I've joined a blog hop about Keeping Christ in Christmas. So here it goes...
My biggest peeve is Advent has somehow in main stream culture become conflated with Christmas. They are two separate things (obviously). But we see the 12 days of Christmas occurring before Christmas instead of after. People throw out Epiphany altogether. And St. Nicholas's Day is celebrated on the Feast of the Nativity (aka Christmas). It's disgusting to me.
So to combat that, my family and I tease this all out. Sure my Christmas decor mingles with my Advent decor (and my Halloween and Easter stuff too). But I make it a point to make Advent the build-up and anticipation it's supposed to be.
For the children, it's the build-up to the celebration of Christ's birthday. But it's also a reminder of Christ's Second coming and the journey into the next life so to speak. It should be a call to introspection, repentance, and realigning oneself with Christ.
How to achieve this? Go visual. My watch keeps me on track. Why not decorate as a reminder? To do this...
Make use of the color purple- My Wreath (as you can see in the blog background) is hanging on my front door with a purple ribbon. I'll change it to red on Christmas morning. (Maybe I should get a pink ribbon for Gaudate).
The Advent Calendar- My children are 3 and soon to be 2 (in a couple of weeks). It's a great way to teach them about several of the Advent Saint's feasts days and to talk about the build-up to Baby Jesus's birthday. We move Baby Jesus through the pockets of the calendar.
|Sorry Please turn head. Jesse tree|
Jesse Tree- I use my Charlie Brown looking tree and we add Jesse tree ornaments that the boys color each day. We also add the symbols of each feast day in Advent. So for example, on St. Lucy's feast day (December 13) we decorate the tree with lights, but not until then. It's the build-up you see.
|I'm too lazy to snap a photo of the Creche (I'd have to figure out where the boys have stashed all the pieces). So this is the Easter edition.|
Creche- It's a favorite holiday tradition to have Mary and Joseph travel around your house in the direction of a stable. Then later as Christmas progresses we have the magi travel too. This year I made mine using peg dolls so that the boys can play with them.
|12 days of Christmas|
I add a decked out Christmas tree and go nutty with garlands, lights, and lots of color. I also have the 12 days of Christmas ornaments that we hang up. This is all in anticipation of Epiphany. But it's on a bigger and more colorful scale. We simply don't stop celebrating. It just gets bigger.
|In case you are wondering, that's HB. He and Knee look alike in profile.|
What we don't do?
Go crazy with gifts. We give the kids a book or two about Christmas and either a small orange or gold coins on St. Nicholas day. I've tried to push gift giving through to Epiphany a couple of different ways. Sometimes it's been opening one gift each day from Christmas to Epiphany. This worked well when the children were tiny so they didn't care about the gift as much as the opening part. This year I think I've finally convinced my husband that gift giving on Christmas day is a bit overrated, and we can give a small gift to each child on Epiphany. This is for budgetary reasons, and since we've moved to another country I doubt family members will be sending anything much bigger than can be put in an envelope. Maybe we'll open Christmas cards everyday of Christmas instead.
Obviously what we don't forget is Christmas is 12 days and that Advent and Christmas are fixed on Christ. No reindeer decorations or Mrs. Claus in this house. It's all about angels we have heard on high.
The Link up: Updated
Equipping Catholic Families: Keep Christ in Christmas
Simply Homeschool Living Advent Series 12/1 - 12/25
Fifth of Five Keeping Christ in Christmas - Blog Link-up 2013
Coffee Moments with Sam The Light of Hope
Hand-Maid With Love: CHRISTmas Presence: Keep Christ in Christmas 2013 Edition
Open Window Making hay while the Advent wreath shines
Faith Filled Freebies: Keep Christ in Christmas
Written by the Finger of God: Not Christmas as Usual
On the Way Home: Keep Christ in Christmas
Sue Elvis Writes: Bring Christ to Others
Mommy Bares All Why Celebrate Christmas Even After #YolandaPH
Canadian Catholic Mom Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Keep Christ in Christmas
Em’s Estuary: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Happy Little Homemaker: December Devotion: Immaculate Conception
Adoro Ergo Sum: How We Keep Christ in Christmas
JoyAlive.net: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Home to 4 Kiddos Keep Christ in Christmas
Embedded Faith Boldly Be the Christ in Christmas
City Girl, Country Home Emmanuel Is With Us. Are we WITH HIM?
Journey to Wisdom: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats
Joy of Nine9 Waiting in Joyful Expectation Like a Child
Splendor in the Home Ideas For Keeping Advent and Christmas Holy
Training Happy Hearts 10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year
Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus
Catholic Inspired: Faith-Centered Family Christmas
A Slice of Smith Life: How we keep Christ in Christmas
Catholic All Year: Three Reasons I love Advent
Mary the Defender: Christmas The Battle Begins
Truly Rich Mom: Keep Christ in Christmas
Day By Day in Our World: 40 Days Seeking Him and Keeping Christ in Christmas
Diapers and Drivel: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Raising Soldiers 4 Christ: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Rosary Mom Keep Christ In Christmas With A Teenager
Campfires and Cleats How We Keep Christ in Christmas
Life Unabridged: Celebrating the Fullness of the Advent and Christmas Season
Homeschooling With Joy Keeping Christ in Christmas
Mrs Domestic Bliss Gingerbread Nativity
The Chic Traveller Keeping Christ in Christmas
California to Korea Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique's Desk Keeping Christ in Christmas