Once Advent has started, we celebrate a little more rambunctiously at our Sabbath table. For starters, we have an Advent silver wreath-shaped candle holder that sits in the middle of the table. Lots of people make an an Advent wreath from fresh greens. Either way, whichever you have, it’s a great tradition. Each week during the Sabbath liturgy, I light one more candle. So, week one I light one candle and then we put it out at the end of the meal. Week two I light the first week’s candle, then the new candle. Week three and four follow suit. And then Christmas Day I light the one in the middle, the candle for the Christ Child.
Now if you want to follow this exactly according to tradition, that will involve some purple and pink candles. I think Jim Jordan (maybe) has something about this somewhere. I remember finding some info on it a couple years ago. But we stick with white with a red candle in the middle, or vice versa.
Also, each Sabbath I usually have a treat for all the grandkids. The first week it is the Christmas jammies. This way they can wear them all month long. I hand out the Advent calendars sometime before December 1. The other Sabbaths I will give them each an ornament or something along those lines. One year I gave them each a gingerbread house kit, but I think this year we will stick with one per family. I made each one with each child, assembly line, and they turned out just beautifully. But I am streamlining this year.
Here is a great idea: One of my junior-high students at Logos said that at her house they have a very fun tradition. They cannot play Christmas music (even if it snows) before Thanksgiving. But they can fire it up while they are doing the Thanksgiving dishes! I love that because it is a real reward for the dish-duty crew. And I can’t think of a better way to launch into the Christmas Season than while you are up to your elbows in gravy boats, platters, and countless serving dishes.
But I’m not trying to rush Thanksgiving. It is a fabulous holiday. We got some snow here the past couple of days, so everything looks just gorgeous. But from the forecast it may be melting soon (which is quite all right with me). Sunshine is lovely too. Either way, enjoy the Thanksgiving celebration with all your might. It always blesses me to think of millions of people all eating the same menu on the same day!
10 thoughts on “Great Ideas”
Thanks for the ideas. We are always looking for new traditions to start with our family.
Advent Calendar suggestions?
Our kids make green and red paper chains as advent calendars. I cut construction paper in thirds, they fold each piece in thirds, and– this is the really important part–place a candy inside each. This produces a strip that can be stapled into a loop for a chain. We slide the completed chains onto a yardstick that is spray-painted gold and hang it on the wall. They love waking up in the morning to tear off a strip and eat their candy piece and they are very excited to see the chains shorten as Christmas approaches!
Okay, what about when you have a really huge table? How do you serve the food? Do you do 2 dishes of each thing (1 for each end), or do you just “pass it *all the way* around”? Our eldest child (of 6) is only 11 (plus when we have visitors with young children), so the passing can be a little difficult. Any suggestions?
Sometimes I put two dishes of the same item on the table (one at each end). Other times with a big crowd, I’ll do a buffet. In that case, I’ll keep a couple of big baskets of rolls at each end (maybe one in the middle too) so everyone can dive into the honey butter while they are waiting to serve their plate at the buffet.
Last year we had sixteen adults and 9 kids. (I know this because yesterday I found last year’s Thanksgiving menu and guest list complete with seating chart in my Thanksgiving cookbook.)We set up a very large table in the family room (folding tables covered with tablecloths to make one big table) and put a buffet on the side. Sometimes we get the kids’ plates dished up early if we think it will help reduce the chaos (which it does). That way the food will pass easily over the children’s heads and the parents don’t have to spend so much time serving each dish to all the little people. This keeps the food moving. I try to space the parents strategically near their youngest children, and I put the older kids who are able to eat without assistance near people they will enjoy sitting with (cousin, friend, or sibling).
Advent Calendar Suggestions:
I grew up in Germany where they make beautiful Advent calendars. My childhood memories include lots of glitter on the Advent calendar. So I look for similar ones here. We don’t “do” Santa Claus at our house, so we skip all those with the sleigh and reindeer. This year I found some lovely ones at Barnes and Noble in October . (That’s when the best selection is.) They have snow-covered Christmas trees and lots of animals and presents on them. But when I was growing up, ours always had the manger scene, and on the 24th, we opened up the largest window to find the baby Jesus.
My daughters have done all kinds of creative things for Advent calendars for their kids. This year in my daughter’s shop, they have a an Advent Calendar that is simply a string with clothes pins and a little bag with a number to clip on for each day. A big red star on each end provides something to attach to a nail. And you put a treat in each bag.
My girls put little notes in the days for the kids to open. They say things like, “Decorate cookies” or “Take a jammy ride to Nana and Papa’s house.” And there is always candy in the little cubbies as well.
I will see if I can get them to write a little something about their Advent celebrations.
When you’re talking about Advent Calendars you saw at Barnes & Noble, are you talking about those cardboard ones with little windows that have chocolates in them? What form of Advent Calendar are you talking about? Thanks! 🙂
Actually, I don’t do the chocolate ones. The ones I buy are just flat pieces of colored paper with pictures on them and little windows with numbers on each window. Each day you open the next window. Behind the windows are all kinds of things. Some have Bible verses. The ones I had growing up had angels or shepherds and things like that. The ones I usually find now just have little pictures of toys or such behind them. The fun is in the countdown and the opening. And I especially like the ones with glitter. But if you want to go with the big cardboard deals with the candy in them, I won’t stop you! You may find it is more fun to make your own. I just buy one for each of my kids’ families, which makes three. I let them do the homemade ones themselves.
For those interested in a discussion of observing Advent/Christmas from a Reformed point of view, Pastor Jeff Meyers is beginning a series of Q&A blog posts on the subject here.
I was lying in bed thinking and asking the Lord to help me put even more of the focus upon His Son this year, and remembered this site and the discussion of advent, I have also been reading Noel Pipers book on traditions. So I decided to see if I could find an advent candle holder on the internet and came across this perfectly delightful site and wanted to share it all with you…
It is a gorgeous site of Advent Calenders.Beautiful old reprints, lovely scriptured ones, all sizes from large to mini card size, panoramic, 3-D, just lovely! I am so thrilled to have our Lord led me to this site. It is out of Germany and so the shipping was spendy, but well worth it to my thinking if you ordered several, for friends and children. The prices were great! You just check into the USA store for American pricing and they accept Paypal.
May the Lord bless your Christmas as we seek to glorify Him and make Him our highest delight,our center and focus.