movie while they decorate and put lights up)

  • Have a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Day (and sing "Happy Birthday, Jesus" as a reminder of why we're gathered and the real Gift we have the opportunity to celebrate)

  • Read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to your children on Christmas Eve.

  • Start to listen to Christmas music in November! (or for some families, start this December 1)

  • Have a Christmas tree in every room of the house

  • Set up a Christmas village

  • Get together with family members

  • Take a winter walk in French Creek Park with hot chocolate and cookies

  • Make and decorate gingerbread houses (one family sometimes has a gingerbread house decorating competition with their extended family) *pro tip: Have younger children use a tissue box and decorate that as their house form so that it is less likely to collapse.

  • Make salt dough ornaments for gifts

  • Do the advent wreath, along with reading Bible verses, special stories and singing Christmas carols (one family shared that this tradition is one that the parents did growing up and have continued doing with their children)

  • Make homemade wassail and drink it (bonus: brewing it makes the house smell wonderful!)

  • Try to stop cats from drinking water from the tree for all of December

  • Leave a basket with drinks, snacks, and gift cards on the porch for delivery people

  • Read the book The Treasure of the Christmas stories (El Tesoro de Los Cuentos de Navidad) and The Tale of Three Trees

  • Invite friends to celebrate Christmas Eve dinner, share a devotional and play together

  • Make Christmas arrangements with kids - can hang them around schools, give vases to teachers, Swag for churches, local libraries, etc...


More bits and pieces of holiday fun

Mr. Smither's nondisputable list of Best Christmas Albums, in order:

1) Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi

2) Songs for Christmas by Sufjan Stevens

3) Advent EPs by Future of Forestry

4) Christmas with the Rat Pack by Frank, Dean, Sammy and co

5) Christmas Songs by Jars of Clay

6) Behold by Lauren Daigle

7) Let It Snow, Baby; Let It Reindeer by Relient K

8) Christmas Collection by Sleeping at Last

9) Evergreens by Jeremy Simon

10) Shatner Claus by William Shatner


At least one family has an elf named "Speedy" who causes a ton of mischief around the house during the entire season


One family has a magic pinecone. When they are ready to put up their Christmas tree, they set up the stand and skirt, put the magic pinecone in the stand, and water it. Then they run into another room and sing Christmas songs at the top of their lungs until they hear a loud "bang!" in the room where the magic pinecone was prepared. They run back to that room and, through a slight haze of smoke, they see their Christmas tree standing in its place. This is a tradition from the one side of the family in WV, and several other family members each have their own magic pinecone as well.


Another family does "The Polar Express"...

When the kids were littles we would make hot chocolate and pack cookies and we would never tell them what night it will be on… we just make up train tickets and hand them out and the excitement would ensue. At each stop they would hand us their ticket and we would put a punch in it. It was fun to get their jammies on and they thought they were going to bed!


For many years we couldn’t afford to go anywhere so we found some cool Christmas displays and one year a drive through live nativity. We would let them drink the hot chocolate and eat cookies while playing Christmas music and going somewhere to see lights. This turned into “Mom and dad why aren’t you wearing your jammies too?!” So… we wear our flannel jammie bottoms as well!”


As a few years went by, we added stopping for dinner somewhere simple. Add a few more years and we added giving each child $5.00, draw names and we would all go into the Five Below store (in said PJ’s) and buy the person whose name we picked something fun. We would exchange the gifts when we got back into the car.


Your own idea!

What have we missed? Feel free to contact us if you have something you would like to add to these lists - perhaps we'll start another compilation of ideas for next year.

 

We hope these bits and pieces are a blessing to you as you continue to follow Jesus in your everyday life. Thanks for allowing us to share!


For more encouragement and some suggested ways to pray with us, check out our Prayer Matters blog, updated weekly throughout the school year.

Not yet officially a part of the Alliance community? You can schedule a time to meet with a member of the Berks Christian or West-Mont Christian administrative team for a free educational consultation (virtual meetings are available).

Know someone else who might enjoy receiving the Mosaic? Feel free to pass it along! Anyone is welcome to subscribe below to receive the future monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.


**We'd love to hear from you! Ask us a question or send us your feedback - our goal is to make these newsletters as helpful to you as possible.

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