Monday, 30 November 2020

LIFE LATELY // How To Advent Like Us

Ideas for Celebrating Advent

*This is Last years post with a new introduction for 2020.

Christmas is a time of togetherness. This Christmas may seems so distant to that idea but it means we should focus on it even more. Because of the global situation your Chritsmas plans for 2020 might not be quite the same. I have been mourning the loss of certain things, Pantomines, christmas drinks, local attractions, Christmas markets, all things that help bring the spirit of Christmas into our lives.

It's different, and it's a shame but there is no doubt in my mind that we can all make this whole period special to us. More than anything this Christmas really is an opportunity to embrace what we have.

Over the years I have shared lots of ideas as to how we celebrate Advent and Christmas as both these events are very important to us as practising Christians. So I thought that I would share some of the things we do at home to make this period special to us.

Advent is the run up to Christmas, the 24 day period until Christmas day itself and one of my favourite times of year. The joy of Christmas is that it is a whole season, not just one day and it is really important to remember that.

It is not just about one day and living in the now, it is easy to forget the true importance of Christmas time. I really work hard to make the whole of Christmas time seem like a season. As soon as the 1st December hits we can fully immerse ourselves in the joys of everything Christmassy: films, movies, mince pies (OK we have had a few of them them already) but you get the point. The whole of December is the period of Christmas, in fact we keep it going until January 6th (Epiphany) when Christmas time officially ends. 
It is really important to us to keep the real importance of this time alive as it is can be forgotten now but there really is a greater meaning to this time.
I thought I would share some of the things that will be going on in our house this year as I feel I have lots to share.

Advent At Home

So like I said; Advent is the period between the 1st and 25th of December. For us this means we have 24 solid days to build the excitement to Christmas but to also reflect on what this whole period can be about.
Part of trying to keep Christian practices alive at this time really falls to us as parents so a lot of our focuses are based around that but we have a few other traditions that can work in all homes.

Traditional Paper Advent Calendars


Grandma always provides these, purchased from our church. They always depict a traditional Christmas or nativity scene and have doors which can be opened to reveal images relating to Christmas. These are something we have always had and even though chocolate ones are way more fun, it's nice to have a simpler reminder of counting down the days to Christmas.

The Names Of Jesus Advent Calendar



Another gift from my Mum this year is this Names of Jesus Advent Calendar which you string up and turn each card over as each day passes. For older Children this is a nice reminder of who the person is we are celebrating. Even though there is no WOW factor to it, as an adult it will be a nice little daily reminder of the season.

Hide The Baby Jesus


I did something similar last year but when I was in Rome, a place full of amazing tat; I picked up a small baby Jesus for a couple of euros. I plan to hide him around the house (not everyday) but just as a fun little game with probably a chocolate coin reward.

Sinterklaas


This is an activity we have celebrated since I was a child. A dutch tradition based on celebrating the feast day of St. Nicholas. Children put out their empty shoes the night of the 5th December in the hope that St Nicholas will visit and fill their shoes with chocolate treats. In The Netherlands this is a huge celebration where gifts are exchanged and families come together. We will be putting our shoes out just like we do every year.

The Giving Manger



This is a new purchase for me this year, one that is actually off an Instagram advert but I am so pleased with it!
My mum has done something similar for years but this is a nice physical representation of marking good deeds.
The idea is that you fill up the manger with single pieces of straw every time you do a good deed for someone else. In the home this could be helping tidy, washing pots, making the bed, helping someone else, etc. when the manger is full you can put the the baby in it. This also has a lovely book that you read first explaining the real joy of giving to each other. A great reminder about gifts not always being material objects.

A Gift Advent Calendar



To be honest, this year this advent calendar has been thought about the least. Usually full of little gifts I feel that our children have enough and if I am going to use it I think I am going to maybe put in little physical gift ideas like a ticket to choose what we have for dinner that night or a suggestion to watch a movie that day or play a game, something more time based where we actually physically do something as a family each day. It will take a bit of thinking but I am going to come up with something in the next few days.

Christmas books

I absolutely love theming the kids' bookcase and make sure I have as many Christmas books out on display as I can. We have a mix of religious and just seasonal books which we read each night at bedtime.

A Travelling Nativity


I shared this on Instagram Last Christmas and it got an amazing response so I thought I would share it on here. Christmas week we spent the 7 days moving Mary & Joseph around the kids' bedroom whilst reading parts of the nativity story. The kids absolutely loved this journey and after Christmas day we carried on bringing all the guests to the stables. The shepherds and kings came later but together we were able to build up our nativity. This is one of my favourite activities in Advent.

Star Of Night Biscuits



Leading up to the 24th baking is always a nice little task. For us it is our Spiced Biscuits which is a recipe I shared back in 2014!! Always in Star shape to remember the bright star that shone down over the stable!

Christmas Mugs For Christmas Movies


I actually treated us to some bargain mugs from TESCO to use through the advent season and I thought these were a good share to end on. These will be used for all the hot drinks we are going to be having as we sit down and watch ALL the Christmas movies.

All of this is about teaching the children about the joy of our faith. This all relates to trying to be a good person, to learn to offer to others first and to remember and keep alive traditional practices that bring joy into our lives.

This may seem like a lot of things to do and yes, there will be days that we don't do something but it is a time for me to really try and work all these small fun and meaningful experiences into our family life to help us celebrate Christmas.
I hope you have found the post interesting and you can use some of the ideas in your family home.

Enjoy the Season!

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