The Advent wreath on my mom’s dining table in their home; my niece, Summer, blowing out one of the candles after the Advent prayers.
In our family, the season of Advent is a whole different experience. The traditions around this season of the Church year have been ingrained in us since we were kids. My first memory of us saying prayers around the Advent wreath was probably when around when I was 8 or 9 years old. We were living in Hong Kong then, and I had started attending weekly Sunday school classes. To reinforce the season of Advent and its meaning, my mom made us an Advent wreath, and taught us to say prayers in preparation for Christmas day. We’d pray as a family, lighting a candle for each Sunday of Advent, and we’d sing the song “O, Come, O Come Emmanuel” to end the session.
Today, 25 years later, my brothers and I have carried on the tradition of the Advent prayers, and also, the Advent calendar. It’s a way for us to teach our children that Christmas isn’t just a one day celebration of gifts, wish lists and letters to Santa.
Above: My sister-in-law, Amy, made each family an Advent calendar of surprises; Vito opens one cup each day and gets a treat. Below: My Advent calendar at home, with the theme being “things to do, and doing good.” Last December 5, it was “doing good,” so we set aside toys for the kids who were affected by Typhoon Yolanda; the Advent wreath lit up in my mom’s house, with prayers being said and coinciding with our family meal.
Each of my sisters-in-law made their own calendars:
Nica’s (wife to Kayo; mom of Summer and Emma)
Amy’s (Kiddo’s wife; mom to Cadence and Dylan)
Here’s the Dainty de Luna’s Advent calendar:
I used my magnet board from Sitting Pretty to make this.
Making my simple Advent calendar was easy: Just bought some ready-made paper tags from National Bookstore, and lined them with washi tape, then doodled silver-pen polka dots on the others. I wrote the numbers in gold pen, and tied each tag to a shiny rope of twine. The twine is fastened to the back of the magnet board with Blu-Tak, and voila: Instant, fast and easy Advent calendar!
Here are some tasks Vito’s done so far:
My hope is that our children will remember Advent as a season of expecting, of excitement… much like when you’re waiting for a new baby brother or sister to come! At least, that’s how I’ve been explaining the meaning of this season to Vito. I hope that each time we read the Christmas story (which we’ve been doing every day since the beginning of Advent), he will come to learn of God’s amazing love for us, and the wonderful-ness of CHRIST-mas, “Christ has come.”
How do you celebrate Advent, or prepare your children for Christmas Day? I’d love to know your ideas, too!