We mark each Lord’s Day in Advent very simply. We celebrate as a family at our weekly Sabbath feast on Saturday night, so that is the obvious time for us to do something special for Advent. Heather bought me a little Advent wreath candle holder a few years ago, and it holds four candles, one for each Sunday in Advent. So, at the beginning of our meal together, I light the Advent candles. Each week I light them, starting with the candle from week one and moving on. Then, in the center, we have the Christmas candle which we’ll light on Christmas morning. Doug has prepared Advent questions for the grandkids, which they answer each week, and then we sing the first verse of “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”
Though so far I have managed to get the kids Christmas pj’s each year, it’s not as easy as it used to be. With a the size spread from 8 months to 12 years now, they don’t always match exactly. But I remember how exciting new pj’s were when I was little, so I do the “grandma thing” and give them all new jammers. But bear in mind all you mothers, that I am not trying to lay any burdens on you. We are actually trying to free you from burdens, burdens of guilty giving or burdens of not giving at all. When we share our silly ideas, we are simply having fun and inviting you to join in.
Some years I give each family an Advent calendar for week one, and ornaments for the kids another week. Last week the Advent gift was candy. And this year I found some little boxes of handmade ornaments, so instead of giving each child a separate ornament, I gave each family a box of little straw and yarn ornaments. I keep my eyes peeled all year long, and I start gathering Christmas gifts early in the year when I find things on the clearance racks. (This is one of the joys of being a grandma who likes to shop.)
We get each of the grandkids one gift, and then there are the stockings. I tried to stop doing stockings for them a few years ago, because after all, they have stockings at their own homes filled by their own parents. But that was the year that Knox said to me out of the blue, “Nana, are you going to do stockings for us this year?” So I said, “Of course I am” and I have never flinched since then. You mothers of ten or more children, I am now seeing just a glimpse of the momentous task you have at Christmas (not to mention the rest of the year)! That is a lot of stockings. But I’ve been rummaging around and gathering up stuff here and there. I have them all standing up in a box so I can fill them as I go and see which ones are lacking. This year I had to buy two more stockings for two more babies: Marisol and Blaire. What a blessed dilemma it is to have to come up with goodies for so many little ones. I remember the year my parents forgot to get goodies for the stockings, so they filled them with potatoes and carrots! That was a good joke!
But I remember the fact of the stockings more than the contents. They were large and lumpy and absolutely thrilling!
Last night we celebrated an early Christmas with Doug’s family. His dad is heading off tomorrow for California to spend Christmas with Doug’s sister and her family, so we all gathered for take-out Chinese food served up on paper plates. This is a Wilson family tradition, though it used to be on Christmas Eve. This is our first Christmas without Grandma Bessie, and she was probably the one responsible for the Chinese food tradition, chopsticks and all.
So blessings on all your Advent celebrations. Blessings on those little fat heads around your tables. May your Advent be a lovely warm up for the Main Event Coming Soon!