Keeping Advent

Advent is absolutely our favorite time of the year! I love Lent too, but Advent with kids is really fun. We’ve established some meaningful traditions that the kids look forward to each year.  This year I want to add a few more traditions and change a few things.  In the past we have decorated the house and started listening to carols and Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day, but this year, I want to postpone these things until Saint Nicholas Day.  I want to start focusing on the waiting aspect of Advent.  Catholic All Year has really inspired me, though her blog is not the only one I have read this past week that has talked about that.

Here’s what we’ve done and what I would like to add.

November 30th – start the Novena to Saint Andrew (new to us)

December 1st is the first Sunday of Advent and I will take out our Jesse Tree and Advent Candles and Advent Spiral.  We will set up our nativity scenes minus baby Jesus.  This Jesse Tree tea looks fun and I mention it so I can find it again 🙂

(We have a peg doll for each day now, so I will have to photograph it and update this photo when I get out the box. We place the peg dolls on the spiral each day.)

(photo from 2010)

We light the Advent candles (I have different candles and there’s no wreath now – it took up too much space) and pray every morning at breakfast.

We will start reading one Christmas book per day until Epiphany. I won’t wrap them this year, but I’ll bring out a “new” one each day from our stash.  We’ve already started reading Christmas books from the library, only because I wanted to make sure we’d be able to procure them before everyone started their Christmas requests..  I am checking out some new Christmas books to see which I may want to purchase for next year.  An Orange for Frankie and Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco are two gems I had never read before that we read this week that will go on that list.

We also watch Holy Heroes Advent Adventure in the evening before dinner.

December 6 Feast of Saint Nicholas – Bear and J-jo put out a shoe and a carrot before going to bed on the 5th and find a present when they wake up.  It’s usually a book, a clementine, and some chocolate coins. We will put up the Christmas Tree.

December 8The Immaculate Conception – besides going to Mass, we have never done anything special, but inspired by Shower of Roses, we may have gingerbread and have a white candle with a blue ribbon around it at breakfast.

December 9San Juan Diego – making this paper doll might be fun and not add too much to an already busy week.

December 12 – Our Lady of Guadelupe  – we celebrated this last year by reading the book by Tomie dePaola.  We’ll do that again, but I will also make a Mexican dish for dinner this night as a new tradition and for lunch I may attempt a simplified version of this tea.

December 13 – The Feast of Santa Lucia is my favorite part of Advent, partly because I think Bear looks adorable dressed as Santa Lucia, but also because it is just something that is entirely different to anything we ever do and that makes it feel extra special.

December 17 – this starts the O Antiphons. This will be a new tradition for us.  I will let Shower of Roses explain those to you.

December 18 – Ginger bread houses – Every year we save our Halloween candy to use to decorate our gingerbread houses.  The kids look forward to this creative project.

December 19 – Get our poinsettia and read The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola.

December 21 – Drive around town to see Christmas lights.

December 22 – Make a Crown cake.

December 23 – the last O Antiphon

Some time during Advent, we will do a Bethlehem walk with our homeschool group.

What Advent Traditions do you have?