Advent is upon us

We're getting a little bit of a late start on Advent since we just got back into town last week but Craig and I just didn't fill Lucy in on that fact and since she can only count to one, I think our secret is safe.

I've been thinking and planning for Advent for a couple months now and forcing Craig down to think and plan with me for several weeks. I really want to thoughtfully consider what traditions we want to incorporate instead of just letting Christmas happen to us. I've always felt that way but Lucy ups the ante. And I also know that this holiday period is going to be hard on me so I think I'm not so sub-consciously hoping that if I stay busy, I won't notice that my mom isn't here. I don't really think that plan is working, but I'll try. It might get easier this week since my dad arrived last night and my brother will be flying in as soon as he wraps up finals week at A&M.

So here are the things we've been doing this advent season:

Bags with activities/treats:

I saw this on pinterest and knew I could make something similar so I ordered muslin bags and a number stencil from Amazon. (Note: don't depend on your local Hobby Lobby to have number stencils - mine didn't :-( I originally wanted to hang them on a branch or dowel but I ran out of steam so this year they just went into a basket. Next year perhaps.

At this point, Lucy doesn't really get the countdown part but having the calender planned out helps ensure that the really important stuff that I wanted to make sure happens, actually happens and doesn't get crowded out by last minute, not-as-crucial, activities. So far, I love it. The bags give me lots of options. I've tried to focus on activities but I do have a toy in the bag for the day we fly to Grandma and Grandpas. Here are a few of our bags:
  • Make St. Lucia crown - bag contains pre-cut paper
  • Make treat for the birds - pinecone (with pb, birdseed to come later)
  • Shop for Christmas tree ornament - activity on a slip of paper
  • Make cards for firemen/postman/librarian - stickers and paper
  • Make treats for firemen/postman/librarian - recipe for muddy buddies (one of the few items we could make without a kitchen :-)
  • Roll Advent candle - Every Sunday we make the next Advent wreath candle using supplies from this kit from etsy. Lucy needs help getting it started but can roll it pretty well with just a bit of guidance. They aren't professional looking but she is very proud of them and it is obvious she considers them her candles. 
Advent wreath with candle: 

This is pretty standard fare for anyone with a liturgical background. We do our study in the evening and Lucy tolerates it. She does better once we light the candles but overall, this part is more for Craig and I.

Prepare for Baby Jesus:

This is by far Lucy's favorite thing. I think the reason she tolerates sitting still for the devotional is that she knows this comes next. I read about the general concept of preparing a manger for baby Jesus on a Catholic mom forum but the details were sparse so I improvised. I made a manger from a pack of sculpey clay. I'd worked with sculpey before but if you haven't, the package tells all you need to know. It is easy to work with and fairly durable once baked. My manger is very homemade looking but that adds to it's charm, right? Baby Jesus was a wooden peg from Hobby Lobby painted with acrylics I had on hand. Lucy hasn't seen him yet - and I haven't exactly finished painting him yet. Right now he is a white body with a peach head. The second layer will include eyes, mouth and perhaps a halo. He will go in bag 25 to be opened Christmas day!

Every evening after we blow out the advent candles, she starts signing "baby" until we give her a little piece of "hay" (yarn). She then very carefully places it in the manger to get it ready and cozy for baby Jesus. Then we say the Come Lord Jesus prayer which for those of you who are unfamiliar with it goes something like this - "Come Lord Jesus." It's a tricky one.

 I wasn't really expecting her to care about the prayer but she gets really excited about that too, grabbing our hands and smiling when we say it. Perhaps because it is short enough that she knows it, even if she can't say it yet. This activity takes 2 minutes total but she is grinning ear to ear the whole time.

I am definitely getting to be in a more Christmasy mood now that Lucy and I are activity awaiting the celebration of the wonderful gift of "baby Jesus." I know that this will probably be the hardest Christmas season I've experienced, but it is still nice to rejoice in the wonder of the Christmas story and remember the memories my mom worked so hard to build up in our minds and hearts over the years.

1 comment :

  1. I love what you are doing to teach Lucy about Advent! How neat that she really is getting in to it this year, and what a great foundation you are starting for future years!!