One of the ways our family focuses on the meaning of Christmas (not just the gifts) is to celebrate Advent, taking time in the days leading up to the 25th to remember why we celebrate this day.
It also has become a meaningful tradition and fun decoration for us as well, and hardly cost anything more than my time to make.
During the Christmas season of 1991 I was pregnant with our son and knew we wanted an Advent tradition for our new family. I looked in catalogs (I know, the dark ages before the Internet) and found one that used stockings numbered for each day.
The cost was of course out of our realm, so I decided to make them.
I still can’t believe I sewed 25 of these little stockings. It was definitely a labor of love with my little boy growing inside me, making me all “nesty” (sorry…I don’t think that’s even a word).
Well, anyway, they aren’t fine, just little things sewn up and edged with lace. I found some felt numbers at the office store and hot-glued them on. Amazingly, not one has fallen off since.
Our children alternate who picks that day’s stocking, and they pull the numbered stocking out of a basket.
Inside they find a little ornament and a paper with a Bible verse. I found a list of verses for each day of advent in a magazine (no problem finding something similar now with the Internet…man, am I starting to feel old!), and wrote them on cardstock that I cut out with decorative scissors.
They hang the ornament on a little tree we call our “Advent Tree” and the stocking on a cord I’ve hung in the window. The cord has also hung around a table and from a mantle in our other house.
Then we read the verse and talk about what it means and how it relates to Jesus. And it’s been the one thing we can count on to help us not loose focus on what Christmas is about amidst all the hubbub that surrounds us.
If this is something that appeals to you but you don’t sew, I’ve seen in a recent magazine (December Country Living?) someone who used little bags clipped onto a cord across a window with clothespins. They were very cute. I think she used those really small gift bags you can buy, but white lunch bags stamped with numbers would look good, too.
I must say that having a special tradition that the kids remember and look forward to each year has been very meaningful for our family.
I highly recommend it.