Small Success: Illustrating Advent


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Well, congratulations! We’ve made it through two weeks of Advent. If you’re anything like me, now the panic of all that remains to be done to prepare for Christmas, sets in deeply. I always try to tell myself, do a little each day. However reality is sometimes, the little I plan to do takes all day and the next, to find whatever it is, or everything else eats up the day, and there is no little to give.

It’s why I love the Advent candles. The little I can give, is to light the candle. It is so necessary, to remind us of why we are doing all of this…and yes, I am trying to pare back down both my expectations and my ambitions. Small Success could be just something on my list of things to do, but it isn’t. It’s how I make sure I’m not just checking off the boxes. It’s how I make sure I’m lighting a candle each day, even the days when we have CCD and basketball and the track runner doesn’t get home until 9:45 pm and their father around midnight.  These are the dark days, when we need to create more light, and the only way that’s done is via willfulness on our part.

So light those candles, and try not to freak. If you don’t get to making cookies, it helps your waistline. If you don’t get to all the letters before Christmas, send them out before the Feast of the Three Kings. If you’re feeling you aren’t feeling the season, pray. Make a gift of prayer for the people you want to give first, then shop. You will feel less anxious. (Sort of like eating before you grocery shop).

This week, to help with the decoration of the house, my kids and I took to the driveway and illustrated a Christmas carol.

1st Day of Christmas

My arm nearly gave out when we got to eight maids-a-milking. But with my daughters’ help, we got all the way to twelve.

12 Lords

And, yes, they’re frogs.

I hadn’t intended to, but that act of going outside and drawing a carol created a tradition in my daughters’ heads. They started planning next year; shoot, they started planning the next day. We have plenty of chalk and driveway left. “Mom! Let’s do Santa and his sleigh and the reindeer.”

“Don’t forget Rudolph!”

It is the equivalent of lighting a candle. It stops the world. It is more than we expected, it cost nothing but time, and it adds whimsy, beauty and delight. Perfect.

Have a great week of small successes. Go light the candles.

Copyright 2015 Sherry Antonetti
Photos copyright 2015 Sherry Antonetti. All rights reserved.

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About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog,


  1. What a great post! I’ve been working on my Christmas letter, and I’ve got the cards to stuff, but I mentioned in my post that since I’ve now said this all out loud, I’ll probably be mailing everything during the actual Christmas season. (I do want to get it out before Hanukkah is over, since I wish my Jewish friends and family a happy one.)

    But your right: it’s not about the to do list. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I have offloaded the task of Christmas cards to Hubs. And we do not do letters. As to the rest of it, almost nothing is done, and there isn’t even a list. Hubs and I planned a Saturday-morning breakfast date at the diner (no Kid or Street Urchins) and we will plan things out. Fortunately for me, I have a built-in excuse for not going to the mall while I have this boot on my foot, so Amazon Prime is going to be my best friend.

  3. Yesterday, we had a craft day with friends. It’s hard for me to take time from Homeschool because we seem to always be behind. Sigh. But we crafted from 11am – 10pm… even after folks left. My child and I really enjoyed it.
    Some times, you just have to stop and enjoy!
    It was such a blessings.


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