Just because it’s the beginning of December doesn’t mean it’s Christmas yet! In the Catholic church, it’s the season of Advent. Basically, it’s the big exciting wait for the birth of Jesus starting 4 Sundays before Christmas Day. (More Advent info here and here.) Technically, Christmas season lasts from December 25th through January 8th (not December 1st-25th). However, this period of hopeful waiting during Advent means we can start preparing ourselves for Christmas, getting ready to celebrate the joyous occasion of Jesus’ birth! It is so easy to get caught up in the commercial aspect of the holiday that we tend to lose sight of the real event we’re preparing to celebrate.
Here’s my Advent to do list:
- Start going back to church. We’ve not been doing this because of Patch’s unpredictable sleeping schedule but I’ve been working on that. No excuse not to go now! We just need to sit closer to the glassed-in loud crying children room, lol. But in all seriousness, I need to prep my spiritual self for Jesus, the focus of Advent.
- Get (and use) an Advent calendar. You know, like the ones with a little chocolate candy for each day as you count down to Christmas. Clearly Bug can’t eat the candy this year but I’d love for this to be a family tradition. Daddy Bug and I have always bought one through the German Club in the high school I teach in.
- Finish gift shopping. I’m almost done! Cyber Monday was the best (and earliest) Christmas shopping experience I’ve ever had and I will be doing it again next year. We used a Google Doc this year for my parents, sisters, husband, and baby to post what gifts we’d like to receive. So helpful!
- Make Bug’s Christmas ornament and Christmas stocking. My Uncle Chris and Aunt Gerry gave the ornament kit to us when Bug was born. It’s a Play-Doh like material that we’ll press his hand into to leave behind a preserved handprint. But it’s ultra light so it won’t be continually slipping off the tree.
- Make a winter craft with Bug. We made a turkey with Bug’s hands for Thanksgiving so I’m thinking we’ll do something similar. Snowflakes perhaps? I’ll be sure to post a photo here when its done.
- Put up a Christmas tree. It looks like we’ll be doing this earlier than usual this year (I’d like to wait until closer to the 25th) but December is getting busy!
- Get ready for guests. We have guests, Daddy Bug’s family, with us the weekend before Christmas, as well as on Christmas weekend.
- Make Christmas cookies. Definitely the sugar cookies so we have an activity to do with our guests, decorating and baking them! I plan to make the dough ahead of time.
- Take Bug to see Santa. I’m pretty certain he’ll scream his head off so I can’t guarantee a picture! I just read an article in the newest Parenting magazine about how you shouldn’t force your child to sit on Santa’s lap if they’re scared; it’s traumatizing.
- Schedule our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day plans. Having a baby makes this more difficult than in the past. As in, less worrying about having too much to drink and more worrying about avoiding baby meltdowns. We usually attend Daddy Bug’s family Christmas Eve party, then go to “midnight” mass (it’s really at 7pm), then my parents’ house that night or the next morning for Christmas Day activities. We still want to do the same but can’t go to mass that late because Bug’s bedtime is 6:30, if he lasts until then. Sooo we’ll have to spend less time at the family party (which is 45 minutes to an hour just to get there so I’m thinking we’re going to pop in long enough to hand out Christmas cards and show off the baby), and either go to an earlier mass on the Eve or go to mass on Christmas Day. I’d rather avoid the craziness of Christmas Day mass if possible.
What do you do to celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas? What are your traditions? If you have little kids, how do you handle Christmas Eve and Christmas Day plans?