With the holiday season now in full swing, it seems parents everywhere are asking, “How can I make Christmas more meaningful?”
Taking away the focus on crass materialism has never seemed more important, especially now when so many families are suffering in the economic downturn.
For the next few weeks, in addition to posting periodically about alternative gifts, “green gifts” that help the planet and help green entrepreneurs, and experiential gifts, I’ll also post about rediscovering Christmas traditions that bring meaning back to the holiday season.
Take Advent. Yes, Advent. Did you know we’re in the first week of Advent? Advent is a season of waiting. And in our house, the mantra is not “hurry up, rush, shop,” it’s “Slow down. Be quiet. It’s Advent.”
One of my favorite ways of marking Advent is through an Advent calendar. And yes, although we’re technically in the first week of Advent already, it’s not too late to start observing the season of Advent.
Advent calendars mark each day in December up through Christmas Day. They typically tell the story of the Nativity. Some are “permanent” calendars with little doors through which you can hide chocolates or other treats. Others are boxes with the chocolates already hidden inside.
Last year, we made the mistake of buying just one Advent calendar. This year, there are three – one for each of the boys and one for DH and I to share. And yes – you can still find them. Just last night DH picked up the Advent calendars at Whole Foods. We love the the Divine Chocolate calendar – fair trade chocolate from Ghana. And it seems local too, since their corporate offices are right here in DC.
A few years ago, I established a family tradition of leaving the dinner table to read a Christmas story and then enjoy a piece of Advent chocolate.
And every year, I tell myself that we’ll continue the tradition of reading after dinner. Yet somehow by the time December rolls around, we’ve fallen out of the habit of reading after dinner. But it’s a great habit to pick up again each year. So join me – bring out the Christmas books, enjoy a piece of Advent chocolate (just 20 calories!) and Relax. Slow Down. It’s Advent.
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