Looking Ahead: Prep for Advent and Christmas Trappings

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We’re a week away from Advent…do you know where your Advent wreath is? Do you have purple and pink candles ready to go?

advent wreath 2You would think that hobby stores and even discount stores that sell candles would wise up to the fact that they ought to stock purple and pink candles during the month of November, in the ratio of 3:1, but I invariably strike out and get stuck paying $4-5 a set from church or something.

Want a frugal option? Use white candles and tie a simple pink or purple ribbon around the center.

If you’re wondering what Advent traditions to focus on this year, Jennifer of Conversion Diary was looking for help on just that question:

What are some “baby steps” I could take to begin bringing the many traditions of Advent into my home?

She talks about her time as a rookie Catholic:

Every year for the past three years I’ve tried lead my family in some of the rich traditions that this beautiful part of the liturgical year offers. And every year I end up getting overwhelmed and giving up around the second Sunday, the Advent decorations peeking out from the clutter on our mantle now serving primarily as a reminder that I don’t have my act together.

Her readers came through with over 100 suggestions, and she grabbed a few dozen of the most helpful ideas and shared them in her post Baby Steps for Celebrating Advent: 24 super simple ideas.

After I randomly left a comment on her post, I thought of the two things, other than the Advent wreath, that I will be making certain our family participates in this December.

image The first is for the kids: a simple storybook of Advent tales, told from the perspective of a lovable little bear named Benjamin. If you read bedtime stories to your kids, you can handle including this in your routine. Each story is only a page long. We added it to our routine after the two standard daily books, but if you’re short on time or energy, just make it one of the required reading books each night.

Sharing Benjamin’s travels with my son was absolutely, truly magical last year. It made our Advent. You must find this book.

Little Sacrifices for Jesus

My next non-negotiable is something that brings Advent out of the clouds and down to earth for me by giving me something to DO. I dedicate my Advent season to my husband and kids, reaffirming my daily duty of serving them and getting them to Heaven.

Whenever I do a task specifically in the role of my vocation as mother and wife, and specifically for the other person, I add a piece of “hay” to my manger. I invited my 4-year-old son to participate as well last year, and it truly taught him to think of others and get outside himself.

The idea of the hay is simple: we’re building a soft bed for the baby Jesus by our good works and sacrifices. How  many 4-year-olds intimately understand the meaning of the word “sacrifice?” I’m proud to say that my son did a year ago, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with this year for his manger hay.

I explain a little more about what we do in A Gift for Baby Jesus.

Less Waste, More Green for Christmas

Did you know that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, America’s waste increases 25% from our already atrocious landfilling?

As a good kitchen steward, keeping that number down at your house is an important part of caring for your earth (and quite possibly your budget). If you haven’t been around here since last year, you may want to check out my post on decreasing holiday disposables for ideas as you head into December, including:

  • 7 wrapping paper alternatives + stuffing
  • what to do with packing peanuts
  • mailing gifts for less
  • my less-money-less-waste method of sending Christmas cards
  • ways to avoid tossing all the beautiful Christmas cards people send to you

I’ll be sure to talk a little more about Advent and Christmas/holiday issues next month, but I wanted to give you a heads up on things like Advent books and Christmas cards, because I know it’s just that time for those of you who are organized. :)

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon, so I’ll receive a small kickback if you order starting here. I’d highly recommend checking your local bookstore for the book, especially since Advent is just around the corner. There may also be lower prices online; I am not a deal blogger. 😉 See my full disclosure statement here.

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

4 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Naomi H says

    I am ordering that book! So many things focus on Christmas and skip the Advent. The illustrations look lovely – and the artist is from just 40 km from where I live now!

  2. says

    I loved the suggestion on your other post to mail christmas postcards instead of regular cards! One thing we decided to do last year was to send a list of things that happened that year instead of a formal update letter. So we picked 5 or 6 of the most important things that happened/changed in our lives and listed them out (ex. birth of our son, bought a house, found a new church, etc). Worked out great, saved lots of paper, and might even fit on the back of a Christmas postcard!

  3. says

    I love the idea of filling the manger!

    Your article about decreasing disposables is very useful. I linked to it when I republished my green Christmas article–it’s a similar topic, but the tips don’t overlap all that much, since my focus was mostly on using the post-Christmas “trash”.

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