It is unusual for me to be posting about Advent so far before the actual event, but it appears that there are people in my life. Short people, who are hoping for a whole heap of fun and games in the weeks leading up until Christmas. It is my fault, I set them up to it… I draw them in and let them get involved in the whole Christmas thing…the spirit of fun, spending time together, gifting best friends, crafting and celebrating a Birthday, what’s not to love!!!
I want our kids to remember Christmas time as a fabulous family fun time, I want them to grow up knowing that the birth of Jesus is a fabulous thing and well worth celebrating. I want them to have fond memories of time spent together, when anything is possible as long as it doesn’t cost money!!! I want my kids to know that Christmas isn’t about the money, it is about contentment and it is about sharing what you have with the people you love and with folk that may not have what you have.
The funny thing is that when I was a kid an Advent calendar was a beautiful picture with teeny tiny windows to open up on the front… It was stuck on the kitchen cupboard, every year the same one with the windows carefully flattened back under a heavy book for the previous eleven months. Inside the windows were little pictures of christmassy things…little people singing carols and a pile of teeny tiny gifts. On the last day you always opened the calendar to a Nativity scene, with baby Jesus in his mums arms. At bedtime you opened the window of the day and then went off to bed filled with the excitement of knowing that you were one day closer to Christmas. The joy was in the anticipation of a big event… the build up was incredible… window by little window!!!
Well Advent Calendars have changed, nowadays it wouldn’t be considered an advent calendar if there wasn’t a chocolate or a little present inside EACH little window… Even Lego has an Advent Calendar – I kid you not!!! Which brings me to the point that kids are being taught that if there isn’t a gift or a candy treat then it isn’t any fun!!! Some of my kids have made Advent calendars at youth group this past term… and to be honest I am dreading them. Four kids with a candy a day…for 24 days… I can tell you know that four other kids aren’t going to get a piece of candy everyday, and this could lead to mayhem really quickly!!! They are going to have to make a “division of loot plan” before December first or think of someone they would love to give their calendars to!!! The funny thing is my kids hardly ever get candy and when they do we blog about it!!! It doesn’t mean they don’t have treats!!!
And their treats aren’t necessarily little gifts either… a friend of mine is doing an advent calendar for her little guy and there is a wrapped matchbox car for each day leading up to Christmas – the thought is terrifying… When you have eight kids: that would be “eight times twenty four” match box cars arriving in our house before Christmas… gasp!!! Everyone wants their kids to respect their toys and care for their toys but then they just have far too many for an adult let alone a child to take care of!!! I know I wouldn’t want to gather up “one hundred and ninety two” match box cars ever let alone every day. Somehow the intended fun of that gift just flew right out the window, during the tidy up before bedtime routine.
Also, there is one thing I have learnt from all our decluttering this past year is never give your kid anything that you wouldn’t want to part with. Humor me: You decide to declutter with said child and together you will pick out the things they really love, the things to donate and the things to chuck… there are two piles of stuff there that you have paid for that your kid isn’t holding onto for dear life! Trust me there will be things in there that you have paid dearly for and trust me you are going to find it harder to part with a lot of that stuff than they are. And if you have a really hoarder on your hands, and everybody does, then it will be almost impossible for them to part with things even if it is clearly something that is of no value to them. So no endless little gifts, especially little trinkets or gizmos that will lie about the house and send me quite insane.
So what do we do for Advent and how do we make it fun? This is definitely the time for “less is more,” you may go against the grain and you may, like us have one granny that thinks “shame those kids suffer so” but my kids know they don’t suffer and after our road trip this year they know that they have far more than enough. In a world were love comes with a price tag and it appears that the bigger the gift the more you love somebody, we really have to take the time to show our kids that while Christmas is about feasting, and gifting, and traditions and visitors… it is really all about the birth of Jesus. And what better time than during Advent to help our children to learn more about their Christian Heritage and provide tangible ways to help them remember the wonderful gift of Jesus, that Christmas is to us.
This post was getting way to long, so you have to wait for the second installment and what we really do for Advent tomorrow. In the meantime if you are looking for some Christmas fun then you are welcome to just click on the Christmas button below…
10 Replies to “Sunday Snippet: Se7en Thinks About Advent Calendars…”
We count down to Christmas by “making a memory”–each day I plan some sort of activity for us to do, be it a small craft/art project or loading up in the van with our jammies on to tour the Christmas lights. I also saw an idea on Pinterest where you countdown to Christmas by doing random acts of kindness each day. I LOVE that idea, but don’t think I have the time to organize it this year, so we might attempt that on a smaller scale. It would be such a wonderful lesson in “better to give than receive.”
Most of our advent activities are things that can be repeated year after year- a calendar with small ornaments that the kids can take turns placing on the background, a calendar that needs changing daily. I did get one of the Lego advent calendars, (the Star Wars one, For some reason I couldn’t resist Yoda in a Santa Suit),but all of the things that get built will stay out of the reach of the children and return to their box to be reused next year- I’m a little selfish with the Lego one. I do seem to prefer to not give the kids something every day and I only have 2. I agree, I can’t imagine having to hand two little somethings every day, let alone eight. We are big fans of Jesse tree and have made three different reusable sets that we use every year. I’m looking forward to using the coloring page ones you linked the other day for this year.
Hi Janna, I love your making memory idea… I have a feeling that those memories will be of the lasting kind!!! Hope you have a great week!!!
Hi Rikki, You are so right I think doing things year after year helps to settle them in our memories… we do a Jesse tree every year, it is so great how the older ones know every detail and for the little ones it is all fresh and new. Oh a LEGO Yoda in a Santa Suit does indeed sound like a keeper!!! I’m afraid I would be very precious with a LEGO Advent Calendar and would find it very hard to share – hardly the spirit of Christmas!!! So it is very lucky we don’t have one!!!
Less is more, for sure. I guess it is all relative. My less would seem more if I lived somewhere else, but around here the stockings bulge into sacks (not our house!) The children love our family traditions and have been reminding me for all of November. We have homemade advent calenders and our fimo nativity characters appear miraculously one day at a time, running up to Christmas. For the first few years I thought they would grow bored of them, but they love seeing them each year. Making presents features heavily with us too. Also , I like giving presents that carry on all year like music lessons or magazine subscription. Not so much distracting clutter!
Hi Cheryl, I tell you we redefine “less is more” and no it is definitely not the norm in our area either… but after all our decluttering it is only fair to give our kids consumable/time together stuff, and not stuff they have to find place for!!! Advent has become really fun as we do the same sort of things year after year… my kids are already to get started with December!!!
Please consider linking up to my Advent Calendar linky: http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com/2011/11/homemade-advent-calendars-links-of.html
I’d love for your post to be a part of it! I’m off to look for the 2nd installment of your post. =)
I like your focus. I only have 5 kids…but it all still applies. =)
Hi Monica, So good to meet you!!! I popped over and linked up, thank you so much for the invitation – Some lovely ideas in your link up!!! Hope you have a good week.