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Monday, December 03, 2012

Us during Advent

My mom is presenting a talk to the young moms at her parish in the Dallas area and she asked me to send her a few of the ideas I use at home during Advent. She's kinda 'out of touch' with the young kid 'days'. I was happy to help! 

Here are some of the ways our little family brings the Advent season of preparation for Christ's birth alive in our home. We try to keep things simple. I've found the more I try to 'do' or 'be' (like someone else is doing) it just turns negative and causes our motives and our focus to be NOT on Christ.

The Creche-Nativity Scene...we want a 'nicer more beautiful' one, but up til now because the children have been so young and 'hands on' we have a very child friendly nativity scene that also acts as a Countdown to the birth of Jesus. Each night during Advent one 'part' of the scene is set up. Either a character or something else (like hay for the animals or a tent for the kings) is set out by one of the children. We take turns youngest to oldest.
'The stable' with the card that tells what to put out each day.
The annunciation. Day 1, Day 2...

The Jesse Tree- Helps give the kids exposure to 'salvation history' and Jesus' family tree. Neat stories and the kids look forward to it. Many sources online and many variations.

Advent Wreath- Start with the blessing of the Wreath (done by dad) and use it throughout Advent. We sing 'O Come O Come Emmanuel' (just the chorus) after our Grace prayer each night. This year we're going to make these...

I bought them at a homeschool conference. Illumniated Ink has some really cool Liturgical year activities.

Here is our Advent Wreath. We got it from his parents our first Christmas together. 12 years later we're still using it. It has held up well despite a few candle wax issues.

Advent Angels- One of my favorite memories of growing up was Advent Angels. Pick a name of a sibling and do nice things for them throughout Advent. Leave a note (typed up by mom, so the older kids can't figure out who their
angel is) behind so the act of kindness is 'more obvious'.  We use to do things like 'make their bed, put toothpaste on their toothbrush, neaten their room'. 

I picked a few of the feast we enjoy so as not to get overwhelmed myself with 'keeping up' causing us all to lose focus on the REAL meaning of Advent season.
St. Nicholas- Dec.6-  the kids leave their shoes out and St. Nicholas brings either candy, an ornament for their future Christmas tree or maybe a small 'toy item' (pencils, crayons, playdoh that size gift). We just do what we can afford to do that year.

Immaculate Conception-Dec. 8- Start praying Novena to Immaculate Conception on Nov.30. Read Mary, The Mother of Jesus by Tomie DePaolo (a wonderful Children's book author). Attend mass.

St. Lucy-Dec. 13 we just started this tradition by having one of the girls serve the special St. Lucy bread (kinda like coffee cake) that morning for breakfast. Look up St. Lucy bread online. She wears a special dress too.

Helpful websites and blogs (specifically their Advent Adventure-kids watch it online once a day during Advent-each year is a little different)

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