Sunday, November 13, 2011

Advent Traditions

Advent Traditions~

There are so many beautiful traditions in the Catholic Church which we are richly blessed by.  They are gifts.  They are there to help us grow in and enrich our faith, making our faith more tangible for all ages.

Deciding what traditions to carry on or start with your own family can be overwhelming, especially for young parents.  At least it was for me.

I realized that you  don't have to do it all and most importantly, it all depends on what season of life one is in.


Earlier this fall, I was honored to be invited to participate in an Advent project that would allow me to share some of our family traditions with you all. I'll have  more information on this at the bottom of this post.  But for now, let's get started!

1.  Get Organized!

* I actually have used this amazing Advent/Christmas binder to organize my Advent/Christmas season.  I cannot  tell you how invaluable this is!

* I also keep my Advent necessities in a bin that is easy to reach...

On a shelf in our master closet.  All I have to do is pull it down and everything I need is right there.

2.  Make It Shine!

*  No matter what, I truly believe if there is only one tradition you should have, it should be the Advent wreath.  Here is a beautiful explanation of the Advent wreath.

* As a child, my parents placed lights in the windows throughout the house during the Advent season.  It stems from this old and beautiful Irish tradition!

3.  Jesse Tree - with a twist, or I should say with a swap!

Our homeschool group recently completed this swap.  I just posted about it here.  It is a must see.   Add a twist with fun to yours and make memories for a lifetime!

4.  Advent/Christmas Children's Literature.

* I came across this treasure a couple of years ago... Christmas Mosaic.

I purchased mine here.

It is a treasury of children's literature for the Advent/Christmas season.  The author, Cay Gibson, beautifully ties together children's literature and organizes it in such a way you can reuse the study year after year and never be bored.

Examples of what we read last year...all books are organized by the theme of each week during Advent.

Week One:  Advent/Decoration/Preparation stories

Week two:  Giving/Santa Claus/ St. Nicholas

Week three:  Family 

Week four:  Nativity/ Angels

(I found most of these books at our local library...some I purchased through Amazon.)

These book suggestions  just barely  scratch the surface of her recommended reading list.   She even has a list for pre-school age children...teens...Christmas work and more!

 *  This Year...we will do a Christmas Around the World theme found in Christmas Mosaic.  I've been slowly purchasing these since late summer...

Huron Indian Tribe Christmas

 Romanian Christmas

Polish Christmas

Caribbean Christmas

South African Christmas

Russian Christmas

New Mexico Christmas

Mexican Christmas

Swedish Christmas

(There are about 8 more titles on her list, but they'll have to wait until next year.)

5.  Adult Advent/Christmas reading material.   Another "must have" for adult spiritual journeys through Advent.  

I like think things lite...easy to wrap my brain around.  I highly recommend this one for starters...

This is filled with beautiful and meaningful daily scripture and prayers by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

6.  Feast Days and Holy Days 

Advent is filled with feast days and holy days and I learned that in my house we need to be careful with how much we reflect in a celebratory manner because the spiritual journey for my Littles quickly turns into a season-long fiesta!

Pregnant this year, I've narrowed the list of activities to this...

December 6 - Feast of St. Nicholas 

*We put out shoes the night before and wake to see what St. Nicholas has brought...

 (2010 - All books, movies, and toys are always shared.)

* An old tradition, we feast on Candy Cane Coffee Cake...

Pray it is chilly enough in Texas to really enjoy these...

* And discover different ways to celebrate through the St. Nicholas Center.

December 8  - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

* Mass.  

December 9 - Feast of St. Juan Diego 

* We listen, read, and watch...

December 12 - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 

* We read.

* Mananitas.  Not sure if we will be able to enjoy it this year, but I have the post from last year here.  

*  A trip to our Cathedral in downtown Dallas or visit the shrine at our parish (see photo above.)

* Mexican fiesta/dinner.

December 13 - Feast of St. Lucia

*  (Some new traditions this year!)  We will be using this night to go view Christmas Lights throughout the area.   I got the idea from  here.  

The kids are really excited for that one!

* St. Lucia bread ... recipes from here

* Craft

* We read.  (A couple of new ones to go with our Christmas Around the World theme.)

6.  Church activities.

*  Anything at church that we can participate in...Reconciliation...Extra Masses...Holy Hours...feast day celebrations.  

*  Las Posadas.  A beautiful tradition preparing for the Nativity celebrated in the evenings from December 16 - 24.

Living in Texas, there are so many beautiful, cultural traditions.  We have celebrated Las Posadas in the past.  This book does a wonderful job telling the story for children...

7. Joy-filled Noise.

As our parish priest told me just last week, our faith is to also be lived with joy.  Amen!  And music can bring such joy to a person's life.  I start at Thanksgiving :)

My favorite is this one...

I found it on Amazon a few years ago here.  (And paid a lot more!)

But I have so many more :)

Our Christmas music collection started when we were first married.  I just picked up one or two new ones each year. 


My invitation~

This Advent Traditions project, hosted by Jen at Forever, For Always, No Matter What, was put together by a group of Catholic bloggers  to share some truly lovely and enriching Advent traditions with all of you.

And as you all have your own beautiful traditions that you have carried out throughout the years, or even if you have just started with your own with hopes and dreams for the future, these are just some of our  favorites.

Grab a cup of hot coffee or tea and relax while you  link up at Jen's Advent Project to view these other Catholic bloggers and their family traditions!

A Slice of Smith Life

Catholic Baby Steps

Family At the Foot of the Cross

Love My Little Flower

Forever, For Always, No Matter What

Peace to you and your families in this upcoming Advent season!

~  Patty  ~


  1. Beautiful traditions, Patty. I love them all. That peppermint coffee cake looks delicious. I will have to add that to our list this Advent. And I'm seeing some books we don't have -- I love book recommendations. I'm also on the look out for a good Christmas CD. thanks for this recommendation. God bless your Advent.

  2. Great post, Patty! Oh how I love Christmas books too:) You shared so many lovely ones. I have Cay Gibsons Catholic Mosaic but didn't know she had a Christmas one! Love the Christmas Around the World theme. I also love the idea of listen, read and watch for some of the Advent feast days...There are so many that it can be overwhelming. You enjoy that Joyfilled noise...I'm right there with you on that one...True Advent peace. Thank you for all you have shared:)

  3. Oh my goodness I definitely need to purchase An Island Christmas! And I'm going to check out that Christmas CD. I love Christmas music too. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful resources and for being part of the Advent project!!

  4. HI Patty!

    Your Advent wreath photo is just beautiful and thank you for all the book resources! I love the idea to read books that go along with a theme in each week in Advent! Great idea! We love all the Christmas songs too! Great post and what a blessing to share in this Advent project with you and the other wonderful bloggers!

    May God bless your Advent with much love and peace! :)

  5. I'm going to have to bookmark this for next year's class!

  6. Advent is one of my favorite times of the year! Not many people celebrate St. Nicholas' feastday. We use plates instead of shoes (just because that what we did when I was growing up), and the boys always got a Christmas movie along with some candy and coloring books. I still try to get them a little something, even though OS is 2 hours away!

  7. Absolutely beautiful!

    I am sure your Christmas around the world study is going to be fantastic. I need to look for those books. We are on year #4 of a Christmas around the world study (one country per year).

    I am so inspired by your post. Thank you for showing all of into your home at advent.

  8. You women are amazing. I am going to take your advice and just start slowly. We have always done the advent wreath and calendar. But this year we are going to add a few things. It is getting me really excited to read all of these blogs with all of these wonderful ideas.

  9. Thanks for your comment. I have been catching up on your story. God bless your beautiful family and thanks for all the advent suggestions. Following you!

  10. Hi Patty!!

    Thank you so much for linking to my Advent Link Up party!! Congratulations to all of you for this great idea! I first saw it at Gardenia's blog. It helps to see the big picture to plan ahead before all the rush for Christmas. Have a blessed Advent!!

  11. Im speechless, really my little 7 year old daughter will be very happy to live advent time like this. This is going to be our fist year really living our catholic faith, tks a lot for all these ideas!!!

  12. Darcy dkoski@roadrunner.comNovember 27, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Love this post! Keeping a lot of the ideas so that next year can be smoother. Love the binder idea, I think I need to do that with a few different holidays/feast days!

    I have to ask, where did you find the image for the Advent 2011?? I would love to use that as my profile pic on is beautiful!

  13. Nice i love this post keep it up and i am chocolate lover wee my blog which is for chocolate lover blog


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