Every year Advent seems to sneak up on me. Between Halloween, All Saints Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and Maggie's birthday, I'm always like "Oh right! Advent!" We don't even "do" much as a family for Advent besides lighting the Advent wreath and reading Advent-y books and decorating for Christmas. Some years when I aim to be more on the ball (not this year - ha!) I try to refrain from sweets and play the Wisemen Adventures with the little kids. But for now, here's what we love about Advent:
Praying the St. Andrew Novena (from Nov. 30 through Christmas Eve):
St. Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.
This is our Celtic Advent Wreath, although instead of flowers, I now like to put a statue of Our Lady pregnant with the Christ child to remind us of the waiting season that we are in. We currently use these Battery operated Candles but in the past have made our own or just bought simple ones (tip - buy two packs so you're good for awhile, or in case one breaks or melts).
Cooking from the Vatican Christmas Cookbook to bring a taste of Rome and other countries to our humble home.
Why have reindeer and candy canes decorating your front lawn when you can have the real Reason for the Season? (I have nothing against reindeer and candy canes in addition!) This Beautiful Nativity looks great in the daylight and at night.
We read Advent-y books. My book club is wrapping up Gaze Upon Jesus, which has been a nice Advent journey book for group discussions. I want to get my hands on this one next (hint, hint Phil). Maggie (age 13) recently read and loved Amon's Adventure which is an Easter story, but the author has FOUR books for Advent too! Guess what she's getting for her birthday? (shhhh don't tell!) The little ones love to read and reread The First Christmas, The Spider Who Saved Christmas, and The Grumpy Old Ox.
We celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6 with some chocolates and maybe a small gift in their stocking. Holiday pajamas are great to give on this day so that they can wear them for all of December. And you know what they say, "The family that wears matching pj's...is forced to sit for a family picture".
Finally, we eat Mexican food and have Choco Tacos for dessert on Dec. 12th, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!
And that's all I got! I hope these simple family traditions not only bring us happy memories but truly teach my kids the great joy that can be found in anticipating and preparing to meet their Savior. What are your favorite family Advent traditions?