Thursday, December 13, 2012

..advent time..

I'm not ashamed to admit that I enjoy the holidays. We celebrate Christmas in a pretty traditional fashion, but every year I strive to include more family time than anything else. With increasingly demanding schedules full of homework, lessons, and chores, it gets harder and harder to grasp those moments. But Advent gives us the perfect excuse to make time for each other, in the hopes that the enjoyment we experience together will carry on for longer than 24 days.

When Isaac was a baby, I found an Advent calendar that had 24 little compartments, each with a magnet that, at the end of Advent, would depict the Nativity. With a desire to keep Christmas a bit more focused on the religious importance of the holiday, it was a more appealing choice than any of a number of other calendars with santas, snowmen, and/or elves. It also helped that it wasn't chock-full of candy.

When Evy was small, I belonged to a mom's group, and they shared their idea of Advent calendar activities that families did together. As you opened each box/door/compartment, inside you would find an activity that the family would share in sometime that day. I was so excited by some of the activities that they shared, I wanted to start getting mine ready right away.

Then I realized that all the cool stuff to do, the stuff that I was really excited about, was not necessarily appropriate for a family with a 2 year old and a 4 month old. So most of our first Advent calendar activities included a significant amount of reading books, finger painting, coloring, etc. All I really wanted to be doing in those early years, was settling down for my long winter's nap.

Fast forward to today.

We are now in our 6th year of Advent activities, and now the fun has begun. Our activities have graduated to those of the *cool* variety, that I longed for (what feels like) many moons ago. On the docket for this holiday season are still the reading of stories, the decorating of everything, but also more creating...winter wonderland, ice sculpting, baking, maybe our own Nativity... precious moments spent savoring each others company. Whether it's a rousing game of Uno or sitting together singing Christmas carols, it's these shared activities that, for me, are the purpose of this holiday.

It's a time to show our appreciation to others, through gifts or acts of kindness. And for those closest to us, it's a time to relish in our togetherness, whatever shape or form that takes.

May your days be merry and bright....

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