Every Advent season sneaks up on me and I always feel less than prepared- I actually think this is just a theme for my life in general-ha!  But we light candles each night and read the unfolding story together over Christmas cookies (our favorite Raspberry Thumbprints here) & chocolate milk & it is a welcome pause to the busyness of a full life.  We need to create this spaces that invites expectantancy.
 We light our candles, read together the scripture; the prophecy and the fulfillment, we sip (and spill) chocolate milk, & we share together.  We also do activities each day that are helping us celebrate, learn about Christmas, serve, give to others, thank God for the blessings in our lives, and have fun! Some friends have asked about these traditions so I thought I would share a bit (admittedly late but #howIroll) because it really is easy to start and make these your own & I would love to hear what you do too!

The most important part is just singing O Come Emmanuel (taking turns with each child leading us in singing & serving cookies), reading the story, and lighting candles each night together.  Our kids look forward to this tradition so much (ok, also, the aforementioned cookies) and for us it helps slow the season down a bit because there is not so much pressure on this one day to be special.

We use this candle holder each year and this beautiful book that kids can open each door revealing parts of the biblical story. You can make a simple salt dough Advent candle holder too!

Here are some of our activities:
Every year we go to Come to Bethlehem & Advent Day 7 we drove out to continue this tradition of a walk through live nativity. We love walking through the story and watching as the older girls are now leaders in explaining the story to the little kids.

 Abishai felt some type of way about the live animal smells this year.

We have this picture every year!! Check out when Anni was such a little!!

 We joined with Girl Scout friends to be bell ringers for Advent Day 8. It was amazing how generous people were- some even coming back with cash because they did not have any when they walked by.  How could you not give to these sweet faces- even Chewie was in on it. One woman stopped & told the kids a story of giving her change as a little girl and always regretting being so shy & not taking the bell ringer up on his offer to ring the bell so the girls gladly allowed her to join in the ringing.  Rayne used her Saint Nicholas money to surprise the girls in the shift before ours with hot chocolate!  You can register to ring here to help out the Salvation Army this season.

 We also headed over to the LEGO train show for Advent Day 9.

Day 9 also was the annual Christmas brunch with my family where we feast on fabulous food and enjoy time with family! 

 Advent Day 11 we spent singing Christmas carols at a local assistant living community. It was so much fun to see the girls love on the residents.

  We met AJ who wheeled over to me as I was capturing the event because he wanted to see my camera as he used to be a photographer.  He shared about being a photog before 35mm film! We shared stories and laughed as the kids chatted with the ladies.

Advent Day 13-
We love celebrating Santa Lucia Day during Advent- this became a tradition because of Jason’s family’s Swedish roots and because when we lived in Andersonville in Chicago the festival was always so much fun.  We try to celebrate it each year in different ways. We love the candle crown, read a book about the legend of Lucia and the tradition in Sweden, and eat sweet buns (which are straight up Aldi cinnamon rolls because the one year I worked so hard to make real saffron buns the kids were not a fan 🙂 We skip the Swedish lutefisk for sure.

  During our Santa Lucia singing with only candlelight we are reminded that Christ is the light in the darkness.

Advent Day 15-We packed bags & prayed for anyone who we may meet on the street asking for change. The bags are full of items that will hopefully bless them and hand written notes from the kids. 

 Advent Day 19– Elf Movie night complete with snacks from the movie. I completely stole this idea from my dear friend Kim & we included it this year because Anni & Evy were just in Elf Jr. Candy for dinner was a highlight for Abishai.

Advent Day 17th– It is better to GIVE than receive so we headed to Target with their hard earned money to buy gifts for each other.  It was definitely chaos with 4 kids picking out gifts for their siblings & paying separately. Insane is the word I would use but it was so worth it to see them be generous. This year Rayne spent every cent she had on others and told me at least 5 times last night, “Mama, I am so proud of how generous I was.” Me too girly, me too. 

And also, there are plenty of nights that are mostly like this…

 and this….. so let’s keep it real.

We have indeed even cancelled Advent because of fighting & general tomfoolery (I may have used another word to describe it in the moment).  It is not always easy but I think fighting for family together-ness is worth it.  Some nights we did very little and some nights we had big outings or activities but we try to make the focus spending time anticipating the birth of Christ, sharing our lives, and having fun together.

There are some fun acts of kindness ideas here too. I shared about our Saint Nicholas tradition here. Comment with your traditions!!! I LOVE sharing ideas.
Happy Advent-ures friends as we wait & watch & hope……
RoxanneSignature

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