Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Low-Key Advent {Quick Takes}

Ah, I love Advent.  The quiet, the calm, the preparation before the unbridled joy that is Christmas.

And I love that I feel *ready* for it - there's a LOT that I feel can be done for Advent...  People have their Jesse trees or their Elf on the Shelf or the Wise Men journeying (which, I'm sorry, I don't get - they didn't start their journey until after Jesus was born!)...  We like to keep it simple here, since we're constantly in a fairly chaotic life situation and this year is no exception!

Here's what we do:

--1--



The Story of Christmas Advent Calendar - One small book per day, we read it either in the morning or in the evening, lighting one candle from the Advent wreath, saying a quick prayer from John Paul's MagnifiKid, and singing a verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel (and then switching verses when the O Antiphons start)

--2--

SIMPLE Advent wreath.  Literally a broken candleholder inside a faux-wreath.



We need a new system for blowing out the candles, since it became a SERIOUS source of drama with the big kids last year...  But yeah, I'm not taking the time to make one out of fresh greenery or hand-rolled felt flowers or whatever the heck craftier moms do.  Not something I can do!

--3--

Get our shopping done EARLY!

I don't want to figure out what everybody's getting for Christmas close enough to the holiday that I HAVE to go to a store to buy it.  Actually, I don't think I set foot in a single store during the entire month of December last year (aside from like, the grocery store).  Part of that is thanks to Amazon Prime, but most of it is thanks to planning ahead and shopping smart!

Need gift ideas?

A Gift Guide of Musical Gifts (written by a music teacher, so that's gotta give me some street cred, right?)

Favorite Toys for the Under-5 Crowd - these have withstood the test of time for us!

--4--

Nativities!


Journey To Bethlehem 2PC Set - I love that we have a pregnant Mary on the way to Bethlehem :)

We have several nativities for the kids and we pull out one every week (minus Baby Jesus) and spend much of Advent acting out the Christmas story with various different toys.  Actually, the pretend play has already started this year - Cecilia pulled out her Mary veil and John Paul's Joseph robe and gave birth in the playroom.  This will be recapped MANY times this December, I'm sure...  (And I'm betting Peter's gonna be referred to as "Baby Jesus" more than by his actual name...)

I mean, I couldn't not throw a baby picture in here...

Here's a link to our favorite nativities:


Five Advent Favorites

--5--

Books!

We have a good stock of Christmas & Advent books that live in our bin of decorations, and I like to request a bunch from the library early (like, NOW) so that we have new stuff in the rotation, too.  Then we put away most of the other books and immerse ourselves in all things winter & Advent & Christmas without being too focused on the Nativity (until Christmas Day)

Favorite Board Books for Christmas & Advent - these are our favorites for the youngest every year!

Some awesome suggestions for books for Christmas, Advent, and all the feast days that fall in December:

--6--

We don't do all the things.

Chocolate coins for St. Nicholas? Absolutely!  Taco night for Our Lady of Guadalupe?  Sure.  Extra dessert for the Immaculate Conception?  Yup.  But there are soooo many feasts you could be celebrating in December, and I don't have the time or energy to do it all.  So we don't!

There's no point in observing a simple Advent if you're stressing over sewing robes and dipping your own candles for St. Lucia, or making everyone their own embroidered tilma to celebrate Juan Diego.  Stick to what you know you can handle!

--7--

What are your favorite Advent traditions?  If you had to pare it down to the bare minimum, what would you keep?

Linking up with Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes - check out more over there!

Nope.  Kelly again - look who jumped the gun two weeks in a row!  I think I should get a prize.

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