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.