Hi! I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 1!
Advent – the anticipation of the “coming” of Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, born as a baby is a stable in Bethlehem. We celebrate this birth on Christmas.
Of course, lots of us have traditions in our families for Christmas, but we can make the season of Advent just as special. Take a look at some of the traditions at our house:
- Advent Wreath – our Advent wreath is a simple affair with some tinsel garland wrapped around a wire form to hold our 4 candles – 3 purple and one pink. Each evening at supper we light a candle (the pink is for week 3) and sing our Advent song. A statue of an expecting mother is place in the center of our wreath to signify Mary’s and our expectation of Jesus’ birth.
- Jesse Tree – our Jesse Tree was designed by my oldest daughter and myself over a dozen years ago. Ours is an 8 1/2 by 11 inch wall hanging with doors that open revealing a picture and a scripture for each day. It starts with Jesse (the father of King David and ancestor of Jesus) and brings us through the stories of Jesus’ ancestors who were all awaiting His birth and brought honour to His family through the years until the birth of Jesus on December 25th.
- Kris Kindle – or KK’s as we loving refer to it, is a tradition of choosing a family member’s name out of a hat and secretly doing small acts of love for them – such as making their bed, doing their chores, leaving a treat under their pillow, praying for them – during the holiday season. Then on Christmas Eve we reveal who our KK was and give a small ($5 or less) gift to them. Usually everyone has guessed who had their name by this time! Kris Kindle means Christ Child and helps us to give Him a gift at Christmas too.
- The Feast of St. Nicholas – this feast is celebrated on December 6th. The evening before we lay out a shoe to be filled by St. Nick (my husband and I, no secrets there) with a small gift and a small treat. We watch a movie – Nicholas the Boy who Became Santa – in honour of the day. Besides being fun, it helps us to remember the tradition behind Santa Claus.
- Operation Christmas Child – or “shoebox gifts” are small gifts purchased and put in a shoebox to be sent to a child in a third world country by Samaritan’s Purse. Our kids get to choose the age and sex of the child they would like to fill a shoebox for and they get to choose the gifts from the dollar store. This is done a little before Advent but still in the same spirit with a good lesson in giving also.
- Helping a Family – often we will choose a family to help by buying them food and gifts for Christmas. This lets us make a difference in someone’s Christmas as well as remembering those who have helped us on past Christmases.
- Service – finding ways to serve during the Christmas season helps us to count our blessings and share them with others. This year our goal is to help with filling Christmas hampers, to help a local group set up for a free community Christmas Day meal for the lonely, and to join that Christmas Day meal ourselves and visit and help out on that day.
What are your favourite Advent traditions?