I have a not-at-all-humble brag: I’m finished with Christmas shopping for everyone on my list! After reading Momastery’s idea to knock out shopping in November, so that I can really enjoy Advent, I decided that 2015 was the year to start a new done-in-November tradition for yours truly. Part of why I’m finished already is because we’ve worked to simplify the whole season. I’m also working on some gift ideas to share with all of you because gift giving is my love language, and I have more ideas than people (and money) to buy for.
But in the meantime, because Advent starts on November 29th, I wanted to share with you some of the ideas we’re incorporating into Advent this year with all of this extra time we’ll have not shopping!
- We always did an Advent calendar and devotion growing up, but, despite my best intentions, we haven’t done it in our family yet. This is our year. I’m making a very simple Advent wreath like this one.
- I ordered The Season of the Nativity (recommended from the always-reliable Hearts and Minds) that we’re planning to use for the devotions/activities. I’ll report back of course, but I love the looks of it. Side note: I love how this book takes us all the way through Epiphany. We started celebrating Epiphany after we got married because Grant would get so sad when Christmas was over. Now we keep everything up until Epiphany and make a party out of taking the decorations down, having a special Epiphany dessert, and reminiscing on our favorite parts of Christmas, so I love that we can continue these activities during the twelve days of Christmas. Second side note: I checked out the author’s website, and I want all of her books now. I’m so glad that the prayer/doodling thing I’ve done during every sermon in my entire life is actually A THING!
- My mom gave us this adorable Advent calendar last year. It’s so cute! I love it because I can add my own stuff in and make it super-specific for our family. This year, I’ll add a little treat for each child in the pocket for each day + a slip of paper based off of this list we made. Feel free to steal any of our Advent calendar ideas, or I would love to hear yours!
- We started this a few years ago, but it makes the month so much easier that I wanted to share. Grant and I have a “check-in” date in early November with the calendar for the last two months of the year. If you know my husband, you know that he is obsessed with Christmas, and my over-planning tendencies used to get in the way of him really enjoying the season. So now we write in “no plans” dates on the calendar (we’ve actually started during this all year long, which is amazing and highly recommended). We typically stay in, have a nice dinner, and sit around the fire to look at the Christmas tree. Having several of those “no plan” nights built into the season really slows things down for us and has helped us enjoy Advent more.
- Back when we first had kids, we had some trouble coordinating with both families about Christmas plans, which led to us not having any plans on Christmas Eve and lots of plans on Christmas day. We have since decided to embrace this because
- We spend all day Christmas Eve in our jammies, make and decorate cookies, watch Christmas movies, and Grant and I have a date getting the Christmas stuff ready after the kids go to bed and…
- I realized that if our kids think of Christmas Eve as our family’s day when it comes to Christmas celebrations then maybe we can always have that day even as they get older and start families of their own. I mean, I know it’s not guaranteed or anything, but it’s more likely than if all of our traditions are on Christmas Day.
- Plant straw for the manger. I’m probably not doing this this year, but I love the idea. Perhaps next year.
- Follow my Advent board on Pinterest for lots more ideas and include your favorite Advent traditions in the comments!