For me with my personality and especially with two young children, simplicity is essential to enjoyment of just about anything, and Advent is no exception. However, I know from experience that even though I may desire a streamlined, trimmed-down, Christ-centered holiday, it’s easier said than done. It’s so tempting to get distracted, to try to bite off more than we can chew (literally and figuratively), and to get lost in the array of traditions and treats and obligations that seem to clutter the holiday atmosphere.
I’ve pared down, revamped, and prioritized, and what’s left are those traditions that I feel are worthwhile and meaningful to our family. Then, the trick was figuring out how to make sure we fit it all in without being overwhelmed. The answer? The Advent Calendar! And, this year, it’s doing double-duty.
We open our calendar first thing in the morning, so it doesn’t contain any candy. Instead, each day, my children will find a task, an event, or a treat (non-edible) to help us prepare for the Nativity of Our Lord—while keeping me on track for Christmas!
All my planning is finally completed, and with Advent quickly approaching, I thought now would be the time to share with you all. May you have a blessed season filled with the true meaning of what—and Who—is to come.
- Shopping for all baking, candy, and projects
- Make Advent wreath
- Prepare Advent calendar
- Bake Grasshopper Squares (up to 3 weeks before Caroling Party)
- Bake Spritz (up to 3 weeks before Caroling Party)
Invites for caroling party
- Complete purchasing/making of gifts
- Wrap gifts
- Take family Christmas photo
- Write Christmas cards
- Good Deed Manger cotton balls (Each child gets a bag of cotton balls next to their bed. When they perform good deeds, they get to take one of their cotton balls and put it in the “manger”—ours is a doll bed—to make Baby Jesus more comfortable. After Midnight Mass, we’ll lay their baby doll in the crib to symbolize the Christ Child.)
- Read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. When the children are older, we will also be able to work through this study in homeschool.
- Read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
- Advent Wreath devotions (check out Monday’s post for more on this!)
First Sunday in Advent: November 28th: Stir-Up Sunday - Can mincemeat and make fruitcake
November 29th: Deck the Halls!
November 30th: Deck the Halls! Finish any last minute Advent Preparations (set out wreath, children’s advent calendar, prepare baked goods for caroling party, etc.)
Day 1 of Advent Calendar (W): Set up Good Deed Manger
Day 2 (Th): Bake Peppermint Meringues
Day 3 (F): Make popcorn and cranberry garland for tree; prepare eggnog, slice and bake
Day 4 (S): Christmas Tree Cutting & Caroling Party; decorate Christmas tree
Day 5 (Sun): Write letters to St. Nicholas; Make Sugar Plums and Prepare “Purses” for St. Nicholas’ Day
Day 6 (M): St. Nicholas Day; Weed clothes and toys to donate
Day 7 (T): Make Gingerbread mobile
Day 8 (W): Make Peppermint Patties
Day 9 (Th): Make scented pinecones
Day 10 (F): Go shopping for Christmas Charity giving
Day 11 (S): Read The Nutcracker (This is also the day I am going to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker with a dear friend. I am so excited—and I can’t wait until Sophia is old enough to come, too!)
Day 12 (Sun): Bake Julpepparkakor and prep Lussekatter
Day 13 (M): St. Lucia Day; Take a drive or walk through the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights displays in honor of the Saint of Light
Day 14 (T): Make Swedish Gingerbread House
Day 15 (W): Bake Seven Layer Cookies
Day 16 (Th): Make Peppermint Bark
Day 17 (F): Make Fudge (5th Wedding Anniversary!)
Day 18 (S): Watch The Muppets Christmas Carol (Yeah, I needed something that would be easy for our friends to pull off with the kids while Brian and I enjoy our weekend getaway in the city!)
Day 19 (Sun): Light a fire and roast chestnuts while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas
Day 20 (M): Attend Living Nativity performance
Day 21 (T): Bake Christmas Cutouts
Day 22 (W): Decorate Christmas Cutouts
Day 23 (Th): Advance prep for Christmas Eve Smorgasbord and Christmas Dinner (menus to follow in upcoming posts)
Day 24 (F): Midnight Mass
Day 25 (S): Put Baby Jesus figurine in the manger – the Christ Child is here!