Friday, November 19, 2010

My Advent Calendar

advent calendarFor 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.

Advent Calendar 2010
In November:
  • 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
Throughout Advent:
  • 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
checkerboard cookies

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!


  1. I love the idea of organizing ahead and having the Advent Calendar do double-duty! So clever, and so fun to have the kids get involved in that way!

  2. I don't have kids, nor any baking skills, but this framework will be helpful for me. I was just thinking yesterday, hmmm, now that my husband and I are both going to the Catholic Church, what can we do for Advent this year...hey, I'll bet some organized Catholic blogger will have ideas. Thanks!


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