- SETTING THE MOOD. Christmas is all about the journey, and here are some daily rituals and activities to help bring wonder, patience and joy into your family home during the festive season.
Even if you are not ‘into’ Christmas, it is very difficult to avoid the busy energy and consumerist onslaught that unfortunately dominates the Western culture in the lead up to December 25th. Try out the following.
1. The Advent candles
There are four weeks in Advent and each one celebrates the four kingdoms on earth. In our home we light the first candle during week one to honour the mineral kingdom. In week 2, we light two candles and especially honour the plant kingdom.
In week 3, we light three candles and give thanks to the animal kingdom, and in week 4 we light all the candles with gratitude for the human kingdom. We light the candles before dinner each night with a simple verse and it is a lovely way to stop and give thanks for our food, our day and our lives.
2. A nightly verse
Find some words that are meaningful to your family life and say them together each night throughout December. They can be said while lighting the candles or just before bed, and it’s nice to write them together so that everyone feels a part of the ritual. Below is one of our verses which forms the basis of my latest Australian Christmas Story & Song called Finding Christmas
3. Stories stories stories!
My most favourite activity during this time of year by far – sharing stories! There’s so many rich and wonderful stories from all over the world relevant to Christmas symbology & we share one a night usually followed by a simple song or carol we can all sing together by candlelight.
4. Planting Christmas seeds
What better way for a child to measure that idea of nurturing patience and preparedness within than planting a seed and watching it grow. You could even call them your Christmas seeds or plants and every morning make a ritual of checking on them. Again, getting those hands in the dirt and feeling the fresh dewy grass under my bare feet each morning has been an absolute life-saver at this busy time of year!
5. Finding a Challenge (aka Christmas Craft)
My boys are both enthusiastic sewers, so this year I ordered a lovely DIY Nativity Scene for us to sew together during the evenings of December. I wanted it just as much for me as for them, as I knew it would make me slow down and come back to myself at the end of each busy day.
The one thing I did forget in my enthusiasm, is that craft isn’t always easy with children, especially tired children (& parents!). Interestingly, I am finding it really challenging to be patiently encouraging, I can see the benefit of us sitting with a ‘difficult’ task at this time of year. With 1 doll & half a donkey done so far.
Did you know?
The Advent table & calendar
Given the ‘more is less’ approach most common to the ‘commercialised Christmas’, we try to keep our table & calendar as simple as possible. There is a lot of special Advent calendars with gifts and chocolates available from shops these days but take the simplest option here to help maintain that attitude of purposefully preparing and waiting as we get ready for Christmas. Our calendar is a wet felted hanging with a large spiral that hangs above our nature-inspired Advent table.
The boys and I collect treasures from nature during December – crystals and stones in the first week of Advent; flowers and special leaves for the second week.