I've always loved Advent. Something ingrained in me perhaps with a Roman Catholic education or just a natural enjoyment of this time of year, I prefer the cold!
I remember having an Advent party with friends from Church when I was a new Christian - don't think anyone else really knew what I was going on about but they came along anyway!
Ever since Matilda was small, we've tried to make the waiting, preparation and expectancy of this season part of our family traditions. It's hard to reign kids in at Christmas, particularly as they start rehearsing nativity services and Christmas songs straight after half term....but having this gradual build seems to work for our 2 and is now expected!
Tomorrow we will get our Advent decorations out of the loft and most importantly, the pocket Advent Calendar my aunt made for me the Christmas Matilda was born. Inside each pocket will be a chocolate for each child and on some of the days, there will be an activity, to enable us to engage with Advent as a family. It may be something fun, something practical, something for others, something spiritual and reflective, a little gift. It's always fun and the kids enjoy finding out the daily surprise or task as much as eating the chocolate (I kid myself!!)
So much is bound up in this season for me, remembering being heavily, heavily pregnant 10 years ago today and waiting for this long awaited baby to arrive. She eventually turned up 14 days late but it makes this season even more pertinent.
There are some fab ideas on the London Diocese website for daily activities with children here and our list appear below, designed around our schedule and commitments. Feel free to steal!
I also love the ideas on Rachel Held Evan's blog from a few years ago here
And you should listen to this album - Behold the Lamb of God
Sunday 27th November - (late) Stir Up Sunday – Christmas Cake
Monday 28th November -
Tuesday 29th November –
Wednesday 30th November - Decorate the house for Advent/Family Prayer and Candles
Thursday 1st December - New Toothbrushes for all!
Friday 2nd December – (PCC Drinks) New Christmas book
Saturday 3rd December – Family Breakfast / Sibling gifts (Church Christmas Party)
Sunday 4th December – Breakfast Church
Monday 5th December (Youth Club)
Tuesday 6th December Focus on St Nicholas – gifts for CAP/foodbank
Wednesday 7th December (ReGen) Christmas movie and Chinese night
Thursday 8th December Tree – Decorate for Christmas/Family Prayer and Candles
Friday 9th December Family dinner OUT!
Saturday 10th December (CAP event) Matilda birthday party 5-8
Sunday 11th December – CAP Sunday Fabian birthday party
Monday 12th December (Alice out pm)
Tuesday 13th December Hot Chocolate and marshmallows
Wednesday 14th December Matilda Birthday Tea!
Thursday 15th December Pressie wrapping and school cards – saying thank you.
Friday 16th December Toy clear out – donate to charity
Saturday 17th December Family Breakfast and Play (Messy Church) Cub sleepover
Sunday 18th December – Nativity service Baking afternoon – ready for delivering to neighbours on Wednesday.
Monday 19th December – 1 new download – song, app, game max £2
Tuesday 20th December – Christmas around the world (themed dinner)
Wednesday 21st December Street Christmas card delivery
Thursday 22nd December Christmas Tree sleepover
Friday 23rd December Grandma and Grandad and Gran arrive – Theatre trip!
Saturday 24th December Christmas Eve box
Sunday 25th December – woo hoo!