I love Advent. It’s my favorite liturgical season. (I’m aware that the fact that I have a favorite liturgical season points to what a nerd I really am. Oh well. I’m embracing that in my old age.) Because it’s my favorite, it’s probably the one I’m most consistent about observing. Now that I’ve got Will, I’m doing a few other things for him that I haven’t done before.
1. The Advent wreath. This is nothing new of course, but I just ordered some new beeswax candles from Toadily Handmade since the cheapie ones I’ve bought in the past don’t do so well past the second week of Advent.
2. The Jesse Tree. When I taught in Catholic school, we did one in my class and each child was responsible for making one of the ornaments. While I aspire to make all my own Jesse Tree ornaments, I know it’s not realistic given that I lack one single ounce of craftiness. But I ordered these gorgeous Jesse Tree ornaments off of Etsy to use. (My stunning iPhone photography does not do them justice.)
For a tree, I’ll use the little fake Christmas tree from my old condo.
3.. Christmas picture books. I have an enormous collection of children’s literature from having taught elementary school for more than a decade. Last year, I read Will a Christmas book every day during Advent but he was itty bitty and had no idea what was going on. This year, I’ll wrap them and let him open one each day (undoubtedly, tearing the paper off will be his favorite part), and we’ll read it together at bedtime. Some of my favorites are The Birds of Bethlehem
and The Friendly Beasts.
4. ADVENTures of the Wise Men. I saw this on Pinterest and some Catholic blogs last year as an alternative to Elf on the Shelf. I don’t have an objection to Elf on the Shelf, it just doesn’t really do anything for me. Our wise men will be going on an ADVENTure to find baby Jesus during Advent, moving closer and closer to the stable. On Christmas morning, they’ll find baby Jesus there! (I know….the wise men didn’t actually arrive until Epiphany- which is what makes it Epiphany- but I fear this might be too confusing for a little one?) In the future it would probably be prudent to invest in a child friendly nativity set for this particular activity, as I don’t think my Lenox or Fontanini wise men will fare well at the hands of Will.
5. For grown up Advent preparations, I’m reading Meditations for Advent by Jacques Bossuet.
In the past, I read a book called Advent of the Heart by Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit imprisoned and executed by the Nazis. It is a really excellent book that I highly recommend!
6. Last year I purchased the album Advent at Ephesus, produced by cloistered Benedictine nuns. The music is absolutely beautiful and we’ll be listening to it this year as well.
It’s my goal to finish my shopping by the end of November so I can focus on Advent in December, instead of focusing on running around like a lunatic. Plus, if every goes as planned (ha.ha.ha.ha) we’ll be moving into a rental in January, so I think preparing for that will give me plenty to work on in December!