Before Advent even began, we wrote about how we were learning what it meant to celebrate Advent. We had our pretty Advent calendar, stocked with 24 wonderful ideas that would help us celebrate Advent meaningfully. We planned on keeping things simple, but making it meaningful by explaining the history and reasoning behind some of our new traditions. We also planned on saving the Christmas stuff for Christmas. No Christmas music, no Christmas cookies, no Christmas movies, no Christmas tree during Advent, no Christmas decorations. We also wanted to keep this season ‘green’ by making sustainable choices with our food, presents, and other traditions. Finally, we wanted to begin celebrating the Little HolyDays throughout the liturgical year, and picked Advent as the time to start. For us, this included celebrating many different Feast Days that we never had before.
So how did we do?
I am extremely proud of our efforts, and I think we truly learned what it means to celebrate Advent meaningfully. Success! Now there’s just one problem…
December was a busy month at school (Read: a sleep deprived mess with the majority of my energy coming from stacks on stacks on stacks of sweet treats and far too many caffeinated beverages). While we kept all the traditions and plans we had meant to do, and took plenty of pictures, I didn’t always have time to write a post about it. Ok, I never had time to write a post about it. I have a dozen posts that are saved as drafts right now with just a few sentences and pics, just waiting to be finished and published. The joys of perfectionism! Anyways, I thought the best way to share our Advent season with you would be to finally post all these drafts! They’ll be back-dated to the day I started writing the post (two or three weeks ago in some cases…*ahem*). I worried they would get lost in the many wonderful and exciting articles that we already have for Decemeber (ha! little joke there ) so this post is going to be serving as an index. As I finish the posts and publish them, I’ll update this post with a link to each article. Yay! So check back here at least once a week, because I anticipate publishing at least one if not two articles each week. Hey, it’s my winter break! I plan on taking these next six weeks nice and slow.
Here are some of the things we did this Advent:
- Our Homemade Advent Calendar. It was whipped together in all of an hour, looked beautiful, and was a great place to display Christmas cards as the envelopes became fewer and fewer.
- The Shrinky-Dink Jesse Tree. This one was 100% dad’s idea and creation, and was probably one of the best executed things this season. Maybe we should keep this in mind when we celebrate Advent next year?
- Dad’s Advent Calendar. Similar to a normal calendar, in that there are 24 items. Different from a normal calendar, in that said items are entirely composed of… beer. Locally brewed, of course!
- Our very first day of Advent included everyone drinking fair-trade hot chocolate and receiving cozy new slippers. The slippers were a must, because St. Nick would be coming soon!
- An act of charity for our local animal population. We made all sorts of different bird feeders (which really ended up being squirrel feeders, but hey, animals are animals, right?) and hung them outside.
- St. Nicholas Day! Yay for artistic cookie renditions of St. Nick, figuring out how to “make” our own Saint candle, and little ones waking up early to see what St. Nick brought them. We read books about St. Nick in the days leading up to it, and Aiden woke up just as excited as he did for Christmas!
- Celebrating St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. We had a lot of fun decorating for this one. We also had a serious Mexican feast!
- The Feast of St. Lucia, or St. Lucy! We had a delicious “crown” of gluten-free cinnamon rolls, complete with candles. The kids were as excited to blow out the candles as they were on the birthdays! The magic of candles to children.
- We want to celebrate more global, multicultural, traditions, and we decided to begin with the ones from our own heritage. That would be German from my mom’s side, Irish from my dad’s side, and Swedish from Sean. We want to have traditional Christmas feasts and traditions from these different cultures during the 12 Days of Christmas, so we did a little German test run during Advent. Result: If we lived in Germany, none of us would starve from picky eating. People ate more of the German food than they usually eat of American food!
- We decorated Gingerbread houses. Mom and dad may have gotten a little too competitive. No problem, we were up for the challenge
Check back soon for updated links to all of our Advent celebrations. Merry Christmas!