As far as my children are concerned today (Dec 1st) is the first day of Advent, even though as far as I’m concerned we started Advent last Sunday. But today is when the countdown begins and we follow some general traditions.
We have a card stable that waits for the inclusion of nativity characters. The characters (in playmobil) are wrapped up (in old newspaper as I am a skinflint) and put in the very tacky Christmas tree advent calendar. We always start with Mary Joseph and the donkey and they travel around the room on their way to the stable – only arriving on Christmas eve.
We also have playmobil wise men these travel from the east or at least from the top of the shelves in the corner of the room. They don’t form part of the unwrapping process because they will NOT be at the nativity scene on Christmas day they will arrive later at Epiphany. So they will travel about after Christmas.
We also have a hand crafted advent calendar that the girls and I made years ago at a little HE workshop – it was very hard work for me as I don’t do machine sewing and it’s not very well finished but I love it. In this one we all put little messages – they could be a Christmas joke, or a task, or an encouragement, a bible verse to read, a poem, a picture etc. We all aim to write some of them but Jonathan and I are the only ones keen to do it everyone else (particularly Martin) just sighs at me! Jonathan has already contributed three items to the calendar – so far he is the only one!
Usually we don’t do chocolate advent calendars – in fact Rebekah said that she’s never had one (but I think long ago my mum might have bought one for her). I just don’t really think that chocolate advent calendars are what the season of Advent are really all about and added to that the fact that Jonathan is on a dairy free diet it’s just not for us. However as another spectacular demonstration of my inconsistency (see a whole blog post on it if you are interested) this year we have chocolate calendars. At our last Suma social I was tempted by the dairy-free calendars and thought that this year only we would do chocolate calendars (I am also aware that time with Rebekah at home may be running out so it would be good to do them with her). So with yet more inconsistency we have:
1 dairy-free calendar
1 Divine Fair-trade calendar
3 Thorntons rather excessive calendars.
I like Advent – I would like Advent to celebrated in, well Advent, and then Christmas to be celebrated afterwards. I like the idea of a time spent waiting and preparing for a special visitor as Advent in 2 minutes suggests it’s about rather than manically organising Christmas things. Maybe one year I’ll even live up to that ideal!