Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent: What are you doing while you wait?

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a purest when it comes to celebrating the Christmas season. I'm outspoken in my stance of not being a fan of Winter and choose to cling to Autumn for as long as it is around--to the bitter end of November.

However, December 1st is upon us, and with that, our family joyously ushers in the Advent season and throws open the door widely to celebrate this time of waiting in anticipation of Christmas. Waiting is a life lesson that I am still learning into my 30's, and I expect that I always will be in that process. But when you are little, waiting is a challenge of near impossibility--especially if what you are waiting for is Christmas! For our family, this means a day full of special meals, a few small gifts to open, a crackling fire in the fireplace and a day spent together at home with our little family and no agenda--and the arrival of Baby Jesus to our Nativities.

That's a lot to look forward to. And that's exactly why we celebrate the Advent season of waiting by celebrating each day in December leading up to Christmas in a special way, making each day exciting as we wait and count down to Christmas.

A few years ago I picked up a small wooden house to serve as our family's Advent calendar and each day from December 1-25 we open a door and find an Advent activity for the day.

The list of activities that we have planned for this year are as follows. They are in no particular order, and subject to change. As much as I plan ahead, I am also a last-minute kind of gal--so if something comes up that sounds fun, it may be added to the list as well!

  • Make Christmas Countdown chain
  • Decorate the doors inside our home
  • Visit Celebration Crossing at Indiana State Museum
Caroline and Ian ride the LS Ayres train at Celebration Crossing.
Ice Fishing at Jolly Days at the Children's Museum
  • Go see the Gingerbread Village and Christmas events at Conner Prairie
  • See Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum
  • Visit a live Nativity (we like the one put on at Epworth United Methodist Church)
  • Bake and Decorate Christmas cookies (this takes more than one day!)
  • Deliver cookies to our neighbors
  • Go see the Christmas lights at Reynold’s Farm Equipment
  • Attend Ian’s preschool Christmas program
  • Pack Spread Some Cheer boxes for Crosspoint
  • Make a gingerbread village
Ian works on his Gingerbread house last year.
  • Make ornaments for our Christmas tree
  • Make a Christmas gift for grandparents
  • Mail and ship Christmas cards/packages
  • Make and wrap gifts for teachers
  • Attend a Christmas Eve service at Crosspoint
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Read a Christmas book
  • Read the Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2
  • Color Christmas pictures
  • Visit the Gingerbread Bazaar at Heritage
  • Go Christmas caroling at a local nursing home
Another great source for more Advent activities is the Family Fun website. Also, you likely have unique holiday activities and events in your area that can be included as part of your Advent celebration.

This year we are also adding in a scripture reading each day that goes along with the Jesse Tree idea of tying all of scripture together, leading up to the birth of Christ. While I don't plan to go all out with a tree and elaborate ornaments this year, I appreciate tying the Bible stories that our children are learning together in a meaningful way. And knowing myself and my kids, we'll probably make a little tree and create our own ornaments as we go.

The season of Advent is upon us. What will you be doing while you wait?

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