Saturday, December 1, 2012

Creating an Advent Tradition

One of our Nativity sets

Growing up, we always had a chocolate Advent calendar and my four sisters and I took turns opening the little window and eating the chocolate. We didn't have any specific traditions for Advent that I can remember, and once our son was two we wanted to create some meaningful traditions of our own. For the first couple years after my son was born, we had the chocolate calendar and a few random activities but nothing very organized. This year I finally have something I created that we can follow each day. I gained my inspiration from Intentional Homeschool's 2011 and 2012 Advent posts. We truly desire to celebrate the birth of Jesus with a spirit of giving and have that be the most important thing our son takes into his heart during this season. We really enjoy spending family time together and we're looking forward to this.

Our new Avian Advent Calendar (and my son's very busy school desk)

My sister sent us a surprise Advent gift today ... a lovely Avian Advent calendar (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Each day of Advent there is a little door to open with a bird inside that you hang on the little tree. We'll be doing this daily along with letting my son open a chocolate Advent calendar like we had growing up. He always gets so excited about that.

I created a list of activities we'll do each day. Then I went searching for a list of Bible verses we can reflect on and discuss. I love this printable I found of Advent Bible verse cards which have the verses we'll use each day.

Our Advent Activities:
  • Color a picture for the garbage man (the man who smiles and waves to my son every week while we watch him through the window)
  • Listen to Christmas music and sing carols at home
  • Have eggnog and make Reindeer cookies
  • Go to Festival of Lights and drive around the neighborhood looking at the wonderful Christmas lights
  • Watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Make hot chocolate and stir with candy canes
  • Visit "Grandma Betty" (lady we adopted at a nearby care center); bring homemade Christmas card
  • Read story of the real St. Nicholas here or here
  • Create a food pantry box of food to donate
  • Go outside with telescope and binoculars to marvel at the stars
  • Make homemade suet treats for the birds
  • Read The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
  • Make our own Christmas snowflakes
  • Create a donation box of goods to donate and bring to Goodwill
  • Make and decorate Christmas cookies
  • Deliver Christmas cookie plates to neighbors
  • Footprint Reindeer Craft (another link here)
  • Make homemade Christmas cards to give to our family at Christmas
  • Go Christmas caroling 
  • Read story of The Very First Christmas with Nativity Stickers
  • Watch Nester the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey (one of my childhood favorites)
  • Make Eggnog Ice Cream from Stacy Makes Cents
  • Read My Birthday, Jesus' Birthday by Holly Davis
  • Make birthday cake for Jesus' Birthday
Two weeks before Christmas, we'll start listening to Karyn Henley's Christmas Night (Before I Dream) CD bible stories and songs at bedtime. There are 13 of them, so we'll start on Dec. 12th and finish on Christmas Eve.

I'm really looking forward to creating some neat family memories and a tradition to treasure. What Advent traditions do you have in your family? I'd love to hear about them.

Thanks for visiting!


Eileen said...

We went to Family Fusion at BH tonight for the first time. They had an Advent Calendar (okay, not really a calendar, it's just a chain of red and green loops) afterward for the kids to make. On each loop is a verse with a way/idea to "demonstrate" that verse on that particular day. I didn't look ahead so I don't know what is coming yet, but I'll let you know how it goes. Your ideas sound great :)

Momma Ley said...

This is pretty neat! I didn't know other Christians celebrated the liturgical calender... do you also celebrate Lent and Ordinary Time... or just Advent?

Brigitte said...

What wonderful ideas, I think some of these would be great to do with my daughter too.

Tea said...

Sounds like it will be lots of fun! :)

SweetLand Farm said...

We are celebrating Advent too! I love some of the things you do to make it special and something for the kiddos to look forward too! We look forward to reading Advent as well.
I've had to move my blog, so its still me just a new name. hope to see you there!

Tracey M. said...

Eileen: We have yet to make the Family Fusion but I think it will be a blast. I love the loop idea.

Ley: Our family does observe Lent too, no sort of "ordinary time" observance per se but try to cultivate gratitude throughout the year. I think many other denominations observe Lent & Advent too.

Brigitte, Tea & SweetLand: Thanks for your sweet comments too.

Momma Ley said...

That's pretty awesome! I had no idea!

Mel S. said...

Awesome that you made a list. I should do that so we don't miss something! The season is so busy! I saw your comment on our blog. We are in the Downer's Grove area from time to time. We like to shop in Lombard. Glad you found the giveaway! It is a good one!

Following you back.

Mel S

Lovin' Life said...

What great Advent activities! I liked the idea of the treats for the birds. This year we are making 25 days of Christmas cookies. :)
Merry Christmas!

Bev said...

hi, i following the "aloha affair" blog hop. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it.

new follower bev

Nicole Buckingham said...

what a beautiful way to put Christmas in all your days. love.

The boys and I will be boarding a plane soon in search of holidays with loved ones and snow-- oh my goodness we may just freeze our little island toes off, but I wanted to stop by here first, to:

Thank you for being a sweet part of last week's An Aloha Affair.
And, to personally invite you to join us again today.


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