Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent Traditions

Since the time of Jesse's first Christmas, we've had some kind of advent tradition in our home. We've had store-bought versions of calendars with chocolates and toys and candles to light, but the two that have stuck with us for several years now are homemade.

This wall hanging I made when Laurel was a baby. The verse is from the e.e. cummings poem "Little Tree":
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"
Those gold dots are bells that I sewed on, and each day in December the kids hang one tiny ornament on a bell. Here's a close-up of the ornaments:

I bought them years ago when those mini-Christmas trees were all the rage, but I imagine some miniature ornaments like these are still available. I hope so; several of ours have disappeared over the years.

The next homemade advent tradition is our stocking/mitten garland. I got these at Walgreens for about a quarter each, but I think it would be even cuter to find mismatched socks and mittens or knit them if you are skilled like that. I was in a hurry that year and was happy to find these.

There are 25 total, and each contains three pieces of candy (one for each kids) and a slip of paper with an Advent scripture printed out. (I printed the whole passage, so we didn't have to look them up each night. Lazy.) You can do a google search for "Advent readings/scripture" and get lots of ideas. I included plenty of short verses for young readers. We do this one at dinner each evening. You can either remove the stocking/mitten as a sort of countdown, or put it back up in an orderly fashion. The problem with removing it is that the garland looks quite bare by the second week! (And a couple of words of advice if you think this is an amazing tradition that you must start: when the stocking or mitten has been emptied, be sure to put the slip of paper back in for next year or you'll have to find new ones! Also, chocolate does not work so well in these, as it tends to melt as the heat rises. Trust me. Go with hard candies.)

And this year we are adding in a Jesse Tree. I've been reading about these for years and, having a Jesse, have been especially inclined to add this to our traditions. I printed out the ornaments and readings here and just made a tree out of construction paper and stapled it to a bulletin board.

I was so proud of myself for getting all these out before December 1st, and then I realized that the Jesse Tree should have started on Saturday, Nov. 28. We had to do three days' worth before Dec. 1…

I did tape the paper print-outs onto cardstock and "laminate" them (in my world, that means I covered them with clear contact paper) so they can be used again in years to come.

What sorts of Advent traditions do you have in your homes? There are loads of fantastic ideas for traditions at Kelly's Korner if you are looking for some new ones, and lots of great ideas over at Amy's Finer Things, too!

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