My Family were not church going people and neither was my husband's so we had to come up with our own traditions. In doing Geneology for both families I saw that we had a lot of German ancestors so I went on line and found out about the german tradition of the Advent Wreath.
I went to Walmart and got a nice green wreath and decorated it with some bows and balls. I bought 4 small candle holders and used a glass mirror square from the hardware store to lay it all on. I bought a white Christmas candle (pillar) to go in the center. I printed out prayers that were included on the website.
Now I invite my grown children and grandchildren to come to dinner every Sunday (4 sundays which could mean the last weekend of Nov.) We now light a candle in the center of the wreath and say a prayer and sing a Christmas carol and then have a nice dinner. I also try to plan one activity for each Sunday such as a free Nativity scene or Christmas Movies or making cookies. We light the pillar on Christmas Day.
Also this year we found the book "Christmas in the Manger" by Nola Buck and Felicia Bond. It is a simple hard back book that tells the Christmas story in short sentences. Each page tells about some character from the Nativity such as the ox, the sheep, and the wise men. To make it fun for my grandsons (ages 3, 4, 18 months) I hid each animal or person around the house (hidden in plain sight) and as I read the story they got to find the correct piece and return it to the Christmas Nativity set. They loved it and learned some too.
We have our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and then open presents. That way parents and children can sleep in on Christmas Morning. This is how we got around the Santa Claus Dilemma. My husband would take the children out to look at Christmas lights while I put out all the "Santa Gifts" I knew they would be back in 15 minutes or so and I had a string of jingle bells I would ring and say HO HO HO as they came in the door. They would come in and be convinced that Santa had just left. It sure made it nice to be well rested and able to enjoy our gifts the next day. Oh, I also would take a big drink of the eggnog and take a bite of the cookie also. My children and now the grandchildren loved the illusion and still do even now.
By Debra in Colorado
I remember something like this when I was little. I was raised Catholic, and the Advent wreath was kept up in each classroom at our very small school. There were 4 small upright candleholders around the ring of the wreath that held pink tapers, and one white taper in the center. As you are doing, we lit one candle for the first week of Advent; that one and the next as well, for the second week, etc., until we lit all five on our last day of school before Christmas. Thank you so much for reminding me of that. That was something I loved when I was a child, and I had forgotten. I think the children in your family will look back & remember too. Your extra efforts are creating wonderful memories. Good for you! Merry Christmas!
Judi in Orlando
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