Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent Rituals

Advent has begun and Christmas is on its way.  Some days around here, it's a time for anticipation and some days it's plain old waiting.  But along the way we have collected many ways to celebrate.  Every morning, the girls go through an entire ritual of advent calendars and events.

Many years ago, long before I had children, my mother gave me this advent calendar.  It is still my favorite.  I have always loved seeing the children of the world arranged on it and I love it even more now that I have children of the world to add the pieces each day.
This year, the girls added advent calendars with CHOCOLATE!  One of my co-workers saw these German calendars and bought them for my girls.  (My girls are the occasional recipients of gifts from co-workers who are longing for grandchildren, but don't have any yet!) 

Every day, they eagerly open another door to find a sliver of chocolate, each piece stamped with a different design.  Even more exciting, they get to eat the chocolate before breakfast!
When Katherine was smaller, Granny bought her this wonderful playmobil nativity set.
Katherine loves it, and so do I.  However, Kate is a little, um, possessive of her nativity set.  Rachel is allowed to look, but not touch.  At all.
So this year I decided that Rachel needed her own playmobil set.  One that she could actually play with, or even forbid Katherine to touch.  And I found this.
It's an advent calendar of a winter woodland scene!
Every day Rachel gets to open another door and take out some adorable creature or tree or even Santa.  She is THRILLED!
And then there are the Good Deeds.
As they have for the past several years, the girls pull out a slip of paper out every morning.  On it is printed a "good deed" for them to do for someone.  Once the deed has been completed, it goes in the peppermint box to give to Santa.
They like doing this and are excited about performing their good deeds. 

All of these little rituals are a lot of fun.  The girls look forward to putting up dolls and opening little doors and pulling out a new good deed.  It makes them pay attention to other people and try to spread kindness.  It cultivates the anticipation of Advent and softens the long wait.  It takes some of the "I want" out of Christmas.  And that is a good, good thing.

Katherine and Granny had a conversation about computer and phone apps this week.  They talked about how apps are made and how there is an app for everything.  Katherine commented "If I designed an app, it would be an advent calendar with a little surprise every day."  What a good idea!

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