Advent Prepping! {7QT}

Friday, October 26, 2018

It's October, and already I'm seeing Christmas decorations and Costco, getting started on shopping (so I can relax come December!), and gathering my mental inventory of what we have & need to enter into this coming liturgical season fully.

It doesn't start until December 2 this year! Super-late! But I guarantee it's going to sneak up just the same... Gathering things early means you won't be Amazon-priming come December 1!

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Grab your devotional! There are tons of wonderful options this year—I'll be working through Rooted in Hope from Take Up & Read.

I was curious as to whether this study would seem to "deja vu" since I worked through it last year, but after having read the whole thing while editing, I honestly didn't remember much from last year! There's a whole extra week added on to the end to carry you through to the new year, plus all the lectio boxes are filled in so it's definitely worth grabbing the new edition!


I'm also on the lookout for more "big kid" books to add to our book basket, which is one of my favorite ways to observe Advent. It's not chapter books we need, I don't think, just longer books with beautiful pictures. After all, you're never too old for picture books!

Holly and Ivy definitely fits in this category, as well as Jonathan Toomey. I'm reading book lists and ordering used copies of promising books that I'll hopefully be able to share with you soon! Got any suggestions?

Pro tip: start ordering your Christmas/Advent books *now* because all the cheap used copies will be gone within a month and the best books will go out of stock by Christmas!


I'm *almost* done shopping for our November birthdays (all four of them!!) and getting ready for Christmas shopping! I'll keep an eye out for Black Friday sales but I'm also excited for all the coupon codes I'll have to share with you next week when I publish this year's "Shop Small" gift guide! There are some really fun new shops that I'm looking forward to checking out so I can support families and not just Amazon (although I love me some Amazon too, let's be real...)

Here's last year's gift guide if you want to start favoriting shops in anticipation!

Also! Today's the last day to fill out the form for your shop to be included, in case you've been waiting!


Christmas cards. Will this year be the year we start actually getting them out again? I think we *need* to go the photo card route, because otherwise I have no incentive to get them out on time... Even if we're just tucking a photo card inside an actual Christmas card, it's better than nothing, right?

I know lots of people who skip Christmas cards altogether, but I *love* getting them and the kids really adore sending them! Plus we have a really cute family photo, so why not?

Are you a Christmas card family? Do you manage to send one every year?


Nativities! We love them! We have... 5? One is the "grown-up" (Fontanini) Nativity that starts out as just this sweet Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem and then on Christmas morning they're in the stable adoring baby Jesus.

We also get one kids' nativity out each week and keep them out through Candlemas, so there's *lots* of sweet acting out of the Christmas Story. If you don't already have it (or have lost many pieces over the years...), this Little People nativity is an awesome price right now and will absolutely go out of stock before Christmas so get yours early!

OR if you want to grab something totally new, Shining Light Dolls just put out their own nativity set and it's adorable.


I'm shopping early, but also shopping late... We do our big presents on Epiphany, which means grandparents get a little more excitement for their gifts *and* I have more time to make sure I don't end up getting any duplicate presents for the kids! Highly recommend. Really, just generally recommend finding a way to observe the 12 days of Christmas instead of racing through Advent with Christmas as the finish line.


Okay that's it, back to October! I just need to get all this together to process it mentally, so I might as well share my brainstorming with you!

Linking up with Kelly!


  1. Awesome post! FYI, the link for Rooted in Hope goes to a kids' nativity set ;)

    1. Ahhh thank you for letting me know!! Fixed it :)

  2. It is so nice to hear we aren't the only family with 5 or more nativity scenes!! I think we actually have 7....I might have a little bit of a problem I just can't say no to the Holy family!!
    My kids all get 1 new book on St. Nicolas day so we have fun things to read during Advent.
    We send Christmas cards but I only by 30 and when they are gone they are gone. But I would love to send ya one from Oregon!!! My kids love getting cards too.

    1. I think I have 4 new books ready for St. Nicholas Day, I'm trying to decide on two more! Hopefully going to the used bookstore today so we'll see what I find :)

      Email me your address! I will totally send a card!

  3. YES to Christmas card! We take them down after 2/2 and the kids prayer for our card people during our morning prayer time

    1. I always mean to use them for prayers afterwards but mostly they just end up going in the trash... But we appreciate them for a good long time!!

  4. Is Rooted in Hope specific to the year? I’ve never used a Take up and Read study, but I found a used (unused) copy on amazon. Since it’s my first time and I’m from Canada so brand new it’s a lot more expensive, I’m just wondering if I could use last years.

    1. Last year's won't match up exactly & won't have the extra week of content, but I think there will be a lot of people using last year's so you won't be alone! You can also wait a couple weeks and it should be available on book depository with free shipping?

  5. I have been thinking about Christmas prepping too. I am conflicted because I hate rewarding merchants for putting out Christmas stuff so early, but I don't like being too busy in Advent. Last year was perfect because there was a week gap between Thanksgiving and Advent and I got it all done then! It's easier for me than other people. My side of the family doesn't do presents other than maybe food (minimalists and adults mostly) and my in laws are few. I send thrift store books, cheap especially with media mail at USPS. I love books. (Btw read Hired Girl and Salt Fat Acid Heat bc of you and loved them!) The kids will get thrift store finds, I have already thrift store Duplo and trucks. They get new books and thrift store toys regularly so I don't feel compelled to indulge a lot on Christmas. Oh, and if your kids keep coming close to breaking something expensive like, oh, let's say your shower doors, tell them there won't be any money for presents if you have to fix expensive shower doors! This works. --MariaE

    1. I generally order most of our things online so I don't feel like I'm rewarding anyone for putting Christmas things in stores ;) Then I'll make a trip to the grocery store & dollar store a few days before Christmas to get the last few things we need, stocking stuffers and things like that.

  6. Longer Christmas picture book ideas (my first thought was The Story of Holly and Ivy until I saw you mentioned that already!): The Carpenter's Gift, Shooting at the Stars, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, Humphrey's First Christmas, and The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry).

    1. Thank you!! I will look those up right now!

    2. Ah!! Okay I found a PJ Lynch version of the O. Henry book (one of my favorite illustrators) and Barbara Cooney does the Christmas tree one (another favorite!) so I think we're in business! John Paul will really appreciate the one about WWI, thank you!!

  7. I’ve got most of my Christmas shopping done and I ordered the used Christmas picture books to beat the rush �� I ordered The Christmas Candle and Christmas Around the World for my big kid options. Last year I ordered one about WWII Christmas? that the bigger kids really liked. Every year I think I will finally make a list of what we have already so I won’t be confused and order duplicates but I never do. We have so many books though, I’m ordering almost all obscure titles now ������


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