I remember when I was a kid, December was spent pining away for Christmas. Now, we get so much to experience through Advent. New candles lit each week, a special prayer and song every night at dinner, St Nicolas Day, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which my kids have off of SCHOOL HOW CUTE IS THAT?), The Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, etc etc etc.
At the advice of a priest friend, we started simply saying one Hail Mary around the advent wreath each night before dinner. He advised me against taking on too much, and he is smart, because I do. Keep is super simple. One short prayer will do because it IS the Advent prayer. It's the annunciation in a few lines and it's exactly what we should be recalling day after day during this season. As soon as my kids clued into the words in relation to Advent, they got it. I love how the faith can just bloom and bloom and bloom. Anyway, one 15 second prayer is easy to do, particularly in a dark room with candles lit and everyone a little more focused and awed. On top of that we are doing the Jesse Tree (see last post) but this year I am breaking it down to the simplest of simples. When the kids where super little I would sit and read the referenced scripture and maybe even try and read a story that related to each ornament (****eyeroll eyeroll eyeroll****). Now, because I am smarter than I was, I kinda just shout out "who wants to put up the Jesse Tree ornament?" to which someone always responds eagerly. Then I look up the ornament for the day, then they find it, then they hang it. Maybe we have a few second convo about what it means if it's natural and the moment is right. Maybe we don't. Not all of the kids are ever in the room, but I don't care. I figure eventually everyone gets it as we press on year after year. Holy unit studies, I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Today is St Nicolas' Feast Day which means all the kids leave a shoe out for St Nick to stuff with something good. I love the opportunity to connect Santa with St Nick. I decided to go with new jammies this year (still on sale!) but they didn't come so I jetted out to Target last night and bought everyone a new Christmas ornament, chocolate coins, and candy canes. I also bought the three little bing bongs stockings because they kept coming so fast over the past few years, the Christmas-based needs category just never did get met. Anyway, the morning was so fun, everyone ate chocolate for breakfast (including Joe, who was 5 coins deep before I even got out of bed) and hung their ornaments. I also grabbed a 2016 snow globe for the family thinking it might make a sweet new family tradition. But Pete promptly climbed on a chair and dropped it, shattering it to a billion tiny Threshold glass pieces all over his little feet. No cuts, worry not. No snow globe either. Next time I might just give the gods of Target my $12 to burn right off the bat.
Next year, I'm going this route for sure. Amazon, take all of me. (Do ALL chocolate coins have JFK on them??)
The girls stuffed cute little notes to Santa into their shoes. One I like more than the other... but I'll let you figure that out.
Happy St. Nicolas Day!!