I wanted to share some of the structure for my Advent plan. The details will be forthcoming with pics to help illustrate the specifics.
The First Sunday of Advent begins November 30th. So if you don't have everything you need for your Advent Wreath you still have time.
My plan for Advent begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through the Feast of the Epiphany.
I'll go back and touch on these events and holidays, promise.
Every year I want to squeeze every moment of joy out of the holidays.
Is it too much to ask? I want: great food, to create amazing memories, give perfect gifts, make crafts, send cards on time, make all the parish and community events, visit family and friends, take professional quality photos, not gain 10 pounds, sew something special, try those recipes from Southern Living, cut a real tree, decorate it like Better Homes and Gardens, get a decent parking place at the mall, and all while keeping Christ at the very center of the celebration?
Yes of course it's a lot to ask, but you know what I want it anyway.
So an Advent plan for me is like any other plan I use. It helps me get the very most of what.
This years plan is more like a plan/calendar/curriculum.
To pull it together I started by pooling the resources. I made a list of books and stories I wanted to read aloud or have the kids read. As a family we made a list of all the movies we like to watch. I marked events like the Immaculate Conception, Saints, Los Posadas, Way of Lights, etc. I reviewed community calendars and special events, as well as parish events.
Then I made a list of the special things I like to do with the family. Things which I again I promise to expound probably in agonizing detail, later.
Crowning gifts: We make a collage from some of the Christmas cards and then cut crowns from them. We decorate them with glitter and on the back we write down the gifts we received that year.
Mary, Queen of Heaven Tree:
Small artificial tree decorated with prayer cards made into blue and silver ornaments with Mary topping the tree and blue and silver ribbon.
Christmas Light Tour:
We have always made a special evening of bundling up with blankets, warm cookies and thermos' of hot chocolate, then driving around to look at Christmas lights in our town.
Several baking days:
Cookies, breads, pies
Gifts for the neighbors:
We bake cookies, candy and treats and carry them to the neighbors.
Snowflakes, paper chains, snowmen, penguins, etc.
Birthday Cake for Jesus:
The kids make a cake for Jesus
We have some 30 favorite movies so evenings after supper, stories, and other events are often spent cozied up with our favorite movies.
Geography of the Birth:
Fleeing to Egypt, Census, - this year we are doing the Astronomy of the Star
Everybody makes the best gingerbread house
Angel Tree Shopping:
Feasts, dinners with friends, all the community and parish things.
(so there are a few of the ideas)
I'm adding this year - Boxing Day, Christmas Date, & a St. Lucia Breakfast which I am very excited about.
I take the business of the season and think it out too. Never have I laid out quite this well though so I am very excited!!!
A business examples:
No I am not predicting or scheduling the weather (yet). But when the snow comes we want to enjoy it. We can't enjoy it we don't have what we need. So I've already purchased the new snow pants/bibs, located & double checked that boots fit, made sure we had coats, gloves, hats, and scarves. We have the sleds, stocked up on hot chocolate and marshmellows.
Cold Weather Prep:
We have our first load of firewood put up, we've cleaned the chimney, serviced the furnace, and gotten the heating blankets out.
Some of the stuff to still do:
I still have food stocking to finish
Rock salt to buy
Garage to straighten so both cars fit comfortably.
Cutting the tree
Getting the Wreath ready
Buying the candles
All these things and plenty more are going on a GIANT Advent Bulletin Board. I am still working on this - I have 2 weeks. I've covered it with pretty papers, it will be decorated with ribbons and bows. Each event has a little description I typed up. I've used old Christmas cards (appropriate for the event - like a singing angels one on the day for caroling) for each day, with the description on the inside. There is a little date on the outside, little cut out books with the book titles on each they can choose from, little dvd's to pick movies from too.
The kids are very excited to see everything in store for them this year. Steve is excited to have so many opportunities for family time doing activities that he sometimes doesn't get to join in during school time.
I did not realize until I began to write all our traditions down how much there really is! I am working on producing an Advent Plan for families but it will not be ready this year. It will be a project I work on next year. Additionally we do Lent & Easter big as well so I am making Lenten notes and I may be able to share a written Lenten plan in January.
I'll be posting pics and sharing as I go - I am having SO much fun doing this, the kids are thrilled, and I am looking forward to every single day from Thanksgiving to the Feast of the Epiphany.