We got a gentle nudge from some gentle readers to get things fired up for Advent around here on Femina. Yes, indeedy, it is a comin’. In fact, kick off is three weeks from today.
Of course there are endless possibilities of what kinds of things you can do with your families to celebrate Advent. We (our family) have always viewed Advent as the pre-function to the BIG party on Christmas. (I know some Christians view Advent as a penitential season and withhold things. No criticism intended; we just don’t share that perspective.) So we start warming up on December 1, which happens to fall on a Saturday this year, which means we will light the first Advent Candle at Sabbath Dinner that night.
We have an Advent ring with four candles. Week one, we light the first candle and it burns through dinner and is blown out. The next week we relight candle #1 and then light candle #2 and so on. There are lots of ways you can tie in the colors of the candles with Christmas traditions. We use red and white. On Christmas we relight the previous four candles, and then we light a candle in the middle for Jesus. This is my job each week, so as my husband goes over the weekly liturgy with the kids, I pop in on cue with the appropriate flame.
Since we all gather every Saturday night, and since there are sixteen grandchildren participating each week, it is actually quite a big event. The little kids are especially impressed with the anticipation of the coming celebration of Christ’s birth. Each year we think of ways to make a bigger deal out of this. Last year I finally found a nativity scene that I liked, so that was a big addition to my Christmas decorations.
Doug and I hand out the Advent gifts to the grandkids each week. You can read about some of this in old Advent posts back in the Everything Christmas category (just scroll down). Of course each of the families of our children have their own Advent celebrations as well. They have surprises for each day in December, while we just give out the goodies on Saturdays. Some of these surprises are notes about what they’re going to get to do that day, like bake Christmas cookies or go on a jammy ride.
What ever you do, keep a couple of things in mind. First, is your husband in the loop? Don’t write a huge script for him without consulting. He may have something entirely different in mind. You don’t want your Advent celebration to turn into an opportunity for a squabble or a bump or a misunderstanding.
Secondly, remember this is a get-to not a have-to. The kids should be excited about it and looking forward to it, not dreading it. If they view your Advent readings as a burden,something is dreadfully wrong. Switch it up. And whatever you do, make sure it involves lots of chocolate.
14 thoughts on “Three Weeks Until Advent”
Do you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas following 12/25? I have heard others talk about it, but I don’t really understand what it is.
Last year we introduced one new piece of the nativity scene (we use the playmobile one and I wrap them and number them to make it fun) to our little ones each night at Bible time with a simple reading that we wrote that the piece illustrates. Our children are very small (4, 2, and about-to-be-born 🙂 so we will use the same readings again this year.
If anyone with really little ones wants to join in, please feel very welcome: http://partofthemain.wordpress.com/advent-readings-2011/
Thanks for the reminder to be ready for this special season, Nancy Ann!
Thanks Mrs Wilson! I was among those who asked for ideas……it sure is handy that your husband has a book at the publishers for all of us :o) I have pre-ordered and look forward to reading it.
Look forward to hearing and seeing other ideas from you and your daughters in the weeks to come!
THank you so much I am looking for ideas for my 18mth old- I found this calendar online as a starter which I plan to use to introduce him to the basic story http://www.lakeland.co.uk/42910/Nativity-Advent-Calendar I also plan to use this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-First-Word-Julie-Clayden/dp/1904637310/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352653918&sr=8-1
Any other ideas for very littles would be gratefully received!
Thanks for the reminder. Advent is going to be here before we know it. I was wondering if you have a good (not too long since we have very little kids) reading that you can share with us for lighting the candles? Thanks
Also, side note….I’m curious, so you have sabbath dinner on Saturday nights, is that because your family does worship services on that day, or do you still worship on Sundays too? Thanks!
Thank you so much for the reminder. I definitely need to start praying and planning what to do with my three little boys!
Kathryn, they worship on Sundays (I’ve enjoyed getting to join in on their worship a couple of times while visiting there).
For our advent this year, since we have older children now, we’re trying Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree devotionals with beautiful ornaments to print out and hang on a tree or branch. It can be found by subscribing to A Holy Experience.
One fun little thing I’m adding this year is to wrap all of our Christmas books and label them 1-25 and put them in a basket on the fireplace to be opened one each day in December. It’s a fun way to savor the books and also another little anticipation builder for the kids……
I’m not sure I have quite 25 Christmas books yet, I haven’t pulled out the Christmas storage bins, but I’ll probably add in a few new ones this year and just go with how many ever that turns out to be.
http://showerofroses.blogspot.com/2011/11/preparing-for-advent-book-baskets.html As said above, this is a great idea!
Sarah. Thanks for posting that is a fabulous idea with the wrapping of books. Enjoy this blog very very much! Chocolate, hot, cold, molded and wrapped in mint! Will certainly include that in our advent season 🙂
Glad to see I’m not the only one who uses red and white advent wreath candles! I always felt slightly guilty about pitching the pink and purple so that my candles would match the rest of the table…
Sorry I didn’t see your question sooner, and thanks, Kim for answering for me. Yes, we worship Sunday morning. We view our Saturday night dinner as the family kick-off event. It just works best for us. No deep spiritual meaning about having it Saturday night, but it has worked well because then I’m not thinking about the dinner in the oven during church, Doug isn’t wiped out Saturday night like he is after the service on Sunday, and our kids can usually join us then. If you scroll down under categories, we have quite a few posts about Sabbath dinner, etc.
This just occurred to me in the middle of the night (it was prompted by going shopping to get chocolate snowmen to go in the advent calendar- I was heeding the advice re chocolate!) I can see by your photos you do stockings and I was planning to (I also got chocolate coins!)but how do you handle the Father Christmas issue? Do you do it at all, or do you do stockings and not mention the fat red man or a hybrid? I’m curious and would love to know what others do so I can figure out what we’re going to do. Thanks Emma
Emma, I just had the “Santa talk” with my 5 1/2 year old. I reminded him not to tell any of his friends that Santa is not real and doesn’t bring gifts since he knew this from the year before. He then asked “but isn’t Santa real”. So I told him the story of St Nicholas who lived long ago and gave gifts to children who didn’t have any and said that people still like to think of him and have made him into Santa that kids know now days. I don’t think there’s much wrong with Santa I just don’t like lying to my kids about where their gifts come from- just seems silly.
Thank you for all the information about advent! I was hoping to find a children’s book but will have to settle for compiling verses to go with the 24 days that I feel will fit my sons intrest level. Thank you also for reminding me not to force anything on my husband. I might just fit the advent reading in with our morning devotional since its just a good time of day for us. I actually went back through all your everything Christmas posts and found a lot of really helpful things. I really like your take on Christmas and the way you really celebrate and live it up.
I really enjoy your blog and have been learning so much from all of you!! Blessings to you in the upcoming busy weeks!