A Gradual Advent

Up on the housetop, the kids hung Christmas lights.
Up on the housetop, the kids hung Christmas lights.

The weather today was warm and clear and not too windy; all the kids were home, so Hubs sent them up to the roof to hang Christmas lights–like about half the people in our neighborhood.

After the initial trial run to make sure Russ had checked every bulb, I unplugged those lights and that’s how they’ll stay until Sunday.

We don’t go whole-hog on Christmas decorating around here until well into the Advent season. I like to bring things in gradually.

6f399-adventwreath2Way back when Middle Sister was little, she used to bug us about the Christmas tree. She’d have been happy to have that tree up on Halloween. (I think that’s because her birthday is two days after Christmas, so if Christmas was coming, her birthday would not be far behind!) But in the interest of not rushing the season, we decided that we’d save Christmas-tree decorating until “Pink Candle Sunday.” She’d be able to see very easily, without being old enough to read or use a calendar, when it would be Christmas-tree time. And that’s become the custom in our family every since.

Advent: Sublime, Ridiculous and Sentimental

Here’s how I usually do decorating:

  • First Sunday of Advent I bring out the Advent wreath, Christmas storybooks (when the kids were little) and the empty manger scene.  Nothing else.
  • Second Sunday of Advent I hang a few pine garlands around the house and put up some other decorations.
  • Pink Candle Sunday is Christmas-tree day.
  • Fourth Sunday of Advent, the rest of the house decorations–and animals (only) in the manger.
  • Christmas Eve:  Holy Family in the manger.
  • Christmas Day:  shepherds in the manger.
  • Epiphany:  Wise men in the manger.

I take the tree down after Epiphany, but often we keep the manger scene up until Candlemas.

When the kids were little, we used to bring out their toy Nativity scenes (we had this Playmobil one as well as a soft fabric one) at the beginning of Advent. These toys were only played with during the Advent and Christmas season, so the kids really looked forward to having those again.

Keep it simple. Remember, the point of Advent is preparing a place in your heart. And that’s hard to do when you’re running around like a crazy person.

Believe me. I know.

9 thoughts on “A Gradual Advent

  1. Hubby grew up in a family that put their tree up early. When we can, he likes to go out Black Friday and cut down a live tree. Often it sits in our living room un-decorated for over a week. Indoor decorating usually starts with stocking since we put them out for St Nick on Dec 6th. but since I have a collection of Nativities, they all go up complete. It’s fun to hear abotu different family traditions.

  2. Yes! I love your gradual decorating plan, Barb! I do something similar … Outdoor lights, Advent wreath and Jesse Tree are up. Stockings and St. Nicholas statue will go up on Dec. 5, because we fill stockings for St. Nicholas Day … Tree goes up around the third Sunday of Advent, too … Manger scene is added to slowly as well.

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