Thursday, May 28, 2015

Advent and December Feast Days 2013

December 3, 2013
Advent is here! It's time to prepare our hearts for Jesus. Here are a few things we are implementing into our Advent season....

Each year when we set up our Nativity we leave Jesus out until Christmas morning. We also leave the wise men out of the scene until the Epiphany. I really don't like seeing Mary and Joseph adoring and empty manger so I am on a hunt for a wooden figurine of the expectant Mary on the donkey, on their way to Bethlehem. My plan is to have this figure outside the stable until Christmas and then move The Holy Family into the stable on Christmas morning. I am loving this idea of the changing scene throughout the month.

Another idea I just recently heard about is to place a piece of straw in the manger each time someone sacrifices something or does something kind for another. This is in an effort to build a soft bed for Jesus through acts of love.

I can't wait to see the stable fill with straw over the next few weeks! 

In addition to the typical Advent Calendar I have finally decided to wrap the special, meaningful Advent/Christmas books, and have the kids open one each night. I have heard about this idea the past few years and have finally decided to begin to do this. I found some great suggestions for a wonderful Advent book basket from Jessica at Shower of Roses. I already have some of these books and many are from the library. I wondered if I shouldn't wrap them since I am not giving them to the kids, they are only borrowed from the library. But then decided it is well worth wrapping. The kids love to unwrap things and I like the idea that we will sit down every evening and actually read a book together. Most years we place all the Christmas books in a basket and we read some together. I just don't make the time that I should to read more with them. So this will ensure we read meaningful stories this Advent. The nice thing about borrowing the books from the library is that I can decide if the book is worth the purchase first! I try to buy one or two new ones each year. I have not wrapped them in purple and pink like Jessica has, but hope next year. I do love the idea!
Here is my list in order:
(Feast of St. Nicholas)
(And we'll watch the DVD)
(Feast of St. Juan Diego)
(Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe)
(Feast of St. Lucia)
(And we'll get our tree!)
(I'm Italian- I had to do this one!!)
(This will be our baking day!)

December has so many wonderful feast days too! I usually am not able to focus too much on them because December is such a busy month. But last year I made more of an effort to celebrate a little more. I had been working on a Saint's Study with my girls and had been trying to celebrate the feast days of the specific saints we were learning about. In searching for some ideas I found a treasure-trove over at Shower of Roses! Here are a few things we did last year and plan to do again this year. Thank you as always to Jessica over at Shower of Roses. She is incredibly generous sharing her ideas and resources. 

Saint Nicholas December 6~
To celebrate St. Nicholas the girls woke up to chocolate coins in their socks hanging by the fire. 

They were thrilled of course! 

I decorated the coins using Jessica's document that she created and shared with the rest of us. I loved the way they turned out. They were so easy. I just printed them, cut them and stuck them on using a glue stick.

We also made a shepherds staff/candy cane coffee cake. We made it based on this recipe, but tweaked it a little. We tried a few different fillings. A favorite was a simple mix of sugar, cinnamon and butter spread throughout the middle.

Some books we read were:
The Legend of Saint Nicholas

The Real Santa Clause

Saints: Lives and Illuminations

Every year we watch Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa

Here is a link with great ideas on celebrating St. Nicholas Day.

Saint Lucy December 13~
To celebrate Saint Lucy, or Santa Lucia, the girls dressed like her and gave everyone treats in the morning. My husband had to be out before everyone was up so we saved our Saint Lucia Bread for the evening.

Paper Dali has a Saint Lucia paper doll that the girls enjoyed. And we found one that is more like Kirsten, the American Girl doll on Shower of Roses under "Ideas for celebrating Saint Lucia Day". Click the St. Lucia Paper doll.

We read Kirsten's Surprise

 The most fun was baking the Saint Lucia Bread!

She is saying, "Please take this thing off my head!"

December 9 Saint Juan Diego and December 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe
We weren't able to do much for these feast days and I am hoping to do more this year; maybe a special dinner. But the girls really had fun with these projects from Paper Dali. 

Emily loves this movie
and enjoyed watching it a few times!

We read

I hope you have found some things to help you celebrate Advent more fully.
Have a very blessed Advent and Christmas season.
God bless,

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