Make the season meaningful and remember why we celebrate with an Advent tradition of stockings, ornaments and verses to share with your kids every year.
One of the ways our family focuses on the meaning of Christmas and not just gifts is to celebrate Advent, taking time in the days leading up to the 25th to remember why we celebrate. Our Advent tradition has become so meaningful to us over the years - and it's a fun decoration, too that hardly cost anything more than my time to make.
During the Christmas season of 1991 I was pregnant with our son and was totally in the nesting mode. I wanted an Advent tradition for our new family, so why not start right away? Yep, before we had kids, ha!
I looked in catalogs (I know, the dark ages before the Internet) and found an Advent calendar that used stockings numbered for each day. The cost was of course more than we could pay, so I decided to make them. (UPDATE: times, they have changed, and you can find lots of Advent calendars to hold items like this at craft stores or to make more easily than these little stockings. Definitely do what you can with your family. The point is to start a tradition of your own. xo)
I used velvet I had left over from full-sized stockings I made, created a little pattern and finished the tops with lace. 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!
Anyway, these stockings aren't fine by any means, 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 in all the years we've used them.
Our Christmas Stocking Advent Tradition
Here's how we use the stockings in our home of two kids:
- Our children alternate who picks the 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 and wrote them on cardstock that I cut out with decorative scissors so they would last year to year in the stockings.
- They hang the ornament on a little fake tree we call our "Advent Tree."
- The stocking is hung on a cord I hang wherever there's room, usually near where we do the Advent at dinner time. The cord has hung across windows, around the edge of 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.
This Advent tradition has been the one thing we can count on to help us not lose focus on what Christmas is about amidst all the hubbub that surrounds us and the season.
If this is something that appeals to you but you don't sew, I've seen a picture of numbered little bags clipped onto a cord across a window with clothespins which were very cute.
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!
Here are a lot more meaningful family traditions for the whole year long - be sure to check it out, there is something for every family on this list!
Let me know if you start your own Advent tradition or what they've meant to you!