28 November 2010

Advent At Our House

I didn't think I would be the first person posting in our themed weeks, but here we are on Sunday (my day) and the topic is Advent, so here goes nothing!  Growing up, we did things in a very traditional way.  Christmas decorations always went up the weekend after Thanksgiving and didn't come down until January 6. We did Advent devotions together as a family each night during the Advent season, and had the traditional Advent wreath on our table with the purple, pink, and white candles all month.  We got to light the candles on the correct Sundays, and I have fond memories of it all.  Each year I determine that I am going to get an advent wreath, but they are not sold everywhere anymore (probably as Christmas has become more about Santa, and less about Christ with many in the world).  So we have yet to form a spiritual Advent tradition that has stuck, but I have some ideas for this year!

We have two Advent calendars that have become beloved in our family, though.  The first is one that hangs on the wall, and was given to me and Jerry shortly after we were married by Jerry's parents.  I thought it was funny at the time because it is clearly for children, but we hung it every year, and faithfully put the pieces out one per day until the full nativity scene was completed by adding baby Jesus to the manger on Christmas morning.

The Advent calendar as it looks before Advent begins.  Aaron grabbed it and put it up as soon as he saw it in the box, so clearly the children love it as much as we do! 

I put a bunch of the pieces on so you could get the idea.  I even put baby Jesus in the manger... ::gasp!::

 These days, the pieces don't go up one a day with all the characters going in the proper places.  The kids love to put them up and take them down and don't really use this one to actually count down the days until Christmas.  I even find donkeys in the sky and fallen stars on the ground at times, but it's okay. They have lots of fun with it!

The newer tradition that has taken over as our family favorite is this wooden house that my parents gave us three years ago.

It has a door for each day in December counting down to Christmas.  The first year I put a little candy in the box for each day, and then we moved to small trinkets and candies mixed together.  Last year, after learning of all of the food allergies the kids have, we couldn't really do candy, so when I discovered that Michael's had all of their little $1-$2.50 trinkets on sale at half off, I grabbed up 24 days worth for both of the boys and got Advent gifts for the kids for under $30.  I put a clue to where each toy was hidden in the box and the kids went on a scavenger hunt through the house to find them.  That was a lot of fun, but I have decided to change gears this year for a couple of reasons.  First, I am so over having lots of little trinkets in our house that are super exciting for 31 minutes and then just clutter up the place for years after. Plus, I mentioned missing the spiritual part of our Advent devotions growing up, so I am going to fix these two issues this year.  First, for the prizes in the box, I am going to get a lego set for each boy and divide the pieces up into 24 little baggies.  The first day they will get the directions and a bag of pieces that they need for the first step, then each day they'll get a few more pieces.  By Christmas, they'll have the full lego set built! No crappy little toys and I know they'll like it for years to come.  As far as the spiritual side goes, I think I will put a Scripture verse reference in each box with the clue so that the kids can look up a verse that goes with Advent each day.  We can do it together as a family, and I think that will be fun!

Anyway, that's how we do Advent at our house.  How is it at your house?


Joanna said...

Wow. I'm in awe. I'm such an advent dummy. I'm never prepared for it at all.

Tina said...

I love your idea and am totally with you on the idea of not having so many trinkets lying around the house. We have made it a big point the last few years to try our best to limit the number of toys and junk we bring in, which is hard this time of the year!

Grandma said...

The Lego idea is awesome!