About ten years ago, Mom mailed me a box at the start of the Christmas season and asked me to open it BEFORE Christmas… a rare occurrence for her. Inside was an Advent wreath, three purple candles, one pink candle, and a letter detailing how to use the wreath during Advent season.
Thus began the Advent wreath tradition for me and Dan. Even before we had kids, we would light the candles together to celebrate Advent.
Now, we have kids. And darn it all – they don’t quite get the holy part of the Advent wreath time. Here’s a photo from one of last year’s lighting moments. We LOOK like we’re having fun, right? Trust me, it isn’t as much fun as it appears to be.
The 2010 Advent season started this past Sunday. We just got home from our epic road trip and had a bajillion loads of laundry to do, but I went to the basement and dug out our Advent wreath because I wanted to continue the tradition this year. After dinner, we lit the first candle and THAT’S when our little rug rats went wonky. Katie could only focus on when the moment would end and she would get to use the candle snuffer to extinguish the flame. Jackson couldn’t sit still and vacillated between wanting the snuffer to himself and throwing crumbs from his dinner roll at me. The holy moment just wasn’t gelling. That’s when I decided to end the Advent wreath tradition – or at least scale it back – this year. Why make everyone miserable just for the sake of tradition?
Secondly, I wrapped 24 books for the kids to open each night leading up to Christmas Day. The books are ones we’ve read in past years – some are secular and some are religious – but they’ve never been wrapped before. Opening a “present” every day should hold my kids’ interest, right? I also bought a new book to include this year: Llama Llama Holiday Drama. That Llama Llama is one of my kids’ favorite characters. Here’s the basket of books that I hope will be a hit!
The plan is after dinner each night, one of the kids can open the Lego door and the other can open a wrapped book. They can alternate jobs every night. On Sundays, we’ll still light the Advent wreath so I can try for a few more holy moments.
Now I’m actually looking forward to the start of December and counting down with the kids!