Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Christmas Recap & A GIVEAWAY!!

Another Christmas has come and gone and it seems like everything else lately it went by so quickly. In my mind it feels as though we just set up the tree, hung the advent calendar and began talking about the precious gift of the baby Jesus.

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We started out the season by putting up our Christmas tree a bit early this year, on my birthday in November. It was so much fun as Elizabeth was finally old enough to participate and get excited. With our house decorated we began advent with Advent gifts (new Christmas pajamas and a new book to add to our collection.) I also wrapped all of our Christmas books thinking we would unwrap one each day but that only lasted a week tops. Someone in the house was too excited and couldn’t quite comprehend the “one a day” reality. In truth, it was nice to have them all open! Though we have a good collection of our own I followed Jenny Rigney’s advice and checked out quite a few from the library in advance.

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I love that we are starting our own family traditions…things to look forward to as a family. We didn’t do something everyday and I definitely didn’t plan themed activities. We’re still working on getting this two kid thing down. But we did do some. We did the Advent Box, worked through our felt advent calendar, lit advent candles, read Christmas books, had movie nights every Friday night through Advent (more on this in a bit), celebrated the life of St. Nicholas, made Christmas cookies, read through Ann Voscamp’s Advent book (which I’m sad to say I didn’t really enjoy), and had a few fun friend outings.

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This year we spent Christmas in Minnesota and it was our first Christmas Eve at our new church. They have a time during the service when they invite all the kids up front…which is a LOT of kids and I took Elizabeth down. I wish we had it on tape but after she sat for a few minutes she proceeded to take a tour of the stage, weaving through all the kids. There were so many people so I wasn’t able to grab her but she eventually made her way back. It was so stinking cute!

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While all the traditions are fun, I loved how this year Elizabeth really caught on to the meaning of Christmas. She knew who it was about and what happened. Throughout Advent we spent each Friday night watching a Christmas themed movie. We started with Veggietales Legend of St. Nicholas on the eve of St. Nicholas day. We also enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas, Winnie the Pooh Christmas, and two Nativity themed movies. In years past Alex and I have watched The Nativity on Christmas Eve so I was on the hunt this year for a good nativity film aimed at kids. We were blessed to receive two to review on the blog from a friend. I actually bought one of them before we were given the ones to review so I have one to give away to one of you!!

The two nativity films we viewed were The Promise and Greatest Heroes and Legends Nativity.

Here’s my review of The Promise:

This came recommended from a dear friend whom I highly respect and it did not disappoint. Elizabeth is only 2.5 so she had a bit of a hard time sitting still for the movie which could have been due to plenty of different things. It should be noted unless she’s watching Super Why, it’s difficult for her to sit through any movie. But this movie, from a mom and dad perspective ,was pretty accurate, very entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. It feels a bit like a Pixar film in terms of animation and most of the movie is done in song, similar to Disney. The film follows the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus pretty accurately and starts by showing the oppression of the Israelites by the Romans. It then portrays the budding love story of Mary and Joseph which is so touching. One thing I really appreciated about the film was tender way it portrayed the family relationships. It was very endearing. Everything was really well done and it was hard to remember that we were watching a “Christian” film if you know what I mean:)

One of the reasons I think it failed to hold Elizabeth’s attention is due to the fact that most of the movie is done in song. But I can tell you that next year she’ll probably be all over that and will be catching on to all the songs. It was such a well-made film that I’m glad to have it in our film collection and will be delighted to pull it out year after year on Christmas Eve as a new tradition.

And as far as the Greatest Heroes and Legends Nativity:

Well that one surprisingly kept the attention of our 2.5 year old while not quite capturing the attention of dad. Alex watched this one with her one afternoon and so I’m taking his opinions for the review. The story was somewhat accurate, the nativity included the visit from the Wise men which really didn’t happen until some years later. Also this was more your average “Christian” movie. The animation was far more dated and choppy, the songs and commentary were a bit distracting to adults but Elizabeth didn’t seem to mind them, and there is a longer commentary in the beginning by Charlton Heston which we forwarded through. Overall this was also a great option for viewing the Nativity story and is by no means a bad choice for Christmas. It is fairly accurate, held the attention of our daughter, and told the story of Jesus’ birth which when it comes down to it, is all we were looking for.

So there you have it – two new movies you can try out next year during the Advent season or on Christmas Eve like we do at our house! We really enjoyed The Promise and we’d love for your family to enjoy it next year as well.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment with your favorite Christmas Tradition!

giveaway ends 1/5/15

*This film was bought by me for the giveaway. I did receive two movies from Fish Flix for the review*

 

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the info about those movies! We read "The Advent Jesse Tree" by Dean Lambert Smith, and I made ornaments for each day with some ladies in my church. My two year old son didn't seem too interested in it this year, but hopefully he'll be more into it as he gets older.

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  2. Awesome!! I tried to buy this movie and they were sold out. We like to do stockings the night before actual present opening- and my husband and I try to do a joke gift in each other's stocking;)

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  3. Our favorite tradition was coloring by the tree each evening while reading advent. a close second is looking at lights near our neighborhood. I was looking for a great nativity movie, and it sounds like you found the winner! THANK YOU! (for researching for me) I trust your opinion. ;-)

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  4. PregoRawMilkDrinkerJanuary 5, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    We love our Jesse tree.

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  5. Our favorite Christmas tradition is putting up our Snow Village and making a huge batch of gingerbread boys. Also putting up our many different kinds of nativities. Guess we have lots of things we enjoy!

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  6. Hmmm... Putting up lights :)

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