Advent is probably my favorite season in the Church calendar. I love the emphasis on waiting. I love the idea of adding a new little tradition each year. I love the excitement that builds, and the planning, and the cleaning....
I wanted to share the things that we are doing this year, noting that most of these have been built up from the very beginning of our marriage.
I made this Advent calendar last year. It's a little plain right now, but I'm ok with that. Each year I plan on adding a little something to it. Last year we put those little candy bars in each pocket and the kids got to share it each morning after breakfast. This year I wanted to de-emphasize the treats during Advent so the treats during Christmas would have a bit more meaning. So I scoured the internet looking for bible verses on the prophesies of the coming Messiah, along with Gospel verses leading up to the Birth. I found this article, and tweaked it a little to suit my purposes. The candy is saved for special feast days and the Sundays of Advent. See the pink bits of paper for the third week in Advent? Next year I'm thinking of making little Jesse tree style ornaments to hide in the pockets, but we'll see.
Another thing we do is decorate the tree slowly. We each pick one ornament a night to add to our little tree.
Even the baby gets to pick.
Most of our ornaments are special. We let each kid pick out one special one from the store each year and write their names on them. My goal is to have a set of ornaments for each kid after to move out of the house. We have yet to do it this year, it's on the to do list. :)
This year we went to a Christ the King celebration at a friends house. She had made these little mangers for each kid and gave us each a bag of straw with a baby Jesus hidden inside. For each good thing I catch the kids doing, they get a piece of straw to add to the manger. They are working on making a very soft bed for baby Jesus. (And if you look closely at the Advent calendar, the two baby Jesus' are hidden in the pocket of the 25th).
Our first married Christmas together, we made a simple Advent wreath together. And we did the same on our second Christmas too. So this one is the first one we made, and we hung the other one on the front door. I didn't make it in time to find Advent candles this year, but had some left over from last year. We light the candles at dinner, and after prayers Dan reads from the little book while the kids eat.
Throughout the house are little touches, little reminders of what we are preparing for. My husband's parents sent this little nativity to him while he spending his first Christmas away from home stationed in the Middle East while in the Navy.
We have a couple of children's nativity sets. This one is the most little kid friendly one we have. Certain figures are put away still, again because we are waiting.
These are the other two nativity sets we have. All were given to us, not bought. The playmobil one is great, but has lots of small pieces so we don't get it out often. Maybe when the kids are older. The top one I think I am going to bring with us to Wyoming when we go for Christmas. It's a hands on one and is small enough for travel.
The baby Jesus' are hidden on the shelf.
It's almost the third Sunday in Advent. The anticipation is building.