Advent is the time of year leading up to Christmas. Traditionally, it starts four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve, but for many of us it’s the 25 Days of Christmas.
Growing up, my family would put together an advent wreath and light a candle each Sunday. Each candle represents something different. This week’s candle (the one we lit at church this Sunday, the 30th) represents the illumination of Jesus in our lives. Each Sunday you light the previous week’s candle along with a new one. On Christmas Eve, you light the middle candle so that there are five lit in all.
It’s a beautiful tradition that helps us remember why we celebrate Christmas and get Sir Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” out of our heads for a blissful hour or so, and focus on what’s important rather than our unfinished shopping.
Do you have any traditions like this? Do you use an advent calendar? They can certainly add some magic to the season, especially if you have little ones. Well if you’re like me and are running behind on all the wonderful things you want to do this season, don’t fret. Put together a simple DIY advent calendar and start celebrating now. Here are a few ideas I’ve come across as well as some of my own invention.
Paper Sack Advent Calendar from Simply Kierste. You can put small gifts and tokens in the bags or write out an activity to do each day. P.S. I have the perfect decorated clothespin tutorial so you don’t have to buy special ones and you can customize them any way you choose.
This is a cute space-saving idea from Poppytalk. You write an activity on the printable strips and attach a pom pom. Remove one each day to find out how you’ll be celebrating advent, then tear off the pom pom and add it to a garland. The labels are also part of the free printable.
This one also takes up much less room than some. It’s from Love From Ginger and you simple print out the trees, tape them to toothpicks and add one for each day. If the drilling and the staining seem a little much, buy a block of foam and cover it in a pretty fabric. They sell both of those things at Walmart.
An idea I had but haven’t gotten around to trying is to make number ornaments out of different materials and hang one on the tree each day. Some examples:
*Make a number out of a pretty pipe cleaner and tie a piece of string to the top
*Do a Google Image search on “number ___ patterned” or “Christmas numbers” and find one you like. Print it on card stock and make it into an ornament.
*Find a small, straight stick to use as 1
*Use paint pens or Sharpies to write a few numbers on plain bulb ornaments and decorate them
They don’t have to be this elaborate but you get the idea.
*Use colored craft wire and twist into a number.
With these ideas, you can also make a jar of activities and draw one each day, or you could make the ornament and hang it up for you activity. There are so many possibilities for celebrating advent.
Maybe I should start now so that I might be ready for next advent…
Have any other ideas or links to share? Please do in the comments. In the meantime, be on the look out for that clothespin tutorial and some more fun ideas for advent (ever heard of St. Nicholas’ Day? How about St. Lucia?).