My kids, like all kids, love Christmas.
As the mother, it’s easy to buy into the idea that December is about lists and baking and teacher gifts and stocking stuffers.
What happened in That Stable all those years ago gives meaning to my life. As a Christian, it is THE EVENT.
Advent, these four weeks before Christmas, is a time to PREPARE the heart, mind and soul for the Birth of Jesus. It is a time to step back and let the miracle be born within ME. It’s a sacred time to invite the miracle to be born within my children.
How to make that a reality? I mean, we are busy. How to create space for Jesus’ coming?
Well, I have some ideas.
In fact, I am really, really good at ideas. I am a Sanguine and ideas are conceived continually within my brain. Continually, people. You do NOT want to live in my brain. I am always excited about The Next Thing.
But guess what I am NOT good at? Sigh. Follow-through.
I have a long list of Advent Failures where I got caught up in the BUYING vs the BEING.
And then Christmas Eve rolls around and I think, “Wow, where did the month go?”
We are going to be EPIC this year.
Why? Because I have learned how to create an environment that SUPPORTS new behaviors. Isn’t that funny? Yep, my work with The Parenting Dare has taught me practical SKILLS.
3 Simple Ways to Make Sure Advent Happens in Your Home:
Allow for choice.
- Create the Environment
Make it a Game.
First, Allow for Choice.
If you have been a mom longer than a year, you will understand this one perfectly. Kids love having a measure of control. They love choosing activities. Just google “Advent activities” and your child’s age. You will have a long list of cool activities to choose from. Talk them over with your kids. Do they want to do a specific activity each day? Do they want to do something different each week? Let them choose how they want to prepare their hearts.
The goal is to make it meaningful for THEM. (If it doesn’t meet your spiritual needs, just do your own thing at your own time in your own space.)
Second, Create a Supportive Environment
This is exciting. And.so.simple.
Change your home so it SUPPORTS your family’s Advent Celebration. For example, our family decided that we are going to gather around our Advent Wreath, light the appropriate candles then read two chapters out of our Bibles every night. That sounds like a little thing.
It’s not a little thing.
First, we are talking and coordinating practice schedules to find a window where all will be home for supper.
To make SURE we actually sit down and eat as a family, I am planning out the meals and posting them. This holds me accountable to actually create a nice meal each night.
Finally, we are using visual cues to remind us of our commitment.
- The Advent Wreath is on the table. (Which means the table is cleaned off!)
- We created a cool Advent Calendar and posted it on the pantry door.
- Set a daily alarm to remind you of your commitment.
- Schedule your Advent Activity on your family calendar.
- Write a big reminder note and post it in several key places.
Structure your environment to help you work towards your family goal.
Third, Make it a Game
Whenever you make a commitment, one way to get your brain to commit is to make a calendar and then make an X on each day that you follow through with your decision. For some reason, that ritual of crossing off a day is incredibly motivating, which helps the habit form.
I personally love stickers and color and zest. So our resident artists are taking turns and drawing a Christmas-type picture in the appropriate box of the calendar after we pray together as a family, our “x” of “Yes, this happened!”
The goal is to have an entire month of colorful Christmas pictures. Or all white snowmen. On a white background.
Finally, my ace in the hole: David. He is nine and he is the kid that loves ORDER. He follows me around the kitchen and shuts all of the cabinets and drawers. He is also a fantastic artist. HE will make sure we pray as a family because he will want to draw the picture on the calendar. That is his type of game.
If you don’t have artists quite yet, you could have your littles put stickers on a simple printable calendar each day.
Or you could make this Printable Advent Paper Chain Countdown from Happy Home Fairy, where Julie helps “Moms Build Happy Homes.”
Just make the DOING into a fun type of “game.”
One last thought: if you spend any part of your day on social media, you can easily experience overwhelm and a feeling of defeat as you scroll through How Others Are Making Life Beautiful.
Don’t go there. You have power to make Advent special in your unique family. Stay in your lane. And if it helps, implement three SIMPLE ways to make sure Advent Happens In Your Home.
- Let them choose.
- Structure your home with reminders.
- Make it a game.
You are truly amazing. Your children are blessed to be able to call you mother.