I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m an Advent Novice. Scratch that, novice is to nice of a word. Novice, makes me think of someone carefully planning and researching with delicate thought a consideration. At best, I’m an Advent Newb. I charge in, full of good, intentions proclaiming everything that I know which is nothing new those much more well versed than I am. Eventually I’ll trip myself up on something incredibly obvious and everyone will just point and laugh.
The truth is that I am still very new at this. A part of me just wants to throw in the towel and a part of me wants to cling on to every word of someone else’s traditions and force them to behave.
The truth is, no matter what my intentions are I still feel the need to honor my own roots (and those of my husbands) and remember that it’s okay to hold on to some of our old traditions as we, slowly, mix in the new.
So for the sake of the list-lovers out there here’s a quick run down of what our Advent season is going to look like.
Keeping it Simple:
- There are too many people out there who are using Advent as a month long Christmas morning. We will not be doing some amazing adventure everyday, nor will we be opening a present everyday for a month. Instead our Advent calender is more of an exercise to remember to slow down and spend more time with each other – in fact post of our Advent calender is blank.
Traditions and Togetherness:
- Okay, well it’s not completely blank.
- Saturday nights are reserved for Mom and Dad to read thru “A Christmas Carol”, a favorite of mine and a tradition started when Ben and I were first married, very poor and looking for something meaningful to do.
- Sundays are just for lighting the candles, a prayer and maybe a reading.
- We have a night reserved for driving around to look at luminaries (something or town does every year), a night to attend a choral concert at church and a night to go to family holiday show.
- We have a few nights in which to do something special – hot chocolate, movie night, making ornaments and making cookies.
- All the other “blank” nights will simply be filled in with reading a book from our Holiday selection. I say holiday because I have quite a few books about Channukah (part of my family is Jewish) and a few “winter favorites” that will be in the mix.
- Christmas Eve is for church, making our Christmas Eve Lasagna (another poor, newly wed tradition – it was the fanciest thing we could make with the ingredients in our kitchen) and Christmas Eve PJ’s.
Avoid Christmas Overload:
- We won’t be putting up the tree until after the 2nd Sunday of Advent and won’t be decorating until the next week.
- Trying to take it easy on the Christmas music and movies.
Do Unto Others:
- Participating in some type of Angel Tree program or similiar
- Have made plans to leave someone an extra special tip on a special night eating-out.
What We Want to Do – Eventually –
- Attend local performances of “A Christmas Carol” and/or “The Nutcracker” – these are much beloved traditions from our childhoods and they are too special to us to cut out completely. In another year or two Henry will be ready to join us to re-start this tradition; for now we watch movies.
- Set out a Nativity and slowly add the figures to tell the story. We have a small creche that we will put out on the 1st Sunday, but no other nativity scene. I hope to add this next year.
- A community service project for the whole family.
- Include the O Antiphons into our last week of advent. Truth be told I didn’t know what this was until a few days ago.
- Continue to extend our Christmas season into Christmastide thru Epiphany. This is not something either my husband and I grew up doing, so it feels strange to jump into head first. I want our traditions to be an organic process rather than something we announce as tradition. I look forward to seeing how this develops.