Sunday, December 1, 2013

Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Hop Updated

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).

Advent Calendar

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

For 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
Coffee Moments with Sam     The Light of Hope
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
Canadian Catholic Mom         Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling   Keep Christ in Christmas
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
Training Happy Hearts            10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year
Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus
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
Diapers and Drivel: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Raising Soldiers 4 Christ: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Campfires and Cleats How We Keep Christ in Christmas
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


  1. I enjoyed your post and fully agree with your take. It's a nice touch that you gather steam and build up as the season advances. Blessed Advent to you and yours!

  2. The changing ribbon idea is great! It's a conversation starter for neighbours too - great evangelisation! I love the moving nativity too.

  3. I love the pictures. Your Advent calender is so cool!

    God bless!

  4. Your wreath is beautiful. And that's hand down the best use of "conflated" in a blog post I've seen all season. Happy Advent!

  5. Your wreath in the background is very pretty and your children so sweet. Did you make your Advent calendar?

    1. Yes. Every year I do an Advent craft. This was last year. This year was the peg dolls for a creche. Commercial calendars don't include the saints and they arent exactly small child friendly. So I whipped up my own.

  6. Love this. As a new Catholic this year I am doing the same thing. I have an Advent tree that is decorated with purple lights and purple bow and a few small purple ornaments. We are using this as our Jesse Tree as well. I have my nativities up minus baby jesus and mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph will arrive Christmas Eve and baby Jesus on Christmas Day, the wisemen will begin their travels on Christmas day and end up on Epiphany.

    On Christmas Eve, we will take down the purple and redecorate with Christmas colors, red, green, white and golds.

    We have an advent wreath and on Christmas Eve I will change out my purple flowers for my red ones and the purple/pink candles for white and red ones.

    We are celebrating the Feast of St. Nick tomorrow and will have stockings {you can visit my blog post and see how we are celebrating:}

    I also am going to do very small gifts for the 12 days of Christmas. {and kind of go along with the song... on the first day of Christmas...and so on},

    On Epiphany we'll exchange gifts. We all draw names on Christmas day and that is the person we'll give an Epiphany gift to. :)

    I am having such fun finding ways to celebrate fully the season of Advent and Christmas! :)

  7. Our house is decked out all in purple, too! (and pink on Gaudete) I love your traditions! When do you give the kids their gifts -- I mean what time of day? My husband has an odd work schedule and it would be difficult for us to have the kids open gifts all 12 days with him there to see and enjoy. I've heard of families giving gifts on all 12 days, but I just never could see it working for us. Plus, we try to limit what are kids get to only 3 gifts, just because I don't like all the "greedy-give-me-give-me" talk. Do your kids do that or are they too young? Also, our wallet can't handle too much (We have 9 kids and a small budget). I do love this idea, I'm just wondering how it works for you and if we can somehow make that work for us. Thank for the post and God bless you and your family!

    1. When we did 12 days it was at night when Hubby got off work. We didnt give a present to each child/person each night. We literally only opened one gift. We rotated whose day it was. At the time HB was too little to care. You may try collective presents the whole family can enjoy like games or books if you want this route.

      This year the boys are older (nearly 4 and 2). I dont think it would work. Patience being a virtue hard to practice at those ages. So I think only for St. Nick Day and Epiphany. Knee will probably get something for his birthday too when he's older since its in Advent. But this year he gets cake and an outing to a local play thingy. He doesn't know any different. Neither are real demanding about toys or gifts.

  8. Nice blog post! I like the pics to really show everything you do to keep the true spirit of Christmas in your home.

  9. I love how you prepare and anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth and the Epiphany! Giving gifts from Christmas to Epiphany is a neat idea which I think would really help children realize when the Christmas season is and is not! Have a blessed Advent!

  10. I love to see you keeping the traditional feast days. We too are giving gifts on the Epiphany this year. Let's not forget the great Feast of the Immaculate Conception tomorrow too in honor of our Lady.

  11. I love that big Advent calendar. I'm trying to do the same Jesse tree ornament idea on our tree this year, too.

  12. We don't have anything visual that screams Advent but my goal for next Advent is a Jesse Tree!

  13. We tried to push gifts out to epiphany but settled for limiting gifts instead.

  14. My children are dreaming of mountains of presents and I don't know a mother who isn't stressed out of her mind right now. In this pre-Christmas whirlwind, we are tempted to forget the meaning of Advent as a time of patient waiting and reflection. More shockingly, we might miss out on the true joy of Christmas!
    Let's keep Christ in Christmas and spread the "good news." Here's a great video to share:


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!