However, if you are looking for ideas to ramp up the final week or start planning for next year. Here are five tried and true favorites.
Holy Heroes Adventures have become a fixture in our home. My children talk about the Holy Heroes guides as if they are personal friends. We did not have internet for the first half of Advent and so we could not link up for the adventure. While they still discussed the various skits from the past for each feast day, they have not actually complained about missing the adventure. After so many years of doing it, perhaps we needed a year off to appreciate it more. If you want to sign up, it still isn't too late, and even one week of Holy Heroes will get your children hooked for the Lenten Adventure coming up in a couple of months.
We began celebrating St Lucia's Day when Cowgirl and I read through the Kirsten books five years ago. Last year, I made her a new crown and purchased a new, beautiful nightgown because she had outgrown the old ones. Traditionally, we have been awoken to coffee and pastries (any where from prepackaged cinnamon rolls to authentic Swedish delights). We then continued our celebration with Swedish crafts and wrapped it up with Swedish meatballs, buttered noodles, pea soup, and lingon berry jam for dinner. Our celebration has varied from simple (pre-made everything just for breakfast) to the whole shabang. This year it didn't happen, though. I had made sure to find the crown just after we moved, but realized a few days before St Lucia's day that I hadn't unearthed the gown yet. I thought we could still pull it off, although there would be no Swedish treats, and considering I no longer can tolerate gluten, milk, and coffee, among other things, I wondered what we would serve. However, I knew I could come up with something, that is until I shot awake at 5:30 AM last Sunday and realized I had gotten nothing prepared and St Lucia's Day was already here. I felt terrible, but Cowgirl took it in stride. I thought perhaps we could have a St Lucia's Day Observed this Saturday, but our calendar is once again jam packed with house moving/fixing, and holiday festivities. I think for this year, it must be left by the wayside.
The sacrifice manger is a tradition that is so simple but so powerful. I can remember the kids' dismay the first time we did it when they saw the amount of straw to comfort baby Jesus on Christmas Day and wished they had sacrificed more. Of course, Buddy didn't completely understand the whole concept at first. After explaining how the manger worked, I set it out on the bow window but kept the straw on the counter in the kitchen(I knew where it would all end up if it were left at the height of preschooler hands.) He came bounding up to me minutes later, "Mommy, I need straw for the manger."
"Why do you need straw?" I inquired
"To make Jesus comfortable, remember?"
"Yes, I know that is the purpose of the straw, but what did you do to earn the straw?"
"I walked through the house twice without anyone talking to me."
He had completely misconstrued the example of "doing something without being told!" LOL, oh, Buddy. Anyway, I have considered breaking out the manger this weekend for a strong finish to Advent. I would have to make a new one, but at least there is plenty of hay in the shed thanks to our new rabbits. We have been trying to remember to sacrifice without the manger, and particularly to sacrifice our time and money to raise funds for Mary's Meals.
I don't remember where I even saw the idea first, but the traveling wise men have entertained us immensely the past few Advents. This my children have queried, and so I have promised that they will show up on Christmas and scout around until Epiphany. If you are looking for ideas of what to do with you wise men, check out Jennifer's link-up.
Reading a portion of the Bible and crafting an ornament each night has both delighted and frustrated us in the past. The Jesse Tree was set to make an appearance, and I must say that since getting permanent ornaments thanks to a Jesse Tree ornament swap a few years ago, it has been much easier to keep it going even on busy nights. However, while the tree arrived safely at the new house with all ornaments in tow, the base that hold the tree up did not. This accompanied with the lack of Holy Heroes, put this tradition on the back burner until next year. I think, though, that it gives me more motivation to complete a Jesus Tree this Lent, something I have thought of but not gotten around to yet.
Despite all of these set back, I think that we have had a good Advent. It was bare bones, but sometimes doing less is more. Do you have any traditions new or old you would like to share? I'm already planning for next year, so I would love to hear. Thank you and God bless!
Correction: Five Fav's is now hosted by Ashley.
Correction: Five Fav's is now hosted by Ashley.