Advent Traditions-Getting A Bit Out of Hand?

Sunday was the first Sunday in advent. We wrapped up very warmly against the freezing weather and headed down town to see the Christmas lights turn on and to watch the fireworks. There’s no getting away from it, break out the mulled wine and warm up a mince-pie – It’s Chriiiiistmaaaaasssss!

Advent in our house has acquired traditions and meanings of its own. You won’t find a commercially produced chocolate filled advent calendar here any more than you will in The Mad House but we do have 4 beautiful traditional no chocolate calendars. Each year I recycle two and buy two new ones. We then have a complicated rota so each child gets to open each calendar fairly. One of the calendars has to have the Christmas story in words behind its doors and we chant them together at breakfast each morning (the teens are not so keen on this anymore it has to be said but the rest of us like it so it will carry on!) The words ‘A long, long time ago in Judea..’ in a slow childish monotone are forever printed on my mind!

We also have:

1. An advent candle we have to remember to light at tea time every night and to blow out again before it’s gone below the next day’s line

2. Advent stocking lines in every child’s bedroom. Three were given by my well-meaning mother in law and the fourth was made by me when Bonus Boy came along. We have a lovely little Christmas Fairy who pops a little treat in these every day. (which MAY be chocolate, a little gift or some fruit) This is the one I made!

3. The advent mice books

4. The box full of Christmas books which MUST come down from the attic by the first of December so my darling girl can pore over the Nutcracker and dream of being Clara

5. An advent calendar card for each child in his/her bedroom

6. Santa on the Joanna

7. The Christmas Music CDs come out (Gary at Him Up North has done a nice little Christmas musical post today, he’s posting a song-a-day twixt now and Christmas to mark advent! Go see!) My darling girl will go into full Christmas mode; the piano will be a-tinkling and the songs will ring out!

But, my favourite bit of advent is the calendar we have on the wall at the top of the stairs which has little pockets in it.

Every day I pop a little note inside which may tell them of a Christmassy event which is happening on that day, or suggest something to make/bake/do. It may suggest a nice thing they can do for someone else or a job they could do to help get the house ready. On other days it may suggest they think about something particularly festive like the sound of bells or the twinkle of a star and carry that thought with them for the day. It is a place where the magic of Christmas can be created and we love it!

I did go and buy this train last week in a moment of madness. I couldn’t resist it, Bonus Boy loves trains…but WHAT will I put inside it? Any answers gratefully received!

So, what are your family advent traditions? Do you build up to Christmas slowly or are you a wham-bam here’s Christmas Eve sort of a person?

This popped up on Twitter yesterday and I stood, grinning throughout. Enjoy!

This post was entered in the Fantastic Advent Carnival over at Notes From Home

Here are the other entries, do go and look!

Jax at Making It Up has posted about her Home ed Christmas camp Advent traditions.

Maria at Fab Mums has posted about her homemade advent calendar and even find a way to use it to teach a bit of Maths.

Cass at Frugal Family has posted about making a video from Santa to each of her children.

Sally has posted her plans for her Advent calender where she has planned something seasonal to do with her children each day.

Jen at The Mad House has posted about her pause in Advent to think about the non-commercial aspect of Christmas.

Ella at Notes From Home has posted about her Advent readings by candlelight.


Filed under Books For Kids, Christmas, family life, Festive Friday

15 responses to “Advent Traditions-Getting A Bit Out of Hand?

  1. Oh my goodness, what a lovely post and what fabulous advent traditions to have – your children are going to grow up with the most amazing memories x

  2. Just amazing! My chaotic life means that we haven’t established so many Advent traditions, but there must be a book in all yours x

  3. Hooray! Someone with more advent calendars than me! I have had to bow to pressure to get a chocolate one this year or 16 year old would refuse to join in. No-one opened our Christmas Story one with me last year and I had to read the little daily story out to the dog..:-(

  4. We have the advent mice books too! I love them.
    Thoughts for the train…any chance you could buy a small lego or other construction set and put a piece in each compartment, in the order it should be put together. I always planned to do this with mine but never did!!

    Video is so uplifting. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Jen

    All this info is wasted in a blog post sweetie, get it into a book. You are fantastic at all the ‘doing things’………….Jen

  6. You will love my speical advent calender, which is a poem each day to tell the christmas story, I won it at church when I was 8 and it has become a treasured posession that I adore. We also have a special one that I tested for the Great Toy Guide this year from Lakeland. The nativity set will also come out and even more so we have made a loo roll nativity set this year!

  7. Yay! Advent is FAB, isn’t?! We have a calendar (such as yours) and I will fill it (tonight) with daily notes – each with either a treat or activity (e.g. make popcorn, do some paintin). We also bake LOTS ofcookies and celebrate each advent Sunday!


    Christmas is here!


  8. Good grief, I am exhausted! But your children are VERY FORTUNATE.

  9. Wow, you really know how to do advent! That all sounds fabulous, and some great ideas for things to do when my little ones are a bit older.

  10. Oh, we have the ‘a long, long time ago in Judea’ calendar. It’s my favourite!

    We have lots of Advent traditions but I am truly impressed by your list, and that little train is truly gorgeous! Thanks so much for participating in the carnival this week x

  11. wow, that’s a serious number of traditions!

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