Twelve Days of Christmas Nativity

 

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On December 13th, there are officially 12 days left until Christmas! A fun and creative Christmas tradition I remember from my childhood is called "The Twelve Days of Christmas. It all starts on December 13th and continues up until Christmas Eve, December 24th. My favorite “12 Days of Christmas” is to leave one nativity piece each night and at the end of the 12 days the family will have a complete nativity scene.

First, chose a family or individual who would appreciate a little extra Christmas joy and each day, starting on the 13th, a leave a small gift for that person, anonymously.

The next step is to find a nice nativity scene, preferably with 12 pieces. Twelve piece nativities are pretty easy to find however, this year I was only able to find an 11 piece set so will also do a string of white lights, oval mirror to display or a star shaped ornament for their Christmas tree. I paid $19.00 for my nativity set.

Beginning 12 days before Christmas, deliver one piece of the nativity to your selected family. This Christmas tradition is especially fun if you are doing it with kids. Kids love to doorbell ditch and will quickly get into the Christmas spirit by taking part in The Twelve Days of Christmas. We try to do this after dark, or leave the nativity pieces on the porch when the family isn’t home. Important- don’t get caught! It’s much more fun to remain anonymous!

You may want to attach a nativity scripture to each nativity piece. You can find a free download of suitable scriptures at www.familyreunionhelper.com. Deliver one piece of the nativity each night for 12 nights– the last one being baby Jesus on the Christmas Eve, December 24th.

www.familyreunionhelper.com

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Joseph

Luke 2:4

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…

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Luke 2:7

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

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Donkey

Luke 2: 1, 3-5

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Agustus, that all the world should be taxed… And all went to be taxed, every one to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, into the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”

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Cow

John 1:3

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All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

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Lamb

Luke 2:8

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field…

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Lamb

Luke 2:8

…keeping watch over their flock by night

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Shepherd

Luke 2:20

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

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Shepherd

Luke 2:8

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

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Camel

Galatians 6:2

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

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Angel

Luke 2:9-10

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

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Star

Matthew 2:10

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

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Manger

Luke 2: 12

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

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Angel

Luke 2:15

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

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Wise Man

Matthew 2:1

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.

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Wise Man Matthew 2:12

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Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

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Wise Man

Matthew 2:11

And when they had opened their treasures, they

presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense,

and myrrh.

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Baby Jesus

Luke 2:11

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Are You Ready For Christmas- Take The Test

Are You Ready for Christmas?

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original artwork©delightful-doodles.com

Take this test to find out if you’re ready for Christmas

If you have attended a Christmas party give yourself 1 point, if you hosted a holiday party give yourself 5 points. If you didn’t yell at anyone while you were setting up for the party give yourself 2 extra points.

Give yourself 1 point if you’ve started you Christmas cards, add 5 points if you’ve mailed them. If you sent your holiday greeting on Facebook deduct 2 points.

Give yourself 1 point if you’ve started Christmas shopping and 5 points if you’ve finished all of your Christmas shopping. If you had to pay 2-day or overnight shipping on an online order so it would get here on time deduct 2 points.

Give yourself 1 point if you’ve begun your Christmas baking, and 5 points if you’re all done. If you put sprinkles on something give yourself 2 extra points.

Give yourself 1 point if your gifts are all wrapped and 5 points if you wrapped them yourself. Deduct 2 points if you paid someone to wrap them.

If you have purchased your Christmas ham give yourself 1 point. If you have purchased a Christmas turkey give yourself 5 points. If you shot a Christmas goose, give yourself 2 extra points.

Give yourself 1 point for each item you’ve eaten in December: sugar plums, a roasted chestnut, Figgie pudding, Christmas goose or eggnog. (5 points possible)

If you are wearing something red or green give yourself 1 point. If you are wearing a Christmas sweater give yourself 5 points. If you are wearing Christmas underwear give yourself 2 extra points. (Must be willing to prove it.)

If you have sung “Jingle Bells” this Christmas give yourself 1 point, if you have gone caroling, give yourself 5 points, if you have performed in a Christmas play, program or concert give yourself an extra 2 points.

If you have watched the movie, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” give yourself 1 point, if you have watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” give yourself 5 points.

If your birthday is in December give yourself 1 point, if it is Christmas Day give yourself 5 points.

If you’ve seen Santa this year, give yourself 1 point. If you’ve sat on Santa’s knee give yourself 5 points. If you’ve kissed Santa give yourself 2 extra points.

If you’ve put Christmas decorations outside your home, give yourself 1 point. If you checked to see if they were working give yourself 5 points. Give yourself 2 extra points if your lights were still working after you put them up.

If you will have 10 or less people at your table for Christmas dinner give yourself 1 point, if you will have more than 10 people at your table for Christmas dinner take some headache medicine, put your feet up and give yourself 5 points. If you will be eating a TV dinner for your Christmas meal subtract 2 points.

25 points or more- Congratulations, you’re ready for Christmas! Christmas is definitely your thing. You love every minute of the holidays.

15- 24 points- You’re getting closer! Just a few more presents to buy and it’ll be time for some hot cocoa!

Less than 15 points- It’s not Christmas yet! RIGHT? Going shopping now…

Black Friday Shopping a Family Tradition

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For our family, Black Friday shopping is a Thanksgiving tradition as rich as turkey stuffing or pumpkin pie.  We wake before the crack of dawn the morning after turkey day and start hunting down Black Friday bargains.

I know that many of you are shaking your head in disgust right now- for many  people staying up late or getting up in the wee hours of morning seems ridiculous to you.  I’ll be the first to admit that you have to be a little (maybe a lot) crazy to get up early and be standing in a long line by 5 a.m.- in the cold, and the psycho crowds, but for me, it’s not about the bargains out there or the money I might save- it’s about the family memories we make. 

Black Friday Memories

In our family we enjoy remembering the time Uncle Lee almost got trampled (Well, not really but it makes a better story) by a mob of frenzied shoppers fighting over Furby pets.

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We loved the year Sears gave out free $10.00 gift cards to the first person in line and we all came out with our purchases and hadn’t spent a dime of our own money.  My daughter still has the slippers she bought that day and wears them proudly.

Then there was the year we stood in a freezing cold Staples line and they brought everyone hot chocolate.  The hot Styrofoam cup kept our hands warm while we stood in line and talked and laughed about how stupid it was to be standing outside in the freezing cold at five in the morning.

One year our main priority was to hit the huge sock sale at Fred Meyers but when we entered the store we found it overflowing with bargain sock shoppers that we left without purchasing even one pair of socks.

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For the Wells family, Black Friday is an event and a rite of passage for pre-teens as they hope to be included in the early morning shopping spree.

My brother Lee, Uncle Steven and I are the instigators of the craziness and a few years ago we took Black Friday Shopping to a whole new level with an “Application to Go Black Friday Shopping With Aunt Mo & Uncle Lee” form.  This was a tongue-in-cheek application that those who wanted to go shopping had to fill out.  (A copy of this form can be  found at the end of this blog.)

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My brother, Scott, added some “over the top” fun to the event by organizing all of the ads for Black Friday sales in a crate with hanging file folders.  He was adamant that we return all ads to their specific file location so that everything stayed organized.  (Of course, all his organizing was only a ploy to be accepted as a member of our Black Friday shopping team.)

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Here’s some things we’ve learned to help us have a successful shopping trip:

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Make a plan.  Decide in advance which stores have the best bargains for the most shoppers in your group.

Leave your coat in the car and anything else that makes it difficult to maneuver through the store.

Beat the system by shopping in teams. We always separate into teams and go after items that we want.  One person (usually Uncle Steve) always heads for the check-out line so we don’t have to waste so much time waiting in line to check out.

One final note to store and shop owners- please don’t ruin Black Friday shopping by opening your doors a week early and calling it a “pre Black Friday” sale.  It seems that stores are opening earlier than ever and some have door busters slated for the day before Black Friday, letting you shop after Thanksgiving dinner.   I guess you’d say I am a purest- I like Black Friday where it’s supposed to be- the day after Thanksgiving, very early in the morning and surrounded by my family- at least those that filled out a Black Friday shopping application.

Aunt MO

Black Friday Application

Application to Go Black Friday Shopping With Aunt Mo & Uncle Lee

Black Friday shopping is a very serious business. It is a great honor to be part of Aunt Mo and Uncle Lee’s Black Friday shopping team. If you would like to be considered for a spot on the our Black Friday shopping team please fill out the following questioner and give it to Aunt Mo or Uncle Lee by 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day. We have very strict guidelines and take our Black Friday shopping very seriously. We will notify all successful candidates by 9:00 PM that same day. Good luck!

NAME ____________________ AGE ______

1. How many times have you been Black Friday shopping? ___________________________________

2. Are you an experienced Black Friday shopper YES or NO

3. What time will you go to bed Thanksgiving night? ________________________________________

4. Do you push the “snooze” button when your alarm goes off? YES or NO (We don’t want to wait for you)

5. What will you be shopping for? ________________________________________________________

6. Name three stores you would like to shop at? List in order of importance.

1.__________

2. __________

3. __________

7. How much cash will you bring with you? _______________________________________________

8. Do you have a credit or debit card? YES or NO (We do not allow those who use checks as they slow us down)

9. What do you feel is a good price to pay for a Hot Wheel car on Black Friday? __________________

10. Are you willing to stand in line while others shop? YES or NO

11. How fast do you run the mile? _________________________________________________________

12. How many pounds can you bench press? _______________________________________________

Please attach one letter of reference to this form.

Thank you for applying to be part of our Black Friday team. We will contact you by 9:00 PM Thanksgiving night.

When You Were My Age Giveaway

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We’re so excited about our new and updated version of “When You Were My Age Party” that we’re giving away a free copy to one of our subscribers.  Just tell us what celebration you might  use this party  for in the comments section of this blog and we will randomly select one person to receive a free copy on December 1st, 2013.

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Our new version of “When You Were My Age” includes a fill in the blank invitation and gives you 37 pages of information for the years 1921- 2010.

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This is such a fun program, fashioned after a Bill Cosby Show episode and was called, "When Mom Was my Age." We have done variations of the program for 70th and 80th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries. Each time we do "When You Were My Age" everyone is thrilled and excited to be a part of the celebration. Everyone has a part on the program and an opportunity to highlight world events and significant family happenings throughout the life of your loved one.

This is a great way to honor your Grandma or Grandpa on their special birthday or your Dad or Mom on their 50th anniversary. Celebrating a landmark birthday or anniversary is always going to be a lot of work but with this package you’ll be well on your way to saying "We love you" in a very special way.

When You Were My Age

M & M or Skittle Ice Breaker Game

Getting to Know You Game

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Take a bag of M&M’s or Skittles candy and tell everyone to grab a handful…or specify a number (I prefer this if you have a large group so it doesn’t take so long- I suggest each family member take 4 or 5 candies) You might also choose to split up in smaller groups such as children under 12, 12 and over, young adults etc. if you have a larger group such as a family reunion.

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Assign a different meaning to each color, blue= family, green=hobbies, yellow=animals, brown= work or school etc. Participants must tell one thing about themselves for how many candies they have in their hands using the colors as their guide. They may also eat them as they share their information.  (“Blue…I have two sisters.”, then eats the candy. “Yellow…I have a dog named Kodi.”, and eats the candy etc.) If you have two or more of the same color you have to tell one thing per candy regardless the color.

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This is a good ice breaker because you can play it as soon as your party is supposed to start and those that come a little late can participate when they arrive.

Dinosaur Party Game

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Carnivores vs. Herbivores Game

This is a fun dinosaur game to play outside. Divide family members into two teams, the Carnivores and the Herbivores.

Give each Carnivore a small sheet of dinosaur stickers. When you say "Go", the Carnivores chase the Herbivores. A Herbivore is "caught" when a Carnivore places a sticker on his or her back. The Herbivore must "freeze" until another Herbivore releases him or her by removing the sticker.

Play until the Carnivores run out of stickers. Distribute stickers to the Herbivores and repeat the game.

NOTE:  This game comes from our Caveman Reunion Theme. 
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Crescent Roll Pizzas for Family Game Night

 

At our house, Friday night, is pizza and game night.  On Friday night, all the kids and grandkids that are available come to our house for homemade pizza and fun.  The truth be known I get a little tired of pizza every Friday so I’m always on the look out for non-traditional ways to prepare pizza and was excited about this super simple but yummy pizza variation.

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You’ll only need four ingredients:

Pillsbury crescent rolls
Pizza sauce
Pepperoni or favorite pizza toppings
Cheese sticks

Preheat oven by the directions on the crescent’s

  • unroll the crescents
  • Add about 1/2 teaspoon of pizza sauce (more if you don’t mind the mess)
  • Place pepperoni or other topping on top of the sauce at the wide end of the crescent
  • Put your cheese on the wide end of the crescent
  • Roll beginning at the  wide end of the crescent
  • Bake for about 8-10 mins.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Dutch Oven Cookies

I usually mix up a batch of cookie dough to bake in our Dutch oven when we go camping, but on a whim I threw in a package of cookie mix for our last camping trip and it was a hit!

Case of Betty Crocker Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (12 total)

Using the mix the cookies were quick and easy to stir together and I didn’t have to worry about keeping the dough cold.

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If using a 12″ Dutch oven, you can bake about 8 cookies at one time. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until light brown. Use 6 coals on bottom, 22 on top.

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The mixes don’t make a huge batch and as good as fresh baked cookies taste when you’re camping you might want to toss in an extra package of mix.

Time Capsule Dig

Family Reunion Time Capsule

Five years later and we finally got to dig up our time capsule!  Five years ago at our Stewart family reunion we had every family member fill out a questionnaire.  We asked questions about the present, their predictions for the future and invited everyone to set some goals that they hoped to accomplish by the time we opened the capsule in 2013.

On the 2nd day of our reunion this year, we went to Grandma’s house where the time capsule was buried to begin our search for the capsule we had buried five years ago.  We followed a very funny set of clues that cousin Tyler made up to find the capsule. 

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The first clue took us to the "”three pronged wooded fork” and then led us to a spot under Grandma’s bathroom window…. but there was no capsule there.

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Retracing our steps we realized that we had misinterpreted the clues and on this attempt found the time capsule buried at the corner of the house.  It took a little digging and we broke the lid off of the capsule but we found all our questionnaires safe and sound.

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Family History Church

We read our questionnaires at  the conclusion of our annual family history “church” we hold at each reunion.  Some of us found that we had remained focused during the five years and completed our goals and some found that their goals had been forgotten.  Some of us predicted what the price of gas would be in 2013 pretty accurately and some found they were living in a fantasy land. We had questioners from old boyfriends that had attended our reunion that year and from a dear Grandpa who had passed away.

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Our family time capsule was a big hit and family members voted to make another time capsule next year.  We’re already working on the questions for our new questionnaire.

Family Reunion Payback Pockets

Payback pockets are a fun way to pay back family members for the difference they have made in your life.  Payback pockets are a fun way to “pay back” your family for the difference they have made in your life-  way of showing appreciation and a way  of saying thanks.

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Our Payback pockets were labeled in fun way using money terms such as Steve’s Sawbucks, Ann’s Ante and Lynn’s Loot.

Writing Station

Set up a writing “station” and stock it with stationary, stickers, markers and colored paper.  Having fun stickers and stationary encourages family members to write notes. 

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You don’t need to set aside any time for note writing during your reunion.  Family members will find their own time  to write  whether it’s during some reunion downtime or during an activity they may not wish to participate in.

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The little ones in our family had fun writing notes, well, actually drawing pictures, and they loved using the markers and stickers.

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The reunion planners used the pockets as a way of delivering special treats and surprises during our reunion.  One day each Big Six received crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for S’mores around the campfire.  Another day  bouquet of lollypops was delivered to each pocket.

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