Advent is here! It’s a challenge to keep our focus on prayerfully, peacefully waiting for the coming of Christ when every time we step outside the world is screaming “IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!! BUY BUY BUY!!! SAAAANTAAAA!!”, accompanied by tinny Christmas carols. So in my perfect Advent, we would keep our focus on Christ while keeping the excitement and joy all around us, smoothly doing our Advent devotions and activities with smiles on our faces and nary a whine to be heard. Heh.
Our tree is up, but not lit. We are slowly decorating, so every day brings a new decoration or two to keep the anticipation and excitement up (okay, or because we have a ton of decorations and I am lazy). Every morning after our Advent wreath prayers, the boys pick the day’s numbered bags and reveal two ornaments to put on the tree. We have a huge collection, so putting them all up at once is time consuming and our memories are lost in the shuffle to just get them all up already. General Grevious and Winnie the Pooh ushered in the first day of Advent, and so far a Duke basketball, Charleston’s Rainbow Row, a Creche, and a Mama Bear reading with her cub have joined them. Both boys cannot wait to open more bags and find the perfect place for the ornaments on the tree (although Anthony has some trouble actually getting his to stay on there). I’m waiting to see when one of the boys will crash into the tree and take it out, since both love to stand on the couch arm to reach the upper branches.
After hanging the ornaments, the boys open up gold-wrapped books from our enormous collection of Christmas books. Sometimes they are religious, sometimes secular, always exciting. John remembers some from years past and some are new (or like new). Unwrapping two a day lets the boys really enjoy them all instead of being overwhelmed by a giant tub of books. They can’t wait to rip off the paper and read the books alone, together, and with me.
After dinner we do our Advent wreath prayers again, light a candle, read our Jesse Tree story, and put up the matching ornament. Last year I made these ornaments from Shower of Roses. Last year we read from the Catholic Picture Bible, but one picture and a long text were a bit much on some days for a toddler attention span, so this year I’m using the Rhyming Bible Storybook, which both boys love. John always asks to read more stories and Anthony “reads” the book on his own, babbling along in the same rhyming, sing-song cadence as the text.
Or that’s how my perfect Advent day would go, anyway. Some days John and Anthony fight over who gets to open the bag with the number on it (usually John), whether John can “help” Anthony with his (read “open it and put it on the tree himself”), and whether John can help (read: “rip”) Anthony with his book. Sometimes I forget the Jesse Tree and we do it in the morning–seriously, I’m 2/5 here–and sometimes we do everything in about 2 minutes before bed.