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Planning Advent

on November 25, 2009

…is one of the many reasons I have been so very absent this month.

I love Advent. As a child it was a really special time. We had a list of special things that would be done together, one for each day in Advent, pinned up on the fridge where we could all see it. We got to suggest meals we wanted to eat during that time (I guess we could have done this at other times too, perhaps it didn’t occur to us!)
Very simple things, like having hot chocolate with candy canes – candy canes are more special if you don’t live in the States I think. Or decorating the Christmas tree. Or going to a Christmas market – often the one in the centre of Brussels, where we lived, but sometimes a trip to nearby Germany.
During Advent the classical music that was a staple of our background noise – at least when my dad was in – was replaced with lovely Christmas carols. Not that I don’t love classical too, but Christmas carols are wonderful! I have no idea how many CDs of them we must have had. I now have four of my own.

So of course I want Advent to be special for our little ones too. Last year I looked all over the blogosphere for someone who might have laid out a plan of Bible verses and so on to go through in Advent. Couldn’t find anything at all. This year, quite by accident, I came upon Hubbards Cupboard, where they have exactly that. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite match the order I had in mind, and some days rely on various books we don’t have and have no access to, but I was thinking it was pretty good anyway, until I came across something even better:

The Jesse Tree
Jesse tree family devotions

The tree is such a lovely idea, one new decoration each day, each one reminding you of that day’s scripture as it leads you gradually through the Old Testament showing God’s faithfulness and anticipating the promised Messiah. I’m surprised I haven’t come across the concept before, being interested in traditions and also having lived mostly in parts of Europe where Catholicism is the predominant branch of the Church, but thrilled to make a new discovery. Check out the links if you’ve not come across it before either.

I still want to do the other special things for Advent too though. Here’s what we did last year, when Froglet was three:

Day 1: Light Advent candle 1, Put up tree
Day 2: Make red postbox (to keep cards in), make cards
Day 3: “We 3 kings” song, wise men story from Bible stories book
Day 4: Make a star for the door
Day 5: learn “O Christmas Tree”
Days 6-9: No activity (in UK for weekend)
Day 10: Light Advent candle 2, Christmas story with donkey
Day 11: Bake scones, have cream tea
Day 12: Put up nativity scene minus shepherds
Day 13: “Deck the halls” song
Day 14: Open red postbox and hang up cards
Day 15: Light Advent candle 3, Christmas party with Froglet’s godparents
Day 16: Shepherds’ story, “While shepherds watched”
Day 17: Add shepherds to scene
Day 18: Wrap gifts, “we wish you a merry Christmas”
Day 19: Make gingerbread for house
Day 20: Decorate gingerbread house
Day 21: Froglet to nursery for special Christmas crafts morning, “Silent Night”
Day 22: Light advent candle 4, add Jesus to scene
Day 23: “Away in a manger”
Day 24: To Brussels for Christmas with grandparents

Each of these activities was written down on a slip of paper which I read out to him in the morning when he opened his advent bag containing the paper and a chocolate coin or small gift. We bought a small box of Lego bits and divided them up between some of the bags, which was a big hit, but we’re not doing it this year. He has so much Lego already!

To finish with, here are some more links. Use Advent Celebrations to teach Patience by Maren Schmidt, whose Montessori blog/column I enjoy very much.
And What are we waiting for this Advent, which is the start of a series hosted by Christine Sine over at Godspace. Enjoy!


2 responses to “Planning Advent

  1. I love how you do this! So absolutely amazingly wonderful! I did this when my oldest son was little but the others wore me down. I think I'll start it again – a little late, but you motivated me!

    My favorite “Carol” is Ding Dong Merrily on High by Roger Whittaker – I love it all, the bells, the old time words – it is so Dickens!

    Merry Christmas Friend!

  2. Mama King says:

    Hope you have a wonderful Holiday! I really like your advent ideas. I think I may include some songs too! Thanks.

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