It's true: we've been sick, we couldn't travel, we couldn't see family. But it's an ill wind that blows no good: we have been able to excavate our Advent stuff and get ready in a fairly stress free way!
So, here's our plan. Once again we have six kids, and therefore, once again, we have six things to do each day of Advent. We rotate through who does what.
At this point we have many random pieces of many Playmobil nativity sets, and we set them up in a wooden stable from a long lost breakable nativity.
Anyway, the Bible doesn't specify how many kings showed up, or how many donkeys were at the stable, so as long as we stick to one Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, we are fine.
Kid 2: The Jesse Tree. That's the little tree next to the house. Each day has scripture readings tracing salvation history and, of course, a matching ornament.
Kid 3: Unwrap a seasonal book. This was an idea we picked up on the interwebs somewhere and it has been a big hit.
Plus it makes sure nearly all the books get read!
The only challenge is to choose which are the best 25 Christmas books...
Kid 4: The Advent Calendar. This year I found a really beautiful one on Amazon. It's big, it's double sided, and the windows are randomly arranged around the main picture so that opening them doesn't destroy the image. I love it!!
Kid 5: Advent Candles. They light and blow out the candles on the Advent wreath each day. We are still using glass enclosed "7 day" candles, and we highly recommend them!
Kid 6: Choose an ornament. This way our house gets slowly decorated over the course of Advent.
Besides the individual stuff, we always have an empty manger to which we add hay.
Each time, we put a little hay in the manger to make
Baby Jesus' bed (and our hearts) a little softer when He comes.
We have a very beautiful statue that we
put in the manger at Christmas and it is always the first thing the kids
look for on Christmas morning.
Other stuff is less tangible. We'll all donate money for a Heifer project. We'll try for more daily Masses (easier when we have no one sick!), and we like to see how many of the corporal and spiritual Works of Mercy we can fit in.