Although the season of Advent officially began on Sunday (it always starts the 4th Sunday prior to Christmas day), most people will still use December as a calendar month to observe advent. We are planning on going out to pick our tree and heaving all of our Christmas decorations up from the basement this weekend, so I feel slightly unprepared for advent to already be upon us. I really do love this season of preparation and reflection (my friend Sara-Louise is doing a slow advent blog series this year which has been lovely to read along so far). Advent, to me, seems quite subversive in a culture that glorifies frazzled, busy behaviour at this time of year. It celebrates the waiting - when our culture tells us that everything good must happen immediately. It honours the longing - when our throw-away culture seems so rife. Subversive, you see?
One of my favourite things to prepare and take time over each Christmas since becoming a mum has been an advent calendar for us as a family. It takes a little bit of a different twist or shape each year, but giving time to think about how we can be more thoughtful, creative and connected as a family over the advent season is really important to me. There will always be chocolate involved, but advent is much more than treats - it's about connecting back down to the Story - the Story of peace, of small things being big things, of Light coming into the World in such dark times. Tell me that isn't a Story relevant for us all today?
So, in the true spirit of advent, and in the spirit of Mel Wiggins, who is perpetually on the cusp of being late for all things - I have saved you some of the work and have put together this for you to print off and use:
Here are 24 little ways that your family can be more mindful, connected and creative on the lead up to Christmas this year. There is nothing too elaborate - no extensive expensive list of supplies you need to buy in - just some fun and meaningful things you can do together to remember what this season is all about.
You can download a high-res version of it here, and then just print it off and stick it on the fridge, ticking off activities as you go. Or you can cut the activities out and slip them into envelopes, or into a bag, hat or existing advent calendar and have your child/ren take one out each day - use it whatever way you like! N.B: For making decorations, I recommend this recipe & method for beautiful white porcelain type clay that you can paint or colour in.
I hope as you prepare and wait for Christmas to take shape in your home and in your heart you are able to take time this season to connect.