Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent 2014: The Preparations Begin

Advent is here!  The day after Thanksgiving I felt like Advent had snuck up on me, but Saturday night we decorated the mantle for Advent and brought out the nativity set for the kids to play with (we ended up with two because last year I couldn't find ours anywhere until after Advent had started and I'd gone out and bought another one, having given ours up for lost).

I wasn't sure if I was up for doing much with the kids this year, but I was motivated by the past few years and the fact that I really want to create Advent traditions that last year after year that our kids remember and so I dragged myself through the evening setup on the 29th and when I was done felt energized and accomplished.

And thankfully since we have been working on making Advent traditions for a few years our plans sort of fell into place because I already had a fairly good idea of what we wanted to do and what we didn't want to do.

The first thing that I knew I wanted to find were the candles that I'd purchased last year and our Advent "wreath."  It's not an actual wreath but it is one of my favorite Advent decorations, and we use it as our wreath:

And after Advent the candles will be changed out for Christmas:

Each night we'll say our family prayers and light the candle for the night before bedtime.

Next on the list was finding the box labeled "December Toys."  Thankfully that was easy for Paul to find and we'd planned on doing a major purge of broken toys and toys that aren't being used anymore that are being snuck out of the house for other kids to enjoy (Sadie was surprisingly on board with the idea, likely because she helps clean up the toys every night and the idea of less toys to pick up sounded pretty fantastic to her).

Then we brought out the toys from the December box and set up the play nativity with all of its pieces in the center of the toy room and then we set up the other nativity on the mantle as part of the Advent Christmas display.  That nativity only has animals in it and is placed on the right side of the Advent Wreath.  On the opposite side of the mantlr are a tiny Mary and Joseph who will slowly be making their way towards the nativity:

This year we're also doing Wise Men Adventures again.  That means that these guys...

...will be hidden somewhere that the kids can find them each morning until Epiphany when the Wise Men arrive at the stable and that these guys...

....will continue the search until arriving on Christmas morning when the kids come downstairs.

Sadie and I are also watching the daily videos from Holy Heroes (I highly recommend it!  We did it last year and it was wonderful!).  We'll be incorporating the Holy Heroes lessons into our school day and then continuing them through Advent once we go on break for the holidays.

Sadie also reminded me that she wants to use The Jesse Box, as part of our Advent preparations, which I must admit in all the rush I'd nearly forgotten about:

The last thing we'll be doing this year is our Jesse Tree.  Last year I finished all the ornaments but didn't get the tree sewn together the way I'd planned, so each day we looked at an ornament and talked about it, but it was never completely finished because the ice storm left me stranded without a sewing machine in the four days before Christmas (and then in the days after too!).

So hopefully this year nothing will keep me from sewing all the ornaments into a tree to hang on the wall!

Here are some of the ornaments.  Thankfully they're all together.  I plan on making them into a giant tree wall hanging.
Sadie and I are also going to be making little hand drawn ornaments apart from the giant ornaments we'll talk about each night.

And that is how our Advent traditions are adding up this year! What are you planning for Advent this year?  Are there any new traditions you're adding to the mix?

And for more Advent reading check out:
Christina at a Catholic Reversal 
Sarah at Fumbling Towards Grace
Cecilia at Catholic Fit Mom for Life

Feel free to leave any Advent posts you've loved in the comments sections!  There are so many great posts with great ideas and I'd love to read yours!


  1. I love the find the wisemen game! I might just have to add this to our list too. So cute.

  2. Any Cyber Monday deals for your shop this year?

  3. There isn't one up yet but I think I'm going to make one right now and put it up in a post!

  4. I had not heard of the Jesse Box before! I clicked over and read your post from last year. It looks like fun!

  5. These are great!! I wanted to do the 3 kings just didn't get to it this year. Have a blessed advent.


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