Starting Traditions for Advent


With Christmas right around the corner, and my son on his way to turning three in March, I find myself reflecting on Christmas traditions that I enjoyed as a child.  I remember waking up Christmas morning, so eager to see what was under the tree.  My parents watched us open our stocking gifts as they sipped on coffee.  Gathered around the Christmas tree, My brother or I would be Santa, and the other his elf, passing out the presents.  Every gift was opened in its own time, and each one was special.  There was magic and a true spirit of Christmas.  As you get older, you miss out on the love and giving aspect of Christmas.  Christ gave his life for us, without expectations.

Yet instead of the gift of ourselves or our time, we find ourselves at the mercy of commercialism.  In this economy, money for gifts is hard to come by.  Expectations are high, and the price tag seems more important than the thought.  Sometimes I wish gifts were not expected, but a pleasant surprise.  We are so lucky and blessed with what we already own.  The idea of getting more “stuff” is sometimes a weight I wish didn’t exist.

In recent years, I have prided myself in not shopping on Black Friday.  I would rather stay snuggled in at home with my family and enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers.  Looking forward to the season of Advent, with all the liturgical changes, I find myself at peace.  The more priority I give my own family, the greater my love seems to grow.  That love is what Christmas should be focused on.

The beginning of Advent is almost upon us, and preparing ourselves for the Lord’s coming is of the utmost importance.  Advent seems to slip under us, as the commercialized Christmas is thrown in our faces.  I am working on keeping the true meaning of Christmas alive in our family, and I hope you are too.  Do you have any traditions that bring out the true Christmas in your own homes?

Copyright 2011 Tanya Weitzel


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  1. We taught our boys that they only receive 3 gifts just as Jesus did and one small gift from St. Nicholas in their stocking. And the gifts that we give out are almost all homemade.

  2. One thing that I have done which started many years ago is to try & get the lion’s share of the shopping & wrapping done by Thanksgiving, including the writing out of Christmas cards. They are all things that can & should be enjoyable but when you have alot of nieces & nephews to buy for in addition to 2 sets of parents, and our own children, it can be overwhelming. I do all the extended family by Thanksgiving & as much for our own children as possible so that *I* can stay focused on Advent. When I started this, many of my friends & family scoffed at the idea of being “ready so early” but after seeing the fruit of it for our family, these same friends have now followed suit & report back to me w/great joy when they have brought in that last gift or written those cards & have them ready for mailing (I have to finish mine today…I never said I was perfect…just what I strive to do and this year, while I am more than 1/2 way done, I missed the mark…illness, death in the family, all the things we just cannot control).

    There is a great sense of Peace when it’s done (most of it anyway) and we can look around & see Advent calendars, the Advent wreath, and various Advent books around, knowing that we are truly preparing our hearts for the Birth of Jesus. It’s one way to be in the world but not *of the world*. God bless your Advent!!!

    • Thanks for sharing your traditions and preparations for Advent. I have already done most of my shopping and wrapping as well, and I plan on writing my cards this week.

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