|Our wreath—the third purple candle is hidden by the white, but I promise it's there! ; )|
On our first Christmas after we were married, Joseph bought me a beautiful nativity. Normally I put it on display at the beginning of Advent, but since it is a magnet for the kids and not exactly kid friendly, I have decided to invest in a children's nativity this year. I ordered the Little People set (those little people are so cute!), but it hasn't arrived yet. Once it does, our traditional nativity will be out along with one that the children can play with; so we can have one to look at and one to touch. I am hoping that will eliminate the need to replace any of the figures this year. I just wanted to get that out there since you won't see any nativity pictures in this post.
After coming home from mass last night, the first thing we did was the children hung the stockings on the mantle.
Each child hung his or her own stocking in age order from left to right on the top of the mantle. Additionally, Aniston & Genevieve got to hang my stocking, while Ander got to help Daddy. Miles got the honor of hanging Jesus' stocking. Joseph's and my stockings are hung on the bottom, and Jesus' stocking is hung at the top center where the whole family can focus on Him. During the hanging of the stockings, we listened to the Brotherhood of Hope's CD, A Season of Hope. Everyone knows about Christmas music, but did you know there was Advent music? I love those Brothers!
Next, it was time to bless and light our Advent wreath. I know there are several ways to do this, but I'll share how we do it. As the oldest child, Aniston, got to light the wreath while I read a prayer, and then Joseph performed the blessing with holy water.
Once our family prayer time is over, the question every child wants to know is, who gets to blow out the candles?
|Genevieve & Miles are making their case|
Each year when I get out our decorations, I am reminded of all the great books that we have which are focused on the season. Advent is the only time of year that we read a single book as a family each night. I came across this post at Waltzing Matilda about wrapping them for each day. A basket of books, I love it! I didn't have it done in time for yesterday, which was fine because Aniston wanted to read the first book.
The Elf on the Shelf is another tradition that the kids look forward to each year. Jesus is the focus of our fun and festivities, but we let our children participate in the magic of Santa & his elves. They jump out of bed each morning looking for our elf, Jack Snowflake.
The other thing they look forward to each morning is the Advent calendar.
It won't start until Thursday, but they love opening each door. This awesome countdown calendar was a gift from my children's godparents. They even preloaded each feast day during the month with little notes and scripture for us to read. How awesome is that?!
By the way, my sister always finds cool stuff! She recently shared a Walmart find of tall pillar candles, like the ones you see for patron saint candles. We share a common downer about the Advent taper candles—they burn down too quickly. And in my case, they are a little dangerous to leave lit while we are going about our business in the evening. I love having them lit but worry that the kids will knock them over or hurt themselves.
My sister was going to put her candles and wreath on their dining room table and keep it lit through dinner. I thought it was such a clever idea that I decided to check out the selection at Walmart for myself. Unfortunately, everyone in town must have gone to mass and thought, "Oh shoot, it's Advent!" The purple candles were practically gone. But for $5 plus tax, I put this little number together on our dining room table:
I took a plain glass pie plate that I already had and arranged the five candles that I purchased (3 purple, 1 pink, and 1 white in the middle). I then took fresh Christmas tree trimmings that we picked up for free and filled them in around the candles. Voila! I am so happy with this little project and being able to enjoy the light a little bit longer each night that leads us to Christ.
Because it's all about you. It's all about you, Jesus!
What are your family traditions during Advent?
Share how you are preparing for Baby Jesus with the link up here.