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a homemade year {giveaway!}

I have loved doing our advent nativity board with the boys this advent season. I have received several emails asking how I made my felt pieces and what we read each day. I was going to try to post more about it…but that just never happened. So, if you are interested let me know and I will try to post more specific details about it before next Christmas.

I did something different this year and put each piece in a bag (bags from Land of Nod last year…similar to these) for them to open each day. They love the bags…which means they fight over whose turn it is to open the bag every time. But we make it through the fights and we are all learning along the way. It has been a sweet time with my boys.

I have talked about traditions before and how I long to create Christ-centered traditions throughout the year in my home. This is definitely one that we will keep doing…at least until the kids get too old for it.

I was so excited when Jerusalem sent me her book, A Homemade Year. This book is full of creative ideas for cooking, crafting and creating family traditions around the liturgical calendar…which I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about. I have a lot to learn!

This gorgeously-designed book is a guide to celebrating the rhythm of life’s calendar of events, as well as the Christian liturgical year, focusing on God’s love in our lives. Greer weaves her own faith story with original recipes, crafts and entertaining ideas, creating a vibrant, personal narrative that is a modern take on timeless traditions.- Paraclete Press

We already have an advent calendar that works for our family but Jerusalem’s book begins with Christmas traditions and this idea for a Countdown to Christmas Garland Advent Calendar. So cute!

I have only had a chance to skim through the rest of the book past Christmas, but I am excited to try more of her ideas and projects with my kids throughout the year. If you are looking for ideas on how to create Christ-centered traditions in your home this book might be a great place for you to start! Jerusalem has generously offered to give one of her books away to one of you. Yay!

Giveaway Details:

1 copy of A Homemade Year by Jerusalem Greer

ONE winner chosen at random

ONE entry per person

Giveaway ends Monday, December 23 @ 10PM (CST)

To enter leave a comment telling me one of your favorite family traditions…or one you hope to start!

You can find out more about Jerusalem and her family on her blog, Jolly Goode Gal.

  • Jane - One of my favourite traditions is to go shopping with my niece for presents for her family. She’s 7 now and its such a joy to see her think about blessing them with something they love (interspersed with comments about the things she would love too!) One of my love languages is gift giving and I love talking about why we exchange gifts at christmas – as a reminder of God’s extravagant gift to us in Jesus!
    I’ve looked at this book online and would love to think about how I can include some of these lovely traditions with the little people in my life.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - We always buy Christmas PJ’s for my son, so that he has one present that he can open and wear on Christmas Eve. Simple, but fun!ReplyCancel

  • Meg - I love your advent calendar! I really like the idea of homemade, this book looks like it would be great inspiration throughout the year. Thanks for the chance to win!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Lam - Growing up in NC, our family always loved going to a Moravian Lovefeast on Christmas Eve. Christmas worship, a yeast bun and hot sweet coffee!ReplyCancel

  • Mindy Merenghi - One of my favorite traditions is driving around to look at Christmas lights πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Lisa adams - We make peppermint bark every year! I really want this book!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - We hide a glass pickle ornament on our tree and the children search for it…whoever finds it gets to hide it and the search begins again. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • amy j. - Looking at lights… “It’s a Wonderful Life”… peppermint milkshakes… Christmas Eve service… lots of traditions I love! Always wanting to start new ones, though! The book looks great! πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - We always have breakfast with Santa at our Christmas Tree farm. And we love the candle light service at church!ReplyCancel

  • Angie - We all open Christmas Jammies on Christmas eve!!ReplyCancel

  • Leatha - We read Jotham’s Journey and the other Advent books by Arnold Ytreeide. It’s a wonderful Advent book series for older children.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Cutting down a Christmas tree at the tree farm the weekend after Thanksgiving gets the season started here!! Plus, LOTS of baking together… THANKS for the giveaway!!!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Lippert - I love your blog…love it. Every year my boys get a book in their stockings, it’s the one present they can open on Christmas Eve and we read it that night before bed. It’s become a sweet tradition.ReplyCancel

  • Jan - My kids enjoy driving around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights! Advent chocolate calendars to countdown to Xmas to follow our German ancestry.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany Smith - I wrap up a different Christmas book and the kiddos choose one to unwrap and read each night of advent.ReplyCancel

  • Jess - my favorite family tradition (from the last 3 years) is the jesse tree. i so appreciate reading from creation to christ and seeing God’s upper story woven through the Christmas season. it has been a blessing focusing our family on what the season is all about… God’s sweet love for us.ReplyCancel

  • Alena - This is my favorite advent calendar I’ve seen! I would LOVE to know the details on how you made it. My boys are 3 and 1 and would love it for next year. Merry Christmas!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah G - My favorite tradition, we started this year. The advent Calendar from Dayspring, I bought it after reading about how you liked it! We love it, but I would love to expand on it next year and this advent looks perfect! I would LOVE to know more about how you did your felt board! I made a Christmas tree one this year, but was trying to think how to do a nativity, yours is so perfect! πŸ™‚ Thank you for writing, I love to read your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Rozen - I love your advent calendar! One of my favorite tradition is everyone being together at my parent’s house on Christmas Eve. I love being around family and I want my kiddos to grow up with lots of family around.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi DeGroot - One of my favorite traditions as a child was going to church on Christmas Eve, lighting candles and singing Silent Night as a congregation. Afterward we would head home and open all our gifts. That way we could sleep in on Christmas morning! My kids are 6 and 4 so I hope that we can figure out some traditions as we go through the years. Honestly we dint make it to church a lot because either my husband or works almost every Sunday. We need to find a church that has other services.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - We enjoying taking our kids to see our town square turn on the Christmas lights each year.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - We attend the candlelight service and eat Mexican food every Christmas Eve.ReplyCancel

  • Tara - It’s still tradition to wake up Christmas morning at my parents’ home. But next year we’ve decided to spend Christmas day just our little family of 3 and I’m already looking forward to the traditions we’ll start with my little girl.ReplyCancel

  • melissa - What a neat book! I love the day we go out to cut down our Christmas tree. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • dana - Thanks so much for your posts before Thanksgiving on preparing our hearts for Christmas. After reading those, I ordered Noel Piper’s book and LOVE it! I’ve shared it with a lot of friends, and it’s made a big impact down the road in Hutch.

    We started advent readings with the Jesus Storybook Bible, and though my two little boys have listened to those stories a lot, it’s been extra special to read one every day in anticipation of the coming of Christ.

    And please do share more about your advent pieces! I’d love to get one ready for next year, but I need to start in July!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Morgan - I would love to start doing an advent calendar with my kids.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Christmas chain to count down the days, with something to do each dayReplyCancel

  • Kasey - My favorite Christmas tradition is attending our Christmas Eve service at church each year.ReplyCancel

  • Lyndsey - One of our favorite Christmas traditions is lighting the candles on our advent wreath during meal times in the advent season.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - This year, we just started doing a Thanksgiving countdown calendar in which we write something we’re thankful for on a card each day leading up to Thanksgiving. The cards are all kept in a calendar that I sewed from an etsy pattern: We had a lot of fun with it this year. I am going to try and make a photo book of our year and include the things we said we were thankful for in November.ReplyCancel

  • Liesel - Taking our kids to look at lights!ReplyCancel

  • Lexi - I buy my kids a new Christmas ornament each year. I try to link it to what they enjoy at the time. I got my daughter a Cinderella shoe since she is one and lives to put shoes on. I got my son a globe since we are now homeschooling and history and geography are his favorite. When they move on and start their own families I will give them their ornaments. I would love to hear more details on your nativity board!ReplyCancel

  • christy - Cut out sugar cookies that my three children love to decorate. Also singing, playing bells in our church Christmas choir Sunday. Always a song or two that brings tears to my eyes.ReplyCancel

  • Kristina - This year I got Christmas books for the 10 days before and incl Christmas. Most are from the library. I wrapped them and the kids open one a day and we read them.

    We have made a tradition to set up the nativity FIRST when we decorate for Christmas.

    We also started singing Christmas carols near the tree on Christmas Eve.ReplyCancel

  • Nina von Butterzart - My most beloved christmas traditions is to decorate the christmas tree the morning before we celebrate christmas. (We celebrate christmas at the 24th on the evening). We decorate the tree with real candles and so we could not use the real tree not longer then 7-10 days but it’s most romantic and smells very good.ReplyCancel

  • EmmaG - As a kid I loved decorating sugar cookies with my Mom. She had hundreds of cutters and we would make cookies for all of the different holidays and seasons.ReplyCancel

  • Tristan - Christmas morning..Luke 2 & breakfast and the joy filled face of my little one!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - Oh I love traditions. And my girls do too. One of the things we do for Christmas each year is make a handprint/footprint t shirt. We come up with our idea. It was funny this year my youngest is 1 and oldest is 9. And my oldests feet were a little big! we got a good laugh.

    On the nativity….I have been making felt boards and books as gifts. What felt do you use? just from joanns or another craft store or did you get it off etsy?ReplyCancel

  • Breenah - One week before Christmas (which is also my husband’s birthday) we let our daughter open one gift, her ornament for the year. This year it’s Darth Vader and she LOVED it.
    We also each open one gift on Christmas Eve, that’s jammies. This year my husband’s is a Batman onesie, haha πŸ˜€ReplyCancel

  • andrea - Each advent we do a Jesse Tree where we read from Genesis through the nativity story. The way we do it has changed slightly a few times, but I always look forward to this tradition in the midst of a very busy end of year.ReplyCancel

  • Michaela - I love traditions! My favorite is our special trip alone when each child turns 5. They get to go on a special trip with just mom and dad, no siblings! It is so special to have uninterupted time with each child!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle S. - We love driving around, looking at Christmas lights and singing (loud and totally off key) to Christmas music!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Every year my children get so excited to make “gingerbread” houses out of graham crackers. Their creations are so unique and every year the kids get more creative and elaborate.ReplyCancel

  • creole wisdom - I’d love to win this! What a great resource for crafting and fun all year long. Like you, I know little about the liturgical calendar despite growing up with a Catholic and Lutheran parent. I do know that you should wear red on Pentacost, but that’s about it :/

    Favorite tradition: going out to eat somewhere really fancy on Christmas Eve. A few years ago it was a superb steakhouse downtown and I got dressed up and enjoyed every minute of it with family πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - This is the first Christmas with out little guy, so I’m excited for next Christmas when we can tell him we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - This is my first year as a single mom, and I want to make it really special for my kids. We are starting a bunch of new traditions for the holidays, but the one I am most excited for comes from an idea I saw on Pinterest that I slightly adjusted. On Pinterest, I saw a pin with a Christmas Eve present that the kids all open together, which contains a new Christmas movie and snacks for a movie night. I love that idea, but I don’t want the entire evening to be about a movie, so I’ve decided to add a game, a new Christmas book, and my kids’ new Christmas pajamas to the present. On Christmas Eve, they will get to open the present together, we’ll all change into our new, comfy jammies, and then we’ll have a “family fun night” with a new game, snacks, a movie, and then a new book before bed.ReplyCancel

  • Christy f - I’m hoping to start an advent reading with my so next year!ReplyCancel

  • Shana - We are still trying to figure out/add in traditions since our kids are small, and one I want to add that we haven’t started yet is an Advent calendar! We always enjoy looking at local Christmas lights and singing Christmas songs, but I would love more ideas to add!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - We started some new traditions this year including a Jesus Storybook Bible advent with ornaments and a Polar Express family movie night. I would really like more details about your felt Nativity before next Christmas! The book looks like a lovely collection of ideas.ReplyCancel

  • dawn - We love to go around the neighborhood and look at all the Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music. Thank you for a chance to win! DawnReplyCancel

  • Bethany - We always try to pair a Bible- based Christmas story with Christmas carols in the evening before bed. I feel like the kids miss out on a lot of the rich theology hidden in so many hymns, so we usually try to sing a hymn a night anyway, so that they can learn those. But at advent, I we sing a lot! I love our little concerts at night and how much my kiddos have learned through those precious ancient songs.ReplyCancel

  • gin - love your felt advent board. it is precious and your family will enjoy many years of that tradition. Though our children are grown with their own kids, we still attend the live nativity in our area every year. With little grandchildren joining in the tradition, it is something we are carrying on in our next generation.ReplyCancel

  • ranee - our advent calendar is a favorite of ours also!ReplyCancel

  • Marcia - We do a live Nativity walk in our area called Journey to Bethlehem with our two grandsons. Love the advent calendar!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Thank you for such a fabulous giveaway! My husband and I are constantly talking ab ways to guide our girls eyes to Jesus. I’d love this book for a few more ideas. Our favorite tradition is sleeping under the Christmas tree and watching Christmas movies. Such a fun time for the family!!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - We have the little people Nativity set that we put out in its entirety after Thanksgiving. But we also have a family set that was passed down from great grandparents. We put all of that set as well, except for Baby Jesus. That piece is tucked away in a special Nativity gift box until Christmas morning, and is then the first gift we open after reading the Christmas story from the Bible. Our 3 kids also make one another a gift and those are the only gifts opened while our breakfast casserole bakes…all others are saved for after breakfast.ReplyCancel

  • Dana - Tonight we did our annual Christmas PJs night where we “surprise” (obviously, the older ones aren’t too surprised anymore πŸ™‚ )them after they have their PJs on by getting in the car and taking them to see Christmas lights. It’s always a fun night! πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Amber - Reading the Christmas story before opening gifts, new jammies and a Christmas movie on Christmas eve. These are a few of my favorite things πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I can’t wait to start celebrating old family traditions with my son. My favorite would have to be Christmas Eve candlelight service followed by appetizers and games with family and close friends.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - I love giving an ornament each year to my kids. In the end it will tell their life story. My mom did it for me and now I do it for my kids. The ornament represents something significant in their life life over the past year, event, like, activity, etc. Merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica H - We do the Jesus storybook bible advent for bedtime..and an advent house calendar that I put a note in during the day..which ends in a different Christmasy book to read. There are so many fun ones!!ReplyCancel

  • lucy - Cinnamon rolls on christmas morningReplyCancel

  • Jessica - We are carrying on a tradition from my own childhood: new pajamas for every child on Christmas Eve.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Each year on Christmas Eve my husband dresses up as Pappy (a character he created 6 years ago). Pappy comes to our house and shares the Christmas story in really creative ways. The anticipation of his arrival captures us all as we wait for him to come down the steps of our playroom. He then takes us an adventure through the Christmas story…making sure we are focused on what really is the greatest of all gifts. My kids are now 11 and 8 and they still love it. Maybe as much as I do!ReplyCancel

  • Angela N. - My favorite tradition is ever changing as we find what works for our family. Our one constant is a Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner with family friends. We love spending the time catching up and showing our kids that family is more than blood.ReplyCancel

  • kristen - thanks for the chance to win. We have talked about a new tradition since our girls are older, and we are considering watching “The Passion of the Christ” each year – to help us focus on the reason for His coming. I watched it once when it first came out – very overwhelming. . .ReplyCancel

  • Shara - Decorating the house, then waiting until dark to turn it all on inside and out – then we go stand on the sidewalk and admire it all. It’s magical!ReplyCancel

  • january - I love advent wreaths and lighting the candles at night and reading scripture with our 4 young boys. Practicing patience with anticipation is always a challenge but so fun to celebrate together during this season!ReplyCancel

  • Jen K. - I write a letter to each one of our children at Christmas time about accomplishments they have made during the year or their interests and favorite things. I also tell them ways that see their character developing into the person God made them to be. I then put the letter into a scrapbook with favorite pictures from the year as well. When they go off to college I will give the book to them!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith W. - We go to a candlelight lovefeast service every Christmas Eve. We went to the same service when I was a little girl!ReplyCancel

  • Jan - We take a day to visit our local conservatory to see the Christmas decorations and Nativity and then go to our museum center to see the Christmas trains.ReplyCancel

  • Kendra - Since we got married, every New Year’s Eve my husband and I write down a list of significant events that happened in the past year and new friendships we’ve made. We date it and stick it in an envelope. Nothing fancy, but it is a great way to see how God is at work in our lives!ReplyCancel

  • Jerri walker - Love that book! Our tradition is we have a birthday party for Jesus every Christmas Eve. Balloons, cake, and Christmas story.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Christmas Eve candlelight service as a family is my most favorite – this was not a tradition I grew up with, but love that we’ve made it our own. Thanks for the chance to win – the book looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa P - Our favorite tradition is taking gifts to others, knocking on their door and then running away before they see us! It’s so fun to have people wonder who is giving them gifts!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Every Saturday before Christmas we (along with other members of the community) take meals to needy people in our town. It’s a great way to meet new people and let them know their community cares about them.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - My favorite holiday traditions are going to the local Festival of Lights and this year we started a new tradition by going to a baby Jesus birthday party at a Christian book store. I need more traditions in our home that revolve around Putting Christ in Christmas. My son in two and I need to make an impact with that sooner than later. Hence, I’d love this book!ReplyCancel

  • Krissy - My son is only 17 months but I cant wait until he is old enough to enjoy counting down to Christmas with an advent calender and learning the story of Christ’s birth!ReplyCancel

  • SammieD. - We love to drive around and look at lights, bake and drink hot cocoa. I am trying my best to incorporate Jesus in to our everyday and could use inspiration from this beautiful book.ReplyCancel

  • SammieD. - We love to drive around and look at lights, bake and drink hot cocoa. I’m trying to incorporate Jesus in to our everyday and could use the inspiration from this beautiful book.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - I’ve been wanting to start an Advent count-down with ornaments and Chrismons that symbolize important parts of the promise of a Savior- an apple (to tell the story of Adam and Eve), a candle (because Jesus is the light of the world), etc.

    I’d like to add one ornament to our tree each day during Advent and use each one as a teaching moment/reminder.ReplyCancel

  • Susannah - My favorite tradition is sleeping in one room with all eleven brothers and sister (and now some of our spouses) on Christmas eve. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Donna - We have a handmade advent calendar, too. With one piece of the Christmas story for each day, and a family activity to complete each day. We love this tradition!!ReplyCancel

  • Megan Kunch - My favorite thing to do bake with my mom and now my son is wanting to help out. I love it!ReplyCancel

  • katherine - we love our cookie baking tradition at our grandmother’s house!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Before my daughter is allowed into the living room, I slip in and turn on the tree lights. Then we go to the kitchen, get cocoa and my grandma’s recipe Date and Nut bread, with a candle on top…because we MUST sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, of course!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel N. - We’re in the “developing” stage of traditions…one thing my kids have done at least 3 years now is make a cake for JESUS, another one in the making is having a giant sleepover as a family in the living room on Christmas Eve.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Whitworth - One of my favorite traditions, as simple as it sounds, is that I make the same cut-out cookies that my mom made and the other day my college age son they were his favorite!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - My favorite family tradition started with my grandparents, passed down to my dad and now I continue it. On Christmas Eve day, we make an old European dessert that my great grandmother made and my grandparents spent years perfecting the recipe. After I got married, I would call my grandparents every year as I was making our Apple Bitte.ReplyCancel

  • Monika - I love your felt board nativity scene. I plan to make one and give it to my nephew next Thanksgiving. I love giving homemade gifts- can’t wait to start on this one!ReplyCancel

  • katherine - I would love to know more about how you made your felt nativity. I love it. I also love your Christmas tree. Would you mind sharing where you found it? Our fake tree looks way more fake than yours.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - Would love more info on your nativity!!ReplyCancel