Both of us grew up with family traditions for the holidays. For instance, Brandon’s family does not put up their Christmas tree until after December 11th which is his father’s birthday and they want his birthday to stand apart from Christmas. If you’re a Christmas baby you totally understand. Also on Christmas morning the family would all have Christmas breakfast before opening gifts together. My family traditions were to get together with our entire family (even extended) on Christmas Eve. We would open one gift per person, then attend midnight mass. The next morning we would wake up to the Christmas parade on tv, cinnamon rolls in the oven and a gift free-for-all!
Over the years we have embraced each other’s traditions to the max. But this year we have chosen to start our own family tradition. These new traditions reflect our deeply rooted faith, love for our neighbors and sharing the crazy amounts of joy we feel during the holidays. We should probably say our new Advent/Christmas traditions because we really wanted to enjoy the season of Advent in our home before the celebration of Christmas and the 12 days of Christmas that follow.
“On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”
We love this song… and sorry if it is stuck in your head now. Ok on to our new traditions. It’s really one big tradition broken down into 4 weeks. In the spirit of Advent we have decided to take 4 weeks to decorate our home instead of doing it all on one day. It may sound crazy and like a lot of work but so far it has been so much easier and totally stress free. The last thing we want to do this time of year is get stressed out about decorating or shopping. We want this time to be a celebration of love, laughter, togetherness and joy.
Week One – Foraged Greens
The first Sunday of Advent each year we are now putting up all our greenery. So our tree (no lights or decorations on it this week), our advent wreath, our homemade foraged wreaths, advent calendar foraged pine accents, candles and cranberry’s. Basically everything we obtain from the earth will go up week one. We will focus that week on being thankful for our beautiful mother earth.
Side note: this year we did two rosemary bushes as our Christmas tree so we can plant them outside. From here on each year our tree will be a potted pine so we can plant it on our property. We are so excited for this!!
Week Two – The Lights
The second week of Advent will be our lights. Lights for the tree and our outdoor lights. For us this will represent the North Star that led the wise men to baby Jesus.
Week Three – The Trimmings
The third week of Advent we plan on putting on our tree ornaments, hanging handmade garland around the house, and hanging our Merry Christmas sign. It’s our little way of preparing a beautiful place for Jesus.
Week Four – Gift Wrapping
The fourth week of Advent we will be wrapping gifts and placing them under the tree. This will be our final little touch to our tradition. We saved this for last to remind us of the gold, frankincense and myrrh the wise men gave to the Holy Family.
P.S. If you’re wondering what is on our Advent calendar, it is a note for each day. Some say things like “pay for someone’s meal today in the drive through,” “take and hour today to go visit a neighbor,” “tape $10 to a gas pump with a Merry Christmas note,” “pray for someone specific today”… each one is different and is all about loving others.