{7qt} creating a simple advent for your family

Friday, November 30, 2018

Here are 7 simple ways that we celebrate Advent! I am fully convinced that if we can pull it off so can you :)
My goal for Advent is to make it as family friendly as possible. Over the past 2 years I have found the things that work best for our busy family. It's been a "learn as you go" process for the most part ;) I absolutely LOVE Advent! It's one of my favorite seasons in the liturgical calendar and incorporating it in our family's life was very important to me because it was something that we didn't do when I was a kid. 

1. The first thing I do is sit down with my planner and look at the month of December. While I want to incorporate as many Advent activities as I can I have to be realistic on what is actually going to work in our schedule.  So the first thing I plan is which saint days we are going to celebrate. There are so many great ones but with 3 kids in school with I have to narrow it down to which ones my kids will be most interested in. Next I look at which extra days we will attend mass and write those in. For some reason having it written down makes it feel so official. Next is write in when we will go to confession. Again...writing it down makes it happen in our house. Then I make a shopping list of all the things I will need for the entire season and get them before Advent even starts. This step is key for me to make our Advent successful, non stressed and fun.

2. Our first saint day we celebrate is St. Nicholas (Dec 6). The kids will leave their shoes out by the fireplace in hopes that he leaves golden coins in them. Last year he also left a little extra treat...a shining light doll. He might just do the same thing this year :) We will also read a story about him.
Next up is St. Ambrose (Dec 7). Last year was the first year we celebrated St. Ambrose and we loved it. The kids made super easy candles and we gave them as gifts. This year we will be making candles but this time to keep for ourselves in the home
Then...St. Barbara. Her feast day is December 4, before the other 2 but we are going to observe it on Dec 9. Because she is the patron saint of architects, this is the day we build our gingerbread homes. This is a project I really am not a huge fan of but the kids love it! So every year I somehow manage to get through it. I read someone online to incorporate building these with her feast day and suddenly there was so much more meaning to them. I highly recommend!
We then have Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12). This is a very big feast day here in Texas. Our church will have a procession that we are going to try and attend for the first time ever this year! We will also have Mexican food for dinner.
That feast day is quickly followed by St. Lucy (Dec 13). I just purchased this book that we will read and have Swedish meatballs for dinner by candlelight. Then after dinner drive around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. 

3. This is one of my favorite Advent activities...praying the St. Andrew Novena. I purchased this bracelet last year and it really helped me remember to pray it everyday. This year we will pray it as family every evening at dinner.

4. Which brings me to our next tradition...the Advent Wreath. Even before we started looking at the liturgical calendar as a family we had an Advent Wreath. We light the appropriate candle and do a reading every Sunday and then light those candles every night at dinner. The kids really love this simple tradition. Here's how I made our wreath. If you don't know where to start this is a great place!

5. For me personally I will be reading the Bearing Light devotional from Blessed is She. I love their devotionals and am so looking forward into diving into this one.

6. This is a new one for us but we will be volunteering in the community. I have been patiently waiting until Amelia was old enough for us to be able to get out and do some good work for others. We are already signed up to make Christmas cards that will be delivered to people who will be alone for the holidays. I am also trying to find a kitchen or food bank we can serve in as well.

7. Finally, I am really going to encourage the kids to enjoy the waiting. The Advent season is here for us to really rest in the waiting for Christ. When they say how they can't wait for Christmas (it's already started) I redirect them to enjoy the waiting. To rest relax their hearts and mind. Of course that is very hard for kids but by starting to practice that now they should be experts when they are adults, right?! ;) We also have a new rule this year and that's by December 1 there will be no more talking about Christmas presents and what they want. They made their wish lists over Thanksgiving break and we talked about how we were going to spend the next coming weeks focused on things besides material objects. Are they going to mess up? Absolutely! I will just continue to guide them and remind them. 

Hope this helps you if you are looking to find new ways to celebrate Advent with your family. What are your favorite Advent traditions? I am always looking for new ones to add to our list.

As always...linking up with Kelly!

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