Tag Archives: advent calendar

Advent, Anticipation & Presents

1 Dec

Christmas is ComingThe countdown to Christmas is on. The decorations are up. It is a season of waiting and preparation, but as the anticipation builds is the present moment getting lost?

With advent, as with so many things, there is a fine balance to keep in play. There is so much focus on “the big day” that the days leading up to it can easily fall victim to merely planning for the future. A dangerous practice, as anticipating the future tends us to swing too much energy toward an unknown that is over as soon as it has begun.

Once the future has begun, it is no longer the future, but the present, and without practice we might not even recognize it until it is over and then find ourselves looking forward to the next thing: be it New Years, Birthdays, or simply going back to work.

How many times has a relaxing Sunday been marred by the anticipation that the next day is Monday and that will mean going back to work? Don’t deprive yourself of the present in anticipation of the future.

How? Enjoy the Present with Presents! Of course.

 

A present for each and everyday.

A present for each and everyday.

A tradition that I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid is that of advent calendars. Each day, starting today December 1st, is acknowledged with a small surprise or gift of some kind. Sometimes it is a lovely wintertime picture, a sweet candy treat or a small toy.

The practice of advent calendars teaches small children their numbers and helps them to visualize how many days there are left until Christmas. In addition, advent calendars give parents an easy answer to the often asked question: “Is it Christmas now?”

Some good ideas for making your own advent calendars can be found here. This year we are doing the 24 origami boxes made to look like little presents. Last year I took all of my preschoolers random mismatched socks and made them into stockings. What advent calendar ideas have you enjoyed doing?

Breaking it Down Even More

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded by an hour by hour we remain present during this season of anticipation. We have a wintertime clock (that we received as a present a couple years ago) that plays a different Christmas carol each hour, on the hour.

There are candy canes and other sweet treats stashed in plain view all around the house this month, as well.

While my preschooler, like many children, spends lots of time longingly examining the tree and wondering what joys this magical season will bring, with advent, we are reminded that it is each day and every moment that holds the real gift of the present.

My preschooler wanted to play Santa right away with the advent presents.

My preschooler wanted to play Santa right away with the advent presents.

 

 

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Being Present with a Present Everyday

30 Nov

An advent calender can have more meaning than I ever realized.

This year, even an advent calendar was out of my reach. This item seemed to have lost favor in my consciousness while store shopping so fortune led me to make this timeless addition to the holiday tradition this year.

Advent calendar’s brilliance was fully appreciated this year as I searched for one. This year, the search became all the more poignant because it has been the first year that Adam has been able to gaze out the window and say dreamily, ” Santa’s coming.”

When the neighborhood Christmas decorations go up, ” Santa’s coming.”

With the countdown to the countdown to Christmas cartoons on TV, “Santa’s coming.”

I never thought about how I would explain Santa Claus before. “He’s the spirit of giving.” I found myself explaining this year when Santa first started appearing halfway toward Thanksgiving. “Because it feels so good to give.”

I was given the idea for the advent calendar from Disney’s Family Fun magazine. Yes, I know there’s no escaping Disney. This magazine was given to me by a great gift giver (thank you Amy ;). So I used this gift given to me to make the first gift of the season. The gift of the countdown.

Anticipation of the big day is as much a part of the journey, the fun, as Christmas day itself. With Christmas Eve, New Years and Adam’s birthday all in the same week, it’s like a week-long party anyway, really, more than just a celebration on the one day. And an advent calendar makes it a celebration for the entire month.

So, the advent calendar itself was made from all the socks Adam grew out of this year. I’d had a pile of them growing in the back of his drawer. They are the ones who lost their mates to the dryer monster, or the ones foolishly made in white. White socks are a mystery to me, how anyone keeps them that way? An understanding that is beyond my comprehension.

I gathered up 24 of these and Adam squeezed some food coloring into plastic tubs and the finger dying commenced. We got some socks dyed in there too. Awesome tye-dyes. We pasted the 24 snowmen I’d cut out onto 24 clothespins. Each decorated with a number and a face drawn by Adam’s creative hand.

Strung up onto pom-pom ball garland, these little feet bring us a day and a step closer to Christmas. Each sock, like each day, bringing its own surprise treat inside. The advent calendar just helps remind us just what a great thing that really is.