DhanyaCali

Advent traditions

Recommended Posts

DhanyaCali

Will you share your advent traditions with me?

 

We never did anything for it growing up, though there was the advent wreath in church. I'd like to something with my family for advent, but spiritual like, all these "advent" countdowns I see online are just calenders stuffed with candy. Or "Countdowns to Santa" lol no thank you.

 

Do you do an advent wreath at home is there anything else you do for the special season please share with me, links and pictures too if you like my family is a blank canvas :D Looking forward to the birth of the Savior! <3

 

Oh we're protestant (Methodist/congregational) if it matters.

Edited by DhanyaCali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwilterd

Check out Jotham's Journey! We did it last year and bought an advent wreath to use along with it. It was our first attempt at doing anything like that as a family and I would say it was generally a success. http://www.sonlight.com/RC4.html

 

Last year, Sonlight offered these books at a significant discount during their Christmas sale which began before Thanksgiving, if I recall correctly. No guarantees they'll do it again, but it's possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DhanyaCali

Thanks for sharing! I didn't even know about these books, that they existed or that SL carries them. Do you think it'd be good for little one's? My oldest is 4.5. Sometimes I shy away from Bible times fiction so as not to confuse him about what's truth and what's a story with a true message, but I'm willing to check these out :) Literally, because my states library has the 1st one, and I've requested it to check it out before the season is upon us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DhanyaCali

Sidenote, the irony of me denouncing Santa Clause while being dressed up as a reindeer in my profile picture is not lost on me, lol!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dwilterd

Thanks for sharing! I didn't even know about these books, that they existed or that SL carries them. Do you think it'd be good for little one's? My oldest is 4.5. Sometimes I shy away from Bible times fiction so as not to confuse him about what's truth and what's a story with a true message, but I'm willing to check these out :) Literally, because my states library has the 1st one, and I've requested it to check it out before the season is upon us.

 

Our kids are older, my youngest was 5 when we did this last year and she got bored with the story. Definitely something to keep in mind in a few years though!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
greenbeanmama

We tried Jotham's Journey last year. My oldest (just turned seven, then) followed along, but my four-year-old was just too young.

I LOVE the idea of a spiral advent wreath. And I know some ladies here have made really nice versions of the Jesse Tree.

Edited by greenbeanmama

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
texasmomtothree

For preschool age I know I've used a big "book" that had little mini books for each day of advent that told the story of Jesus's birth a little bit each day and each book after it was read was hung on the Christmas tree as an ornament.  Or an advent calendar where you lift the flap each day and read part of the Christmas story.  Something short and sweet and hands on is great for this age.  You can add in an advent wreath with candles if you like and a short prayer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
polarbearla

We do several things for Advent. We do the Jesse Tree. If you Google you will find tons of stuff. Basically you read various stories from the bible that lead up to Christs birth, than you hang an ornament on a mini tree or an ornamental tree that represents that story. We do this before bedtime. We have a special place where we put the tree and bible. Here is the tree I bought for this tradition and I absolutely love it, we have had it for several years. You can make these ornaments or some places online you can purchase them. We love this tradition and have been doing it for several years now. It can be anywhere from 25 ornaments to over 50 depending on what tradition and version you use. We are not Protestant but Eastern Orthodox and so our Nativity Season lasts for 40 days before Christmas and 12 days of Christmas, so we do the Jesse Tree for 52 days, each night reading from the bible and saying a prayer. I must say I really love continuing the tradition for the days after Christmas as there are lots of great bible readings for that time. For us Christmas starts on Christmas day and lasts for 12 days. Other traditions have the 25 days before Christmas. 

 

We also do an Advent wreath and every Sunday we do a special prayer as a family and light a candle. I love this tradition because again this focuses on Christ, but also it is beautiful because for each Sunday you will not only light the candle for this Sunday but also the previous Sunday candles. So when Christmas morning comes the whole wreath is lit and it's really beautiful. We light the wreath and do the prayers before we open presents on Christmas morning. Each candle represents something. If you Google you will find prayers and information. Some wreaths have where each candle is a different color, but I found it hard to find the colored candles as I like the long taper candles. So, I tie a ribbon on each candle to represent the color. MAKE SURE you tie the ribbon close to the bottom so it won't burn, ask me how I know!! :lol:

 

I just want to say that our family loves santa and snowmen and reindeer, Christmas cookies, presents and Christmas trees and just all the holiday stuff. But, I also love these Christ centered traditions that we do, as they really balance it all out.   

 

ETA: I suggest using a children's bible for the Jesse Tree since your children are so young. Than for the Advent Wreath just explain to them what each color/candle represents and talk about it and than do a prayer. 

Edited by polarbearla
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rajahope1

We do something similar to this: https://www.etsy.com/listing/155947513/christmas-advent-calendar-stamped-muslin?ref=sr_gallery_5&ga_search_query=advent+bags+muslin&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

 

We have 4x6 bags and I put 25 verses/pictures on 3x5 index cards that tell the story (I'd be happy to email it to you - it's a Publisher file) .  So each bag has a card and then a piece of candy for each member of our family.  Sometimes I'll put in other little treats instead (erasers, special pens, etc.)  We found that the candy helps us all remember to open the bag each day.  This year we'll probably do it at dinner since that's the only meal we're all together.

 

We also set up a non-breakable nativity set with just the stable and animals.  Mary and Joseph are hiding in a different spot in the house each morning as they make their journey to Bethlehem.  They arrive and Jesus is in the manger on Christmas morning. I think we've had the shepherds and wise men show up in the week after Christmas but that depends on our travel plans and if we're going to be home.  :)  Throughout the month the kids take it down and enjoy telling the story as best as they can remember it.  The set we had is no longer available but I really like these:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/artsoftheheart?section_id=6088413&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DhanyaCali

Awesome! Thank you!

 

I had never even heard of Jesse/Joshua tree for Christmas. I like the idea of little bits of the Bible leading up to Christmas day. On the FLIP side of the holiday year we started doing resurrection eggs at Easter LOVE that fun christ centered lead up.

 

Polarbeara I like all your ideas! I want to let you know that I am also Christmas crazy, I love the trees the lights, glass pickles, presents decorations pretty much EVERYTHING else too! Just hubby and I decided when we were new parents that we would skip the Santa myth. We stuff each others stocking Christmas eve, all sneaky like, DS4 really likes "playing" at Santa.

 

I love that spiral wreath too! Mega $$$$, lol. I think I'll make a simple one, 4 candles like at church and that's a great tip on coloring them if I can't find the candles maybe I'll do ribbons or rhinestones or something :D I think it's be great for Saturday nights, everyone is here, and Sunday mornings are kind of HECTIC getting everyone out the door for church and me making sure I have the Sunday school stuff ready. 

 

RajaHope I would love if you would email that to me! Dhanyadasi@gmail.com

We have a non breakable nativity set, actually it's already out. Ds4 begged me to bring it up from the cellar this summer and finally I relented, he plays with it quite a bit.

 

Thank you all for your suggestions! I'll have to look around and see what level of prayers/stories/devotions will be best for us this year. I am very excited about incorporating this! <3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Laura Q.

I love the Jesse Tree! My girlfriend made the ornaments out of those plastic beads that stick together when you melt them with an iron, but I've also seen books with ornaments that you can photocopy and let your children color.

 

I miss those days of looking forward to Christmas with littles!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mustang67

We also do a Jesse Tree using this devotional.  http://www.amazon.com/The-Advent-Jesse-Tree-Devotions/dp/1426712103. I made ornaments years ago for each day and we have a small tree that use to add our ornaments. 

 

I have also always wanted to use this with preschoolers, but it came along after mine were too old. http://truthinthetinsel.com/buy-the-book/

Edited by mustang67

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
smoothfish

We do a Jesse Tree as well. The kids really love it and it doesn't have to take much time. We enjoy Ann Voskamp's the most but there is also one to use with the "Jesus Storybook Bible" that a lot of my friends with younger kids like to use. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Best Mommy

Santa doesn't visit our home,BUT....we have the Sneaky Snowman come to play.  Every night he does something super silly trying to make Christmas morning come faster, but it never works!  Something else we are going to do this year is take an old baby cradle and put it near the tree.  Every Sunday we will "draw" names to anonymously serve each other all week long (like make someone's bed, do their chore, or layout their jammies), and each time that happens we will get some hay and put it in the cradle.  The goal is to have the cradle full of hay and ready for baby Jesus to arrive!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
janddmom

We do Jesse Tree also. But instead of making ornaments, I print out pictures of an item that goes with each day for the kids to color. Then they make their own tree on one of our walls. That way they each get their own "tree" (although they don't always look like trees!)

We also do an advent book count down. I have a bag that I took a piece of Christmasy material and sewed three sides up. Each morning it will be on the dining room table for the kids to open. We do a Christmas book each day. Some are fluffy books, but other are books with a good message or bible stories I've collected over the years.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarefootLady

We did Jotham's Journey last year, with 4.5 and 2.5 year old.  They enjoyed it and were able to follow along with the story line.  We will be doing Tabitha's Travels this year.  They also have a book for lent about Jotham's son which we did this year (leads up to easter) and it was great too.  I think With young kids and Jotham books, you have to be willing to break a reading up into multiple sessions throughout the day and be willing to read it early, when their attention is best (we read it over breakfast while mama sips her coffee!).  I also preemptively explain things to help them follow the plot line, or ask the older one a question to help the younger one understand.

 

We love advent and my kids love candles, so I made an advent weath out of wood (painted green), and hot glued glass pillar candle dishes to it.  I also had a small nativity with 2 inch wooden figures and they are glued around the candle holders (sheperds and sheep around the sheperd candle, mary and joseph and their donkey around the bethleham candle, angel by the angel candle and so forth.  I use pillar candles because we light them at every meal for all of advent and the advent wreath is our center peice on the table.  So taper candles do not hold up to this kind of burn time.  But it keeps us focused on Christ and talking about advent.Christ all through the season - it is not just for sundays :)  So we light the first candle on sunday morning, and all week light the first candle.  Then next sunday, we do the 2 candles and so forth.  We do the pink/purple/white candles as that is what I was raised with, and they are easy to find in spring time, so I tend to stock up and store them (all my christmas/advent things fit in one bin, so adding some candles to the bin in the spring is not a big storage issue for me).  Also, I like to start advent with an extra purple candle or 2, because we are using them alot :)

 

We also are working on creating traditional activities for each sunday of advent as our children get older, all with a service orientation of some kind, and an element of fun as well and I would like to coordinate them with the meanings of the candles.  This is somewhat of a work in progress, but one  "birthday gift" we can give Christ is service to others and we would like to teach our children that not only is service good to do, but there can be great joy in service. 

 

We also have a child-freiendly nativity and it comes out on the first sunday of advent and gets put up shortly after christmas.  This keeps it special and "for" advent.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Karla C

This is such a great thread! I'm going to move it to our newly-reopened Home for the Holidays forum to continue the discussion there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
doxa

We do several things for Advent. We do the Jesse Tree. If you Google you will find tons of stuff. Basically you read various stories from the bible that lead up to Christs birth, than you hang an ornament on a mini tree or an ornamental tree that represents that story. We do this before bedtime. We have a special place where we put the tree and bible. Here is the tree I bought for this tradition and I absolutely love it, we have had it for several years. You can make these ornaments or some places online you can purchase them. We love this tradition and have been doing it for several years now. It can be anywhere from 25 ornaments to over 50 depending on what tradition and version you use. We are not Protestant but Eastern Orthodox and so our Nativity Season lasts for 40 days before Christmas and 12 days of Christmas, so we do the Jesse Tree for 52 days, each night reading from the bible and saying a prayer. I must say I really love continuing the tradition for the days after Christmas as there are lots of great bible readings for that time. For us Christmas starts on Christmas day and lasts for 12 days. Other traditions have the 25 days before Christmas. 

 

We also do an Advent wreath and every Sunday we do a special prayer as a family and light a candle. I love this tradition because again this focuses on Christ, but also it is beautiful because for each Sunday you will not only light the candle for this Sunday but also the previous Sunday candles. So when Christmas morning comes the whole wreath is lit and it's really beautiful. We light the wreath and do the prayers before we open presents on Christmas morning. Each candle represents something. If you Google you will find prayers and information. Some wreaths have where each candle is a different color, but I found it hard to find the colored candles as I like the long taper candles. So, I tie a ribbon on each candle to represent the color. MAKE SURE you tie the ribbon close to the bottom so it won't burn, ask me how I know!! :lol:

 

I just want to say that our family loves santa and snowmen and reindeer, Christmas cookies, presents and Christmas trees and just all the holiday stuff. But, I also love these Christ centered traditions that we do, as they really balance it all out.   

 

ETA: I suggest using a children's bible for the Jesse Tree since your children are so young. Than for the Advent Wreath just explain to them what each color/candle represents and talk about it and than do a prayer. 

 

Nancy Anne, have you found any Orthodox Advent Wreaths?  I would love to have one with the 6 candles and the Christ candles and accompanying prayers.  Any suggestions?

 

This is my favorite Advent calendar.  Each magnetic piece is used to construct a nativity scene, not little treats and whatnot.  We love this one:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Kurt-Adler-Nativity-Calendar-Magnetic/dp/B0002TUVEO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1415085797&sr=8-5&keywords=wooden+advent+calendar+box

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChelC

We are doing a small tree and ornaments with a "Life of Christ" theme. It starts December 1 with the birth of Christ and ends December 25 with His resurrection. Each day has an ornament that goes with a scripture story, and sometimes there is an accompanying video. It's LDS in that it uses a few scripture references from the Book of Mormon. Most come from the gospels though and it's easily adaptable to any Christian denomination. I'll add a link in my edit. We plan to get some kind of tabletop tree to dedicate to it.

http://25daysofchrist.com/pages/the-twenty-five-days

Edited by ChelC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Momof4JackAttacks

We've been reading this book for many years at Advent time.

http://www.adventbook.com/v3/index.html

Its a beautiful book with lovely art and advent story.

 

We have also read Jotham's Journey and Bartholomew's Passage. There is a third advent book, Tabitha's Travels, that we will be reading this Advent season.

 

We've also done this Names of Jesus Advent Chain.

http://www.spelloutloud.com/names-of-jesus-advent-chain.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kolamum

We also read a book from the Jotham Trilogy, despite my eldest being 13 for another few months. In fact if we don't read it he gets very disappointed. ;) He's most certainly my "traditions" child & I love that because I love tradition. However, we also have another book called The Christmas Mystery I believe it is. There's one reading per day for 25 days. It's quite an interesting read which we discovered at the library a few years ago. My boys love it & if you've read the book will understand why they shout out Lambkin every time they see a lamb in December.

 

My children had no idea about a traditional Advent calendar {toys or chocolate} prior to that book & so when I purchased the book that year we also ended up getting a small toy filled calendar. They took turns opening it & one got all the "cool" goodies while the other got all the stickers. :lol: They swapped around to even it out. BUT, the following year I filled some homemade little Felt Reindeer we've used to count down with before with lego. I bought 2 sets & printed out some cute little jokes & riddles. Then hubby & I broke down the pieces into little baggies & hubby did the math {at 12 am I was useless} to get it all evened out.. & we slipped the lego baggies into the little reindeer. They LOVED it & it was much cheaper then the $50 Lego Advent calendar.

 

Last year I wanted to try doing THIS with my kids. We don't do Santa or Elf or any of that, but I lOVED this idea. Anyway, we got stuck moving on the 19th of December. I was the grinch last year for Christmas, but put on the best face I could. A sweet friend made sure my kids had decorations for the house & beds to sleep in by the end of the 19th. So Instead of that tradition being started I stayed up well past social hours & put together our Christmas tree. While I was sad not to start that tradition last year I'll never forget the smiles on my kids faces when they got up & realised the tree was up. ;)  I've actually pulled our wisemen out & made sure they are ready to roll for the end of the month. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Momof4JackAttacks

We also read a book from the Jotham Trilogy, despite my eldest being 13 for another few months. In fact if we don't read it he gets very disappointed. ;) He's most certainly my "traditions" child & I love that because I love tradition. However, we also have another book called The Christmas Mystery I believe it is. There's one reading per day for 25 days. It's quite an interesting read which we discovered at the library a few years ago. My boys love it & if you've read the book will understand why they shout out Lambkin every time they see a lamb in December.

 

My children had no idea about a traditional Advent calendar {toys or chocolate} prior to that book & so when I purchased the book that year we also ended up getting a small toy filled calendar. They took turns opening it & one got all the "cool" goodies while the other got all the stickers. :lol: They swapped around to even it out. BUT, the following year I filled some homemade little Felt Reindeer we've used to count down with before with lego. I bought 2 sets & printed out some cute little jokes & riddles. Then hubby & I broke down the pieces into little baggies & hubby did the math {at 12 am I was useless} to get it all evened out.. & we slipped the lego baggies into the little reindeer. They LOVED it & it was much cheaper then the $50 Lego Advent calendar.

 

Last year I wanted to try doing THIS with my kids. We don't do Santa or Elf or any of that, but I lOVED this idea. Anyway, we got stuck moving on the 19th of December. I was the grinch last year for Christmas, but put on the best face I could. A sweet friend made sure my kids had decorations for the house & beds to sleep in by the end of the 19th. So Instead of that tradition being started I stayed up well past social hours & put together our Christmas tree. While I was sad not to start that tradition last year I'll never forget the smiles on my kids faces when they got up & realised the tree was up. ;)  I've actually pulled our wisemen out & made sure they are ready to roll for the end of the month. :D

OT Kolamum, how do you put a link in in your post and then type it in your own words? I haven't figured out how to do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mustang67

OT Kolamum, how do you put a link in in your post and then type it in your own words? I haven't figured out how to do that.

Not Kolamom, but you can hyperlink any text with the little icon that looks like a chain with a green ring hanging off that says link. Just highlight the text, hit the icon and then paste the webaddress of whatever you want to link in the box that pops up. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kolamum

OT Kolamum, how do you put a link in in your post and then type it in your own words? I haven't figured out how to do that.

 

No, I type in the word, highlight it & then click the icon at the top of the text box {chain with a plus sign on it} & paste my link in there. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MommyPenguin

I want to try something new this year.  I saw a cute idea for an "Advent Calendar" made of books!  You pick out 24 books (the original idea was to buy 24 books, but you could easily pull books off your bookshelves or use library books), one for each day of December.  Picture books, not chapter books.  Anyway, you wrap each book separately, and you pile them in a cute little stack.  Each day, your kids get to pick a book and you read it together.

 

I'm going to alter the plan just a bit, and instead of letting them pick, I'll number each book.  On December 1st, they need to find Book 1.  Etc.  That way, I can build in "themes."  We can spend a few days reading books about winter.  A few days reading books about charity.  A few days reading books about family and togetherness.  Etc.  In the build-up to Christmas, we'll read books that focus on the Christmas story, looking at different aspects of it, stuff like that.  I might wrap up the Jesus Storybook Bible with a specific bookmark, and we read that chapter as our story.  Etc.

 

I made a list of books that my library has that look interesting.  Books like, "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey," etc.

 

The tradition we did last year and have been doing for several years now is "Truth in the Tinsel."  It's a craft program that has a small craft for every day, along with a Bible reading and a short explanation of how that craft fits into the Bible story.  The crafts involve things like making a little sheep and reading about the shepherds, a star and learning about the star that pointed the wise men to Bethlehem, etc.  We would work on the crafts in the evenings, and sometimes we ran into gymnastics classes.  So we'd take our crafts along, and I'd do it with the older while the younger were in class, then vice versa.  I found very quickly that a lot of kids were intrigued and wanted to join in, so I started bringing extra supplies, and we had a whole little group of kids making Advent crafts every Tuesday evening.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kolamum

Oo, Sarah we did that one year. I also had a matching craft bag per child to go along with the book. My kids STILL remember that. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ptal04

Loved this thread and all the ideas!

We also do the Jesse Tree! I still read the stories to my kids from the Jesus Storybook Bible because we all love it and we started when they were young :) We also have a Christmas countdown jar and chain... The jar is a piece of candy each day (starts the day after Halloween and last until Christmas). The chain is just an old fashioned paper chain from construction paper. We make a list of actives we want to do and then I sort them into specific days based on our calendar. They are still surprised, have some say in the activities, but I can plan them out in a way that makes it possible for us to actually do them. Some are super simple, like hot cocoa and marshmallows in front of the fire, pizza picnic in front of the tree, see the lights, etc...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DhanyaCali
 

 

I'm going to alter the plan just a bit, and instead of letting them pick, I'll number each book.  On December 1st, they need to find Book 1.  Etc.  That way, I can build in "themes."  We can spend a few days reading books about winter.  A few days reading books about charity.  A few days reading books about family and togetherness.  Etc.  In the build-up to Christmas, we'll read books that focus on the Christmas story, looking at different aspects of it, stuff like that.  I might wrap up the Jesus Storybook Bible with a specific bookmark, and we read that chapter as our story.  Etc.

 

I made a list of books that my library has that look interesting.  Books like, "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey," etc.

 

 

Thank you Sarah! That sounds great, that list you made, did you put it online? If so will you link me to it?

 

One of the things I want to do is buy the kids each some Christmas books to bring out just for the season (We have some GREAT Easter ones, I really have Easter down for some reason, LOL! Lots of good stuff :) ) I'd like to get "Room for a little one" fr DS4, or maybe just check it out from the library again (and hmm we DO also have it Sunday school, it's just such a BEAUTIFUL picture book!). And maybe some of his favorite "characters" Christmas books, if they aren't too Santa-riffic. I just ordered "Really Woolly Jesus is Here" board book for the one year old (used of course!) I'd like to have quite the little collection by Christmas day, and of course we'll be library-ing all the way too!

 

I also plan on probably buying an advent wreath, I'm not crafty enough that I would trusty my own handiwork to support open flames! I think we are going to save Jesse tree for later years, it's quite a concept, and do the 24 piece Christmas Story that RajaHope sent me. I can't decide whether to hide that each morning fr DS4 to find, maybe with candy, or wait until Daddy comes home and we light the advent wreath and can all worship together. Hmm, we'll see! Saving Jotham for later ages too.

 

As for the countdown aspect, we'll have to do SOMETHING cause my oldest is pretty incessant about asking if the big day is at hand yet. I think I'd like to do it with activities like so many of you mentioned, sledding today, cocaco snuggles, lights drive, etc.I'm still looking into advent devotionals, I'll have to see if we need one on top of everything else we plan to do! I saw Truth in Tinsel last year and loved it, was going to do it until I saw the $$ price. I think I'll re-visit it because the price is probably something I can swing this year. And oh Kendra that Wise men idea is too cute!

 

I love Christmas!!!!!

and now Advent too ;)

Edited by DhanyaCali
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rbk mama

 

One of the things I want to do is buy the kids each some Christmas books to bring out just for the season (We have some GREAT Easter ones, I really have Easter down for some reason, LOL! Lots of good stuff :) ) I'd like to get "Room for a little one" fr DS4, or maybe just check it out from the library again (and hmm we DO also have it Sunday school, it's just such a BEAUTIFUL picture book!). And maybe some of his favorite "characters" Christmas books, if they aren't too Santa-riffic. I just ordered "Really Woolly Jesus is Here" board book for the one year old (used of course!) I'd like to have quite the little collection by Christmas day, and of course we'll be library-ing all the way too!

 

I also plan on probably buying an advent wreath, I'm not crafty enough that I would trusty my own handiwork to support open flames! I think we are going to save Jesse tree for later years, it's quite a concept, and do the 24 piece Christmas Story that RajaHope sent me. I can't decide whether to hide that each morning fr DS4 to find, maybe with candy, or wait until Daddy comes home and we light the advent wreath and can all worship together. Hmm, we'll see! Saving Jotham for later ages too.

 

As for the countdown aspect, we'll have to do SOMETHING cause my oldest is pretty incessant about asking if the big day is at hand yet. I think I'd like to do it with activities like so many of you mentioned, sledding today, cocaco snuggles, lights drive, etc.I'm still looking into advent devotionals, I'll have to see if we need one on top of everything else we plan to do! I saw Truth in Tinsel last year and loved it, was going to do it until I saw the $$ price. I think I'll re-visit it because the price is probably something I can swing this year. And oh Kendra that Wise men idea is too cute!

 

I love Christmas!!!!!

and now Advent too ;)

 

 

 

I am an ADVENT NUT!!  Since we live in a country where Christmas is not celebrated, its actually been easier for us to make the month of December entirely focused on Jesus' coming.  There's no pressure to do anything we don't want to.  It's awesome. 

 

We've been doing the 24 wrapped picture book countdown for several years now.  The first year I couldn't find enough books (no library here), and so a few of them were short stories I printed out from the computer and wrapped!  We now have enough that I can actually be a bit choosy and eliminate some of the lamer ones :).  I have a stack of books that are only brought out in Dec.-Jan, so all the kids, even the teens, enjoy seeing them.  (And each year I've added in a few new ones.)  We've done an advent calendar with scripture verses since our first was born.  A few years ago we added in a Jesse tree - small tabletop Christmas tree with paper ornaments that go with each day's reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  And then last year we added in the Truth in the Tinsel.  The $8 for the ebook is really worth it if you have preschoolers.  My girls were 6 and 3 last year and loved it; we'll do it again this year. 

 

We did Jotham's Journey 5 or 6 years ago and LOVED it.  It's really suspenseful.  Definitely for older kids, though.  We were all looking forward to the readings each night, and just being together around the lit advent wreath.  (The sequels to this were disappointing, though.  There is no suspense, as the "sequels" are really just Jotham's story retold by different people - so you already know what's going to happen.) The first two years our "wreath" was a cheap garland of fake flowers that I was able to find in a local shop, twisted around small tin cups that I stuck candles into.  Not very impressive to look at, but it worked!

 

After Jotham's Journey, we were all hooked on that evening time around the lit up advent wreath, so we kept that time, doing different things with it each year.  Two years ago we started having a worshipful, Christmas carol time with the advent wreath lit every evening.  DH put a ton of different youtube videos of Christmas songs we like on our TV, and we sing two or three each night, often with the girls dancing along.  The lights are all off except for the advent candles and 4 other candles (one for each kid to blow out at the end.)  It became the highlight of every day!  Even my teens love this time.  There's just something sweet and magical about having the lights off and being together around candles.  I remember not really liking the mandatory carol singing on Christmas Eve while I was growing up, so I love that each kid looks forward to this - and no one gets sick of it even though we do it every night in Dec. (thankfully there are SO MANY different great worshipful Christmas songs out now, so we don't have many repeats). 

 

Last year we ended up with a schedule like this:

 

Morning during family devo time:  Read from the Jesus Storybook Bible and put up the Jesse tree ornament

Afternoon:  Unwrap a Christmas picture book and read it.  Make the craft from the Truth in the Tinsel (just the littles).

Evening:  Read the scripture from the Advent calendar and put up the Advent Calendar ornament, light the candles, sing Christmas songs.

 

Can't wait to get started! :tender:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
polarbearla

Nancy Anne, have you found any Orthodox Advent Wreaths?  I would love to have one with the 6 candles and the Christ candles and accompanying prayers.  Any suggestions?

 

This is my favorite Advent calendar.  Each magnetic piece is used to construct a nativity scene, not little treats and whatnot.  We love this one:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Kurt-Adler-Nativity-Calendar-Magnetic/dp/B0002TUVEO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1415085797&sr=8-5&keywords=wooden+advent+calendar+box

 

doxa, 

 

I made my own wreath, it was pretty easy. If you gp to Michaels craft store they have wreaths, you can either buy a plain one and decorate it yourself or buy one that is already decorated. Than to make the candles stick in the wreath you can purchase small candle holders to sort of weave in the wreath or you can get some green styrofoam from that floral department and cut into squares and hide them in the wreath and than push the candles in and they hold pretty well. Candle holders would be better. Than you have one candle with a nice candle holder in the middle of the wreath to represent Christmas Day. I purchase white candles as I cannot find where to buy colored candles. Michaels does have some but not all the colors. I would much prefer the colored candles. So, I tied colored ribbon at the lower end of the candle.

 

Here is a link to the Orthodox website that has the information about what colors, bible verses and information about the Advent Wreath. 

Edited by polarbearla

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
doxa

doxa, 

 

I made my own wreath, it was pretty easy. If you gp to Michaels craft store they have wreaths, you can either buy a plain one and decorate it yourself or buy one that is already decorated. Than to make the candles stick in the wreath you can purchase small candle holders to sort of weave in the wreath or you can get some green styrofoam from that floral department and cut into squares and hide them in the wreath and than push the candles in and they hold pretty well. Candle holders would be better. Than you have one candle with a nice candle holder in the middle of the wreath to represent Christmas Day. I purchase white candles as I cannot find where to buy colored candles. Michaels does have some but not all the colors. I would much prefer the colored candles. So, I tied colored ribbon at the lower end of the candle.

 

Here is a link to the Orthodox website that has the information about what colors, bible verses and information about the Advent Wreath. 

 

Great link! Thanks, Nancy Ann.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rockhopper

So, as is usual for me, I'm kinda late to the party :-) but Advent is a big deal around here.

 

We actually started observing Advent when our youngest was born. One of our first purchases was the advent calendar Doxa linked. It is just gorgeous and has become the cornerstone of family traditions. In fact, I'm planning on sending each kid off to their own home someday with their own.

 

post-17516-0-67830200-1415764803_thumb.jpg

 

 

At the time we were low-church and non-liturgical, as we'd been all our lives. I really look back and see our early attempts at observing a bit of the church calendar as really formational to us spiritually, and a starting point that eventually led us to the incredibly big decision to leave the denomination of our youth, and our parents, and my grandparents and so on, to become Anglican. 

 

Now the season is actually a bit different for us. As a non-liturgical person, I imagined Advent in liturgical churches to be all about Advent calendars and baby Jesus and Christmas carols. Advent is actually a penitential season, very somber, a time to reflect on our need of a Saviour to come into the world to live and die as one of us, but also on our need of the Saviour's second coming, and how well we are filling our role as the Church in that ultimate plan of restoration -- how well we are reaching out to the world, and sharing God's love.

 

Nonetheless, we do a lot of fun Advent activities at home, and meaningful ones too. I started out, when my oldest was little, thinking we'd do the SAME things year after year. And a lot of things we do, but I've also realized something we need to change things up a little, or sometimes, like last year, when we were moving over Christmas, we need to make big adjustments.

 

Besides the magnetic Advent calendar, we always do some kind of special Bible readings. 

 

Depending on age levels, I've done construction paper rings with verses pasted inside, and another activity in which I wrapped up 25 small objects (things like a blue marble, to represent the earth) with a corresponding Scripture for each.

 

Although we've done a Jesus Tree at Lent for years and years, it wasn't until recently that we did a Jesse Tree. Not wanting to store too much stuff, I've just used our Jesus Tree branch. The first year I used Anne VosKamp's ornaments (on paper, with doubled Scotch tape to stick to our felt banner) and her readings. But she's just kinda too poetic for me and mine, so we've wandered around a bit finding things we like better. And I've gradually started making circle felt ornaments for the Tree.

 

This last year, we used The Jesse Tree book that Sonlight sold/sells. We really liked it! In our house, read-alouds are tricky because of our age range -- this held the attention and enjoyment of the 40-somethings, the teen and the elementary-aged kid. Really just the littlest one didn't tune in. It's told as a story of a carpenter in a church in England, carving a wooden Jesse Tree for the church. During the summer, a "vacation kid" keeps dropping by, and the carpenter unwillingly ends up telling the boy the story of each figure he's carving.

 

We always do our Advent readings before bed. The kids take turns putting the figure on the calendar, and the ornament on the Jesse Tree. One person gets to choose a Christmas carol to sing. If we've got a book going (like The Jesse Tree), we read it, then the Bible readings, and then depending on attention span and mood, dh reads a devotional or meditation geared for adults (usually from the Church Fathers). 

 

Last year, we were in the midst of a move and were in 3 separate houses over Christmas. I didn't want to risk losing parts or breakage of our calendar or Jesse Tree, so we improvised, and one of the things I found was perfect for traveling (and super-affordable too!). It is a small booklet (about 3x5") with a removable card stock tree in the middle, and stickers (!!!) for each Jesse Tree ornament! AND they're $1.09! I actually got 10, to justify the shipping, and am excited to share them with friends this year. Our little one LOVED putting the stickers on the tree. Each day had a rhyme about the symbol. Some got groans in our house, some were kinda cute.

 

And then, our other great find last year was The Advent Book! Several ladies here had mentioned it on previous years' threads - Momof4JackAttacks, Merry, CJinOAX, but it was finally last year when it caught my eye and ordered it. It is a gorgeous book. Like the Kurt Adler calendar, it is really a keepsake piece. Each day, each page of the book, is a different door (built into the page), which, when opened, revealed another part of the Christmas story. Basically the text is Scripture, or slightly paraphrased Scripture. We read it cumulatively, so on the first day, we read the first reading, and on the second day, we read days 1 and 2. By the end, the story is very, very familiar! I like this so much that I imagine we'll do it each year going forward, and I'm giving it as a gift to a family member.

 

This is sounding like we work at this from dinner to bedtime through Advent, but really we don't. :-) Last year was a little longer/different, but although there were new things we did, there were old things we didn't do. We did the The Jesse Tree (book) readings - basically a chapter/day (a story about the symbol). We'd quickly place our sticker on our cardstock tree. We did The Advent Book as our Scripture reading, and then sang a carol. 

 

When we lived in Germany, I started making an Advent wreath, and we have been hit or miss with that tradition. We try to do it, but don't worry too much about it if we don't. We always have the one at church! If we do it at home, we try to light the candles daily, during our readings, but we only add on special Advent wreath readings on Sundays when we light a new candle. (A lesson learned experientially, when it really did get too long!)

 

For years, my amazing friend in Germany (who taught me how to make the Advent wreath) sent KinderEgg Advent Calendars for each kid, so everyday they'd get a toy and chocolate. It was a treasured thing in our family, and always the end point of our Advent evenings, but I think it has come to an end.  She no longer has an affordable way to ship them, and the last year or two has had difficulties with Customs confiscating them. Precious memories though!

Edited by Rockhopper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DhanyaCali

Wow that book does look amazing! Thank you RockHopper. We can't afford it this year but I'd love to have it someday. My chitluns are just little so we have PLENTY of years of holidays ahead of us. And thank you for telling me about all the things you've done over the years.

 

I am def would like to try to  listen little harder and perk up in church this advent season, I KNOW they talk a good deal about it. Hmm wonder how I'll manage that when I'm always down in Sunday School... hmm. Hey maybe I WILL go to Weds services somewhere and just ditch the kids with Dad! Just thought of that!

 

Oh and I decided we are going to do jokes. Instead of candy :) lol I really did NOT want to do candy, my ninja child is wild enough without it. http://nurturestore.co.uk/christmas-jokes-for-kids-printable

 

The second half of this page... advent wreath with birthday candles, looks well affordable. Listed as a "kids craft" but I may try my hand at it all the same!

http://thestspeterandrew.blogspot.com/2012/12/advent-wreath-craft-for-catholic-kids.html

Edited by DhanyaCali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MommyPenguin

 

 

Thank you Sarah! That sounds great, that list you made, did you put it online? If so will you link me to it?

 

I hadn't put it online, but I'll post it here:

 

Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
Tale of Three Trees
Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
Christmas Tapestry
Legend of the Candy Cane
Legend of the Poinsettia
Silent Night: the Song and its Story
Gingerbread Doll
Good King Wenceslas (Neale)
Apple Tree Christmas
Prairie Christmas
An Orange for Frankie
Mortimer's Christmas Manger
Who was Born This Special Day?
There was No Snow on Christmas Eve
Island Christmas
Nine Days to Christmas
Christmas Drum
Christmas in the Trenches
Very First Christmas
Room for a Little One
 
I apologize, I didn't list authors unless my library had two books by the same title, because I was just making the list for myself.  Most of the books on this list came from the book "Picture Perfect Childhood," which has lists of great pictures books on specific topics.  So I looked up the Christmas book list and checked to see which books my library had.  Other books came from Amazon booklist suggestions and the like.  There are less than 24/25 books on the list because I figured I'd search through our home bookshelf for books as well.  This list also isn't currently sorted by topic or anything.
 
Another thing I just remembered.  I buy these Advent sticker nativity scenes from Oriental Trading Company (http://www.orientaltrading.com/nativity-advent-calendar-sticker-scene-a2-4_5763.fltr?Ntt=advent%20sticker) that the kids love.  It's $7.25 for a pack of 12, so it lasts for years.  I pack up all the extras with the Christmas stuff and pull them out the next year.  I think this will be the third year that we've used the same packet.  So it's not too bad, price-wise.  The characters are cute, which really appeals to my girls (but might not appeal too much to older kids).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DhanyaCali

Thank you so much Sarah you are a rockstar! I wil request A picture Perfect childhood today. And I know what you mean about using amazon suggestions, it's just so handy :) I'm sure I'll be fine without the authors, we have a pretty good searchable catalog that has cover pics. Stickers look fun too!

 

<3 <3 <3 that you and thank EVERYONE again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mother_mariner

 

For years, my amazing friend in Germany (who taught me how to make the Advent wreath) sent KinderEgg Advent Calendars for each kid, so everyday they'd get a toy and chocolate. It was a treasured thing in our family, and always the end point of our Advent evenings, but I think it has come to an end.  She no longer has an affordable way to ship them, and the last year or two has had difficulties with Customs confiscating them. Precious memories though!

 

 

No Kinder Eggs from Germany anymore. Completely illegal in the US. We are overseas and when I go to our Military Post Office they specifically ask if we are mailing Kinder Eggs these days. Sad, I enjoyed them when I was a kid and got a special box from my mom (who was military) and it had fun German sweets. Kinder Eggs were SO cool back then. 

 

I've been thinking about Advent traditions now as well. We don't have a church here and I want to make sure we introduce the ideas of Christmas being about Jesus, so I'm closely following this topic! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sarahjokim