The tradition of preparing for Advent goes back to the beginning of our marriage. I was a newish Christian and determined that every part of my life should at the very least attempt to reflect my beliefs. Advent would be our time for preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Thing was, I was new at this and really didn’t have a clue how to go about it. So I did what I always do when I am unsure. I bought a book. Well, two actually. Both were about preparing for Christmas with Jesus at its centre. The two books are at the bottom of the photo below:
One book, The ADVENTure of Christmas, particularly appealed to me. Who knew that candy cane represented the blood and purity of Jesus? I certainly had no idea. If I’m honest, I now look at these quaint tales and think what a lovely story they tell. I’m not certain however that the first person to make a candy cane had the blood of Jesus in his mind at the time of production! But this does not matter. Whenever I see a candy cane I think of Jesus and my focus is brought back to the very reason Christmas is so special for us.
This book gave us a starting point, the rest has developed as each year has passed. The books at the top of the photo were bought to enjoy with my twins when they were little. We now own a plethora of books pertaining to Christmas traditions, decorations, feasts, things to do, food to cook, food to eat, food to give, food…..
We determined that each year we would buy just one book and one item to add to our Christmas collection. As always, we tried to purchase things that reflected that which was important to us. One year we were delighted to find a patchwork nativity scene advent calendar:
Each of the numbered little bags can be filled with chocolate, rolled up paper with activity ideas or, indeed, candy canes! It is a joy to count down to Christmas!
We also wrap up 25 books:
Not all of these are Christmas books, but they are all snowy and cosy! However, each year we add one more to our collection, which we purposefully choose for its Christmassy feel rather than simply a wintry one. The last one, ‘Most marvellous Gift’, is opened Christmas Day, and is one of our favourite to read to the children.
Whilst we have always read Christmassy books to the children, it has only been the last few years that we wrap them and use them as part of the count down to Christmas. I usually wrap them in brown paper, tied together with ripped material ribbon. This year I used tissue paper because it was less expensive than brown paper:
The Most marvellous Gift is placed at the bottom of the basket to be opened last of all, the others are piled on top and are opened as each child chooses (they take it in turns):
I like this tradition but would like to develop it further by doing an activity alongside the book after opening and reading it. We’ll see. Maybe next year.
Another thing I would love to do would be to have an Advent Wreath with the candles to light each Sunday. Again, one day, when my youngest is a little older. That’s the fun of Christmas – the development of ideas, a comforting mix of new and old. It is a season that grows alongside our family.
For other angelicscalliwag traditions see: