I think I love Advent more than Christmas itself. Preparing the house, buying special food, and choosing gifts for family and friends. The anticipation is so magical. We have a some advent traditions, but this year, as Bee understands a little more, we’re introducing a few extra.
Why not join us, and try some of these advent traditions with your family this Christmas?
Reusable Advent Calendar
Most people who celebrate Christmas have an Advent calendar. They’ve been around since the mid-19th century. From the simple picture behind a door to all manner of ‘filled’ varieties – lego, gin, cheese – but most usually chocolate.
I’m a big fan of advent calendars that can be used year after year, be they fabric pockets or little wooden drawers. They offer a flexibility that you can tailor to the lucky opener, taking account of allergies, personal interests or siblings.
And then, at the end of the season, they can be packed away until the following year. No waste. Totally sustainable.
A well-made, well-cared for reusable advent calendar, could also be passed down the generations. What a beautiful festive heirloom that would make.
Last year I saw the advent calendar I wanted for my family.
The Maileg Pixy House.
I totally fell in love with it. But it came with a very large price tag.
So this year, I’ve figured out how to make my own version of it. I’m currently beavering away, putting it together. And I’ll be bringing you my Maileg Advent Pixy House hack very soon.
Advent Candle and Crown
This autumn I have started a new little ritual with Bee. Making our mealtimes more of a relaxing, and gentle family event.
We take time, every mealtime, to light candles, around our seasonal centrepiece. Theres something calming about candlelight, even for a 2 year old. So, introducing an advent crown and candle will be pretty simple.
We already own a Grimms Celebration Ring, which will form the base of our crown. I’ll take Bee out on a greenery and treasures-of-nature collecting expidition to decorate our ring, as well as including figures from our nativity. I bought an Advent candle from Oxfam which we will place in the centre, and burn down each day.
It’s a a far cry from the Blue Peter coat hanger and tinsel version of my childhood!
Reverse Advent Calendar
We did this last year, and will do it as part of our advent traditions every year now. You start advent with an empty box, and every day you add an item to it. Then, on Christmas Eve you take the box and donate it to a local charity.
The most straightforward to do (because nearly everywhere has them) is to collect food and toiletry items for a food bank. But theres nothing stopping you collecting for an animal charity, or baby items/toy charity that gives out items to struggling families.
Living Advent Calendar
Lucky for us, the village we live in has a Living Advent Calendar every year. Each day, one of 24 (often more because its so popular) houses around the village, unveil a decorated window. People go all out and create some wonderful windows.
The best time to see them is obviously on Christmas Eve, when they’ve all been revealed. Villagers gather to visit them, and sing Christmas carols by torchlight.
It’s a really heartwarming advent tradition.
So, if you live near Saltaire, then head over and take a look. If there’s nothing like it near where you live, how about setting something similar up – in you local community, at your child’s school?
Random Acts of Christmas Kindness
This will be a new one for us this year. I’m putting together an Advent calendar of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. One to be chosen each day, and ticked off. For me, Christmas is a season of goodwill and a time for giving. So I’m putting together, and will share here shortly, ideas for acts of kindness to spread a little Christmas cheer with strangers, colleagues, people we see everyday, and friends we forget to tell how great they are.
What Advent traditions do you have?
Please leave a comment below and share how you celebrate Advent.