Rejoice! We've lit the pink candle! Our Advent house has 16 doors open! Our Advent calenders are opening! Our nativity scenes are growing a cast of dozens! Best of all, the manger is growing an ever fluffier bed of cotton balls! Jesus is coming!!!!
For those who aren't cradle Catholics: The Advent wreath has 4 candles, 3 purple, and 1 pink, one for each week of Advent. Pink is the color of joy (gaudete means "rejoice"). Our Advent house has a door for each day. Behind each door is a piece of the Playmobil nativity set (and 5 pieces of candy!)
Since we have 5 kids old enough to "do" Advent, we have 5 daily Advent things (the kids rotate who does what). The Advent house is one, then there is a velcro/felt nativity scene, a traditional 3D paper Advent calendar, a Jesse Tree (daily scripture with representative ornament recounting salvation history and how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament), and the last kid gets to pick a Christmas decoration to take out.
The manger is my favorite Advent tradition. Every time some one does a good deed, says extra prayers, or makes a sacrifice, they put a cotton ball in the manger. The idea is actually that we are preparing a soft bed in our hearts for Baby Jesus, but it's a great visual aid! I have also seen this done with grass, hay, straw, or even shredded paper. The highlight of Christmas morning is seeing the lovely statue of Baby Jesus resting comfortably in the manger.