My family and I enjoy opening an Advent calendar every evening in the month of December until Christmas. It is a daily reminder that Jesus is coming, and helps my younger ones to refrain from the question, “Is it going to be Christmas tomorrow?”
We have two types of Advent calendars in our house; the first is filled with tiny ornaments of the people in the Christmas story. Every day, we get one of the characters out and add it to a small Christmas tree that is right next to the TV in our living room. It helps us to remember the reason for the season, and my kids get to decorate their own Christmas tree over the course of the month. I made this one when my oldest daughter was a baby, but any calendar with pockets would work.
The second type of Advent calendar has a small piece of candy for each child to enjoy after dinner each night. It reminds us that Jesus’ coming to us at Christmas is “sweet”! They look forward to their nightly treat, and I know they are once again remembering the reason for the season.
To be honest, I was stressing out over filling the calendars in time for December 1 this year. That’s when it occurred to me that one tradition that we could add is the filling of the calendars as a family. Last night, we filled the candy one, and tonight we will fill the ornament one. It was actually awesome to see the joy that helping out in this way gave my kids. It is also helping them to anticipate what is coming in a more concrete way. Now that they know what they are waiting for, they are even more excited to take it day by day. For me, this turned an obligation into a gift. What are some ways that you could enlist your own family’s help with Advent and Christmas preparations so that the preparation becomes part of the tradition? How can your family turn obligation into gift?
God’s blessings to you as you and your family prepare for the coming of Jesus among us at Christmas! I pray that it will be a holy time for you.