As the reflections and memories of our Christmas season build, I'm thankful for the third year, now we've celebrated advent in our home.
It truly serves to lengthen and deepen our celebration of the anticipation of the birth of our Christ, much beyond the receiving of gifts. It is almost anti-consumerist in the way we participate and provides our family with rich memories and traditions for which to return in coming years.
If you've never considered celebrating the season of advent, a quick google search would give you the whys and how's, or give me a buzz and I could give you my hour soap box speech. But for this space, here are eight things I love about this year's advent season:
1. eating by candlelight :: Next year we're going to start the first day of advent with just one candle and grow from there! I've got a special space in mind to build a spot for this in the kitchen. A perfect reason to remodel the kitchen a bit!
2. a short and sweet devotional book :: We've used a different "reading" every year we've done advent thus far. I think depending on the ages of our kids, too, this is certainly appropriate as a family might require different themes to dwell on each year. This year, the book we enjoyed pointed every reading directly to Jesus as the long awaited one.
3. brainstorming activities to do with the kids :: Every year post Thanksgiving the kids and I make a huge list of fun activities to do during the advent season. Funny that on this year's activity list, nearly half the ideas revolved around snow...of which we've seen an abnormally small amount!
4. creating traditions :: If you've ever tried decorating a Christmas tree with kids, here is a sanity solution for you! Start by decorating the tree together. Then when it gets either too crazy or the kids lose interest, bring out the hot cocoa and put on the Polar Express. It's a tradition we've used for 5 years, now! The kids love decorating and I love rearranging while they merrily drink cocoa and watch a great family movie!
5. suprise advent activity :: The activities we do each night for advent is likely family fun we would get to during the holiday season. But the kids love the anticipation of our evening activities!
6. advent calendars :: I've yet to use the same idea every year. Eventually (note to self: check pinterest) I'd like to settle on using the same advent calendar every year. Especially if it's something we make together.
7. slowing down :: I'm sure as the kids age, we'll change what and how we do it. But I think doing advent has really slowed us down and helped us to truly appreciate the season and the meaning behind it for more than just Christmas Day/Eve.
8. planning ahead :: I've heard a lot of great things about the Jesse Tree and I believe you can hunt that down from simplemom.net or a holyexperience.com. I'd like to look into it more for next year, too.