Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Plans: Week 1

Has it been a weird week for anyone else? I feel like Advent should be here already and yet we are still waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting... It's like a pre-Advent Advent. ;) I usually have most of my gifts purchased by now so I can fully focus on Advent, but alas, I do not. I do, however, have my Advent plans pretty much ready to go.

For the week ahead...

This Saturday we will gather all our necessary Advent items - pieces to form the Advent wreath, Advent calendars and countdowns, the Jesse tree and its ornaments. The weather is supposed to be half-way decent so that will be nice as we gather and cut fresh greenery for our Advent wreath. The kids will also make their annual paper chain with daddy to hang on their bedroom door.

My focus for the week is emptying our and purging the house. This is the week I focus on baring our house, almost to the point of it feeling bare. That is my goal. Whether I achieve the same level of bareness as last year, well, that may not happen. However, I do like this week for that. While everyone around me puts up their Christmas decorations, I am not even thinking of them and actually trying to de-decorate my house. Of course, everyone I know has already put up decorations since Advent is starting a bit late this year.

Each day the kids and I will gather around the Jesse Tree for our morning prayers and devotion - a Bible story, an ornament, and a new prayer for the Advent wreath:

All nations, everybody, is waiting for you, Indians and Eskimos are waiting for you. People in New York are waiting for you. People in Beijing are waiting for you. Jesus, come to us.

Sometime during the week the kids and will make a fun background to hang our stockings on. We are without a mantle this year so I plan on hanging them up the stairs using little hooks. I thought it would be festive to have a background for the hooks to go on, even a simple paper backing.

I would also like to make our outdoor wreath to hang between our door and front window. I just love fresh wreaths!

Usually throughout Advent we have no sweets except for our Sweet Sunday, but I did want to do a test batch of these Starlight Cookies with my adaptations. If not, we may just test batch the first time we do them on Christmas Eve!

For me... Besides purging the house, I turn inward, to focus on my spiritual life. I will continue the Christmas Novena and I will begin this Advent Bible study, which actually started on November 26th. I tried to start it, but you know, it was not Advent yet and it did not feel right! I altered their plans to include Sundays and right on in to Christmas. I am only using it for the Bible study but there are some nice additional (optional) family activities in it.

Christmas Around the World... The kids and I are taking a break - thankfully - from Ancient History (really, it is just not my cup of tea compared to other ages past) and learning about different Christmas traditions around the world. This week we are visiting Germany and Israel.

First Sunday of Advent... Blessing of the Advent wreath and first prayers. And hopefully a little Christmas Tapestry at my church in the evening.

Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th... read some St. Nick books, watch a fun video, have a little Santa's cocoa and a St. Nick pizza for dinner, St. Nick coins in the morning and assign secret missions.

Feast of St. Ambrose on December 7th... Read The Christmas Candle and decorate our Christ candle to be used for the Christmas season. Attend the vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th... Create our Mary candle (cover our Christ candle with a white cloth and tied with a blue ribbon, to be unveiled come Christmas). Hopefully have a special meal - all-white? Or perhaps a blueberry-centered breakfast?

Whatever your plans, God bless, and remember the reason for the season!

(By the way, I had a little sidekick that kept me at this post way longer than I intended to. My cat, Sirius, first fell off a little bench and kept me laughing. Then he very nicely jumped up and laid beside me with his head on my number pad on the keyboard and promptly fell asleep while punching keys at the same time. ;))


  1. We loved our Christmas Around the World, hope you have fun! We are doing "Storybook Advent." I"m wrapping up a picture book for each day and then we are reading the book and doing an activity. We also do the St. Andrew novena. We normally do the Jessee Tree, but just don't think it will survive baby Nate and the puppy this year so we are taking a brek!

  2. Hi Nicole... its been a weird week for me for sure! I saw your comment on my blog about not feeling it was right to do an Advent study before Advent. I agree somewhat,even though I have begun the study myself, I haven't done all of the things we were supposed to do this week. I mostly read the scripture and lit my little candle and tried to get to that peaceful place in my heart. I'm likely not going to be able to keep up with all of it because of our travel plans, this busy week and being left with only one week to finish my housekeeping etc. but I'll do what I can.

    I still hope to make a simple Jesse tree to share with my daughters, maybe I'll get hubby to pitch in since he thought it was a nice idea!

    Its always nice to see what you have those starlight cookies! Enjoy your Advent activities with your precious loved ones!

  3. You have great plans here Nicole!

    I feel the same about this week, like Advent should have started this past Sunday. It's going to go fast, with only 3 full weeks inbetween the 4 Sundays before Christmas Eve!

  4. Sylvia, yes, I think we'll have fun with Christmas Around the World even though the boys were disappointed we weren't actually flying. ;) I had thought about the storybook Advent last year but it was too much. Let me know how it goes! Maybe a future year. It's fun having a little school theme for each Advent to break away from the normal stuff. And I totally understand about the Jesse tree! Maybe you could still read and have the older two color in symbols each day? Not as fun as hanging but maybe they'd like it?

    Lisa Maria, yes you are busy this Advent so I pray that it is a happy, peaceful one despite the travel and busyness. :) For the Jesse tree, the simplest version is a paper tree I think where you print, color and hang on your tree. Or even make a paper tree for the wall to use.

    Thanks Jamie Jo. The time certainly will fly by! I have my plans so nicely written but I still have it all to gather. ;)

    And thank you, Victor, for the wishes. Blessing to you as well.

  5. Haha, I love the pre-advent idea. I feel the same way. Wow, you guys are hard core, with the no sweets. Shows you how much I don't know..being a convert, but I think that is a wonderful practice.

    1. Ha, Elisa, I am not as hardcore as you think (and I am a convert too since 2003). Here's the deal on the sweets. I love them. Way too much. The kids do too. And it makes us all cranky and always thinking of sweets as something expected, not truly appreciated. Well, when the boys were diagnosed with celiac disease and then I could not do dairy, soy, eggs, etc. it gave me a reason to limit sweets. So I figured Sunday because it seemed appropriate and it helped limit my kitchen time. Unfortunately we always fall off the wagon so to speak so I use Advent and Lent to get us back on track. My husband now does not follow this. I wish he would but I do ask him to limit the kids.

      Limiting sweets this Advent in particular is important to me as I am still having some health issues and so I am trying to try a few things to hopefully help.

      And now I must sleep. I am at that stage of a sleepover when fatigue finally sets in after the crazy giddiness.


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