Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent and marks the start of the four week preparation time for Christmas. A time for quiet reflection and peaceful preparation that isn’t indulgent. This doesn’t sound like the Advent we see happening all around us. When I looked at my phone on Saturday it was as though Christmas had exploded sending cascades of green, red and gold glitter all over the world. It’s 1st December which must mean it’s Christmas. But it isn’t. Hold on a sec, Christmas doesn’t actually start until 25th December. This is Advent. Advent and Christmas are different and whilst I really don’t want to sound all bah humbug and boring, I think falling into the consumer trap in the lead up to this festive time is easily done and one I wish our family to avoid. Don’t get me wrong, we buy presents and go shopping but we purposely don’t allow the pressure of buy buy buy, we try and keep it minimal.
This is how we do Advent:
We don’t put up decorations until Christmas Eve. It seems like everyone has their houses decorated and trees up the first weekend of December. But I wonder how sick of it they get by the time the actual day arrives. We find that by holding off decorating the house until the night before, makes it all the more special the next day and for the following days after.
We have an Advent wreath. This was hand made this year (pun intended- hold on). The older children made green handprints (there you go) on paper which I cut out and then stuck on to a cardboard disc. I then added four tea lights and a central one to make the wreath. We then light each candle on each Sunday of Advent and have them burning during meal times. This mimics what they see in church and it is a nice reminder that something special is coming.
We have Advent calendars. This year the children have Advent calendars and an accompanying book which they are read a page of each day and it builds into the Christmas story at the end.
We’ve also been given these Walk with Me books from church that are a nice addition to the countdown to Christmas and keep the time focused on Jesus’s birthday.
Also, (and I think this helps with the calm) we don’t do Father Christmas either. I know, I know but for many reasons which I will leave to a separate post!
So that is it. That is Advent for us and that is all we do. Just quiet and calm. How do you do Advent?
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