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Linking up to Seven Quick Takes – better late than never!
I have posted about so many wonderful Advent products that are available, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the ones that we use and the Advent traditions that we have been doing as a family.
1) Advent Wreath – I love my Advent wreath. I bought it at the Catholic Information Center in DC back when I was engaged and working in the city. I have never seen another one quite like it, with the rose colored bows. A couple of the candleholders had broken last year, but I fixed it up with some hot glue and looks like it will last a while longer. I bought my candles at church this year from our parish’s Walking With Purpose group.
2) Advent Calendars – We have this reusable Felt Nativity Advent Calendar, and the kids still enjoy it every year. We also normally end up with a couple of other calendars, allowing each of three big kids to have something to open each day. Most years it has been just a flap to open, but last year my sweet brother gave them the LEGO City Advent Calendar, which was pretty much the hit of the century. This year we just have two basic chocolate-filled calendars, and the kids rotate who does each calendar each day.
3) Baby Jesus Manger – My kids get pretty into the idea of doing good deeds and putting their pieces of straw in the manger for Jesus. We have this Baby Jesus, which I purchased a few years ago because of its affordable price and attractive face. Since it came on a gilded pillow instead of in an actual manger, we go all glam with it and use tinsel for the pieces of straw!
4) Jesse Tree – We have done a few different printable Jesse Trees in the past, but last year my kids actually made this ornaments from Sculpy clay. They turned out really cute. The only problem is that some of the thinner ones are pretty fragile, and we have had to glue them a few times. (What would I do without my hot glue gun?)
We have also used a few different books in the past, but by far their favorite is The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean. It is a unique, fun take on relating the Biblical stories – they are told to a young boy by a grumpy carpenter who is carving a Jesse Tree in a church. I may personally prefer Ann Voskamp’s poetic language, but the other one is really engaging for the kids.
5) Unwrapping Christmas Books – I fell in love with this idea from Jessica at Shower of Roses a few years ago. And yes, it’s a pain to wrap up all the books, but I think it really builds the excitement of reading them each day and makes it into a fun ritual. Purple wrapping paper can be hard to find, but I was lucky enough to pick up a really pretty set of metallic purple Christmas paper at Walmart the other day.
6) Feast Days – My children will be putting out their shoes tomorrow night for St. Nicholas, who typically leaves each child new Christmas pajamas, a Christmas book, chocolate coins, candy canes, and sometimes other small treats and/or small religious or Christmas-themed toys. I also always make St. Nicholas cookies. Other December feasts don’t get as elaborate a celebration, but we try to eat Mexican food for St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe and do a little something for St. Lucy as well. I need ideas for celebrating the Immaculate Conception on Thursday – what do you do?
7) And finally, Christmas shopping! There are still lots of good deals available, and I will be posting lots more this week, now that I am semi-recovered from Thanksgiving! For now, you can still get PLAYMOBIL Christmas Angel Ornaments for 74% off, save at many Catholic Etsy shops, and even watch a video made by my kids and get an exclusive coupon code for Catholic Child! Or just check out my Christmas Shopping Deals Roundup to see all the deals and gift ideas collected in one place.
Happy Second Sunday of Advent!