Monday, November 14, 2016

Too Soon?


Let's get back to the good stuff...Advent is like, tomorrow.  Well, not really tomorrow, but two weeks right?  I am freaking out excited.

We LOVE the season of Advent, we love the Joy that defines Christmas, and we love making memories and traditions with our little people.  I wrote last year about some of the things we do during this season, but Imma refresh your memory.  We don't exactly play by all the Liturgical Rules and we embrace the heck out of the secular (but try to point it towards the Holy)... Maybe this will spark some ideas for your family.

It all begins this Friday.  The ol' husband hasn't totally agreed to it yet, but I plan on taking the kids to Campus Martius in Detroit for the annual tree lighting.  If you are local and haven't gone to Campus Martius during the Advent/Christmas season, you are making a HUGE mistake.  A massive Christmas tree, Christmas music, all the lights, an outdoor skating arena, concerts, contests, street performers... the list goes on and on with the awesome.  The tree lighting is a bit nuts, because of the crowds and our amount of little people, but to me it's 'hashtag worth it'

For Thanksgiving lots o' family comes in.  My sister, Theresa, made it a tradition to stay at our house with her four little people.  The cousins have four days of insane play, my sister and I get to drink coffee in the morning, so relaxing, so lovely. We finished our basement a few years ago, it makes it really easy to host people in our little house.  I'm pumped.

You know how the day before Thanksgiving is the biggest bar night of the year?  I love to go out the day before Thanksgiving, but I'm getting older, we have kids, and it was starting to become more of a pain than a joy... UNTIL, our dear friend suggested we go out in the AFTERNOON!!! Best.Plan. Ever.  Drink specials, empty bars, lots of fun with friends, and home by six, in order to get a good night's sleep in to rest off our fun ;)  It's gonna be one of my favorite traditions I am sure.

Does this not look like the most fun ever?!?!
We try to set up our tree Thanksgiving weekend (I know, I know, Liturgical Police this pains you, but we can't help it).  The amount I love a twinkling Christmas tree and a dark family room cannot be overstated.  We began a 'Pizza Friday' tradition one Christmas season, and although now, every Friday is Pizza Friday... there is something super great about a Christmas tree, dark nights, pizza and a Christmas movie.  We will do that every Friday we are home during the season. I love it. So much. ***

Beginning the first Sunday of Advent, we pull out our Advent Candles and Jesse Tree. Each night we put on a different  Jesse Tree ornament (from a set my awesome sister made us), light the Advent candle in complete darkness (the boys love turning off the lights), do our prayers and sing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The kids look forward to this every night during Advent.  It really builds the anticipation of the season.***

We also celebrate St. Nicholas day in our house.  The kids leave out their shoes.  This is perhaps the only part of the holidays that I am too tempted to go 'over the top' with. My plan is to scale it down this year.  Candy in shoes, maybe a book, or a small token... the last few years I just can't seem to help myself.  

For the last three years, we have celebrated with our friends during Christmas in what I title our 'FRAMILY Christmas party'.  The holiday season is so busy, we barely have time to get together, you know? I love this gathering with our friends who are like family, because it gives us a time to make sure we touch base.  Everybody brings a dish to pass, we do a small $10 white elephant gift exchange, and the last couple years, we've done one gift per kid. It's a really fun times, the kids play, the adults socialize (and drink delicious things like champagne punch), and we make memories together. I always leave this night with my heart feeling so full.
Most of the crew

We do Santa.  I love Santa. I will keep the magic of Santa for as long as I can in this house.  In our house, Santa is someone who works with Jesus because our God is SO Good, he gives US presents on HIS birthday.  The boys know this. They think it's so cool that Jesus would use Santa to give us gifts to celebrate HIS birthday.

Those are some of our Advent/Holiday traditions. I've got some specifics for Christmas I'll tell you about later, but my goodness...

***If you've never thought about having a photographer swing by your house and capture you setting up Christmas, I HIGHLY suggest it.  I know a guy too!  For a couple hundred bucks, you can have the most precious moments caught on camera.  These are some of my very favorite pictures ever taken of our family! Treat Yo-self


  1. I love what you do on Fridays. We might borrow that one from you.

    And I know what you mean about the dark room and twinkly lights. I use them on my mantel most of the year because of how much I love them.

  2. We hung up Christmas lights around our entire basement/ play room last advent and never took them down!! I love Christmas lights!

  3. I love how you celebrate. There is no right way to do advent and I'm sure your kids still feel the anticipation and beauty that advent brings. I like all your traditions too!

    1. That's it! As long as they are getting the anticipation... something is going right!

  4. Also can I ask what readings you use with your Jesse tree? We are doing it for the first time this year and my oldest is 4 and a half. I have a beautiful book of readings but they seem a bit old for my kids

    1. GREAT question.
      As you probably know, my kids are suuuuuper young (the oldest is five), the first year (when the oldest was 2.5) we tried to do the scripture readings for the Jesse tree, um.... it was not a good idea.
      Now, when we pull the ornament, we talk about the story. I explain what it represents and we say a super short prayer. We will probably build back in Scripture in a couple years, but I think they appreciate it so much right now, because we are just talking about the Christ-story, vs. trying to read complicated readings for the old testament? I find it's much better this way...for now.

  5. Mary, I love your joy!!!! These traditions with your family are so precious. And I love those photographs of your family setting up for Christmas-having a professional take those is such a great idea! I like how you do the Jesse Tree with telling the story. I like the Scripture readings, but sometimes they are just long-winded and are difficult to focus on. I think this year I'll probably cut some down a little bit :)
    And, as someone that can probably be classified as being part of the Liturgical Police many times, I applaud you for your exuberance and joy :) I've learned that it's good to not be a scrooge about things and that while being LC (liturgically correct) is great, embracing the secular and making it holy-like what you guys do-is also a very Catholic view of things.

  6. I love seeing all the fun things you do with your family, some of my fav memories growing up involved things like pizza night around the Christmas tree. I'm kinda bummed about not getting to go to tree lighting on Friday, but then again I'm kinda stoked for #Synod16...so it all balances out, right? ;)

    1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I for some reason was thinking the synod ended at 7:30, but I see the last session STARTS at 7:45. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! no tree lighting for me.