By Joanna Martin | @cafedumartin
In a post-turkey haze, we brought down all of our Christmas decor from the attic this weekend. We set up the tree, hung ornaments, changed out throw pillows and sprinkled twinkle lights on every corner of our home. I love having my Christmas decorations up the minute Thanksgiving is done. After the busy-ness of cooking and hosting, I am so ready to slow down and sink into everything the advent season has to offer.
Advent is a season of building anticipation. Advent is considered to be a time of preparation and waiting in joyful hope of the birth of Jesus, and it’s typically associated with many Christian religions. But I find that anyone can find ways, religious or not, to create a feeling of advent in the home.
I think one reason I like to get my decorations out and up in a day is because it cuts down on the decision fatigue I know that Christmas can bring. I just get to enjoy my home in its glittery glory, and it helps me to think with my mind towards the holiday. The tree twinkling and candles lit make me want to snuggle up and slow down. Slowness, stillness, anticipation. All of the feelings I want to foster during December for my home, myself, and my family. These are not easy feelings to foster today when anything you could ever possibly want is one click away from being delivered to your doorstep at the end of the day. Which I think makes advent all the more important.
Here are a few other things we do to create a feeling of advent in our home:
Light Candles On Our Advent Wreath Every Night At Dinner
Candles at the dinner table automatically make the mood more magical. It’s also a great motivator for good dinner behavior because odds are if you are well behaved, you get to blow out the candles. I love this simple Advent wreath that could look beautiful in any home and these flameless tapered candles are perfect for tiny toddlers at the table.
Bring Out Christmas Books Slowly
Our Christmas and holiday book collection has grown quite a bit over the years making it easy to bring them out and onto our bookshelves in small bursts. If you don’t have a collection of yuletide children’s books, I highly suggest checking out the offerings of your local library! Some of my favorite holiday and winter children’s books are The Mitten by Jan Brett, Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto, and Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry.
Intentional Acts Of Kindness
In a season when it’s easy to focus on the want and not the give, I like to challenge myself and my kids to think of ways they can help others. This could be helping a friend at the park, buying someone coffee, writing letters or drawing pictures for loved ones, helping a sibling, helping a parent, picking up trash on a walk around the neighborhood. There is so much good to be done in the world and I like to really lean into that this time of year. I love this holiday specific list of little acts of kindness – especially the little pile of pennies next to a wishing fountain and leaving a note to have a wish for the holiday season.
Committing To A Few Activities At The Beginning Of The Month
I like to make sure we have some empty space on our December calendar in the event that holiday activity pop up by surprise. This also helps us say no to unnecessary activities that make the season less joyful and hold each other accountable to how we want to spend the season as a family.
Reflecting As A Family
I personally take this time to dig into my goals for the coming year but I also like to have these conversations as a family. These are great questions to bring up during a meal time. What was your favorite memory from this year? What is a memory you want to make next year? What is something you accomplished this year? What is something that surprised you this year?
I absolutely adore Kelle Hampton’s seasonal bucket lists. They are attainable and enjoyable for everyone in the family and I don’t feel overwhelmed by the tasks. I love implementing these ideas on the weekends or during slow evenings at home.
If you don’t do anything for advent, that is ok too. This season is a gift and the best part about a gift is that you get to decide how you enjoy it. Build into the spaces that you can this holiday season with the intentions for your own home. I hope you all have a delightful advent season and a joyful Christmas with the people you love!
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Joanna Martin | @cafedumartin
Joanna is a lifelong Dallas resident with a bearded husband, two spirited sisters, one sweet boy and a very needy dog inhabiting the walls of her home. She graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas with degrees in Child Learning and Development and Psychology before becoming a public school teacher. She is now a stay-at-home mom who dabbles in too many hobbies and activities to count, making life very full and very beautiful.