Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the New Year in the Church Calendar (in the Western Christian Church; in the Episcopal Church, part of the Anglican Communion we are in Year C of a three year cycle but it is still our New Year too!)
For some odd reason, I feel like we are actually organized for today, this first Sunday in Advent (this rarely happens). We have lights up outside, and we found our candles for the Advent wreath., we have a Kindness Advent calendar up as well. We have many of our decorations up (no tree, as we do that later in Advent so we can enjoy the tree through Christmastide) and last night we went to enjoy the festive lights at our local botanical garden.
I would love to hear what you are planning for Advent. There are so many wonderful ideas out there and people have so many inventive traditions! For those of you who wrap a book a day during Advent (and these can be from the library; you don’t have to buy them all!) I thought I would share the titles we will be reading this week from our “wrapped” pile. We have a whole week of St. Nicholas stories leading up to his Feast Day. We also have the wonderful book by Jacob Streit, “St. Nicholas” to read daily.
1- Come and See: A Christmas Story by Mayper for the First Sunday in Advent (today)
2- Country Angel Christmas by Tomie dePaola (Monday, November 30)
3 – The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Shepherd (December 1)
4- The Gift from Saint Nicholas – Lachner
5- A St. Nicholas Story or The Fiercest Little Animal In the Forest by Reinhart for the littles, and for the older children, The Legend of St. Nicholas by Demi
6- Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Stiegemeyer
7- Snowflake Bentley to go with the traditional Waldorf themes of rocks, stones, crystals, bones. (Also, don’t forget Tiptoes Lightly for some sweet Advent stories as well).
If you need more help with St. Nicholas books, please see this post regarding favorite stories for St. Nicholas There are also wonderful stories on the St. Nicholas Center website as well that has many stories! If you need help in celebrating St. Nicholas, please see this post about celebrating St. Nicholas Day in the Waldorf Home
If you would like to be close to the Waldorf way of Advent with a focus on rocks, stones, crystals, bones, I will also be reading some stories from “Light in the Lantern” and the books “The Snow Speaks”, and “The Star Tree” this week, so perhaps some of these stories will resonate with you.
Our Advent Calendar includes Christmas activities that are free and also acts of kindness. So this week we are cooking dinner for a neighbor and collecting food for our local food pantry. We have a field trip scheduled to an antiquities center that actually should be interesting at this time of year since it focuses on life during Biblical times, complete with Biblical meals.
Other favorite things for this week:
- For inspiration, Christine Natale’s post about starting new holiday traditions
- Adult Christmas Coloring pages – everyone in the family enjoys them
- Being at the barn several times this week – having fun with the horses
- Hot chocolate
- Making a surprise gift for the youngest member of our family
- Wrapping some of our gifts
- Looking at the lights in our neighborhood
- Organic Candy Canes
- Dancing to Christmas music and singing! Our daughters are preparing Christmas music to sing in Church and have some more complex parts, so they are very excited.
- Making window stars out of transparency/kite paper
- Helping our little one make St. Nicholas ornaments
- Coloring in shrinky- dink type Nativity Icon ornaments to mark all the Saints of Advent.
Tell me a few of your favorite things for the first week of Advent!
Oh, I love this! This is one of my favorite times of the year. While we don’t celebrate Advent from a religious perspective, we do count down (in recent years, through the new year) in a celebratory, connected, simple way. Our winter holidays begin with a family birthday and we celebrate Saint Nicholas (always have, since I was a child), Winter Solstice, and Christmas. I am excited to craft and make and bake and snuggle and read and explore winter nature in the coming days and weeks!
This year we are going to do a Jesse Tree for the first time. We are reading a chapter a day of ‘The Jesse Tree’ by Geraldine McCaughrean and making an ornament to go with the chapter. My son has been making tissue paper stars and selling them to our home ed group (most of whom are not familiar with them) to fund the purchase of some more outdoor Christmas lights. I did find his enthusiasm for festooning the house with lights last year rather over the top for my taste but then a neighbour confided in me he had recently suffered a nervous breakdown and the lights had really cheered him up and kept him going over Christmas! We usually do an Advent Spiral on the beach by digging a spiral with spades and then decorating with shells which ties in nicely with the first week of Advent being the light of stones. As well as St Nicholas, we try and celebrate St Barbara on the 4th by bringing a Barbara branch into the house. (If you’re not familiar with this, here’s some information: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=963.) We are trying to bed down our allotment by the first week of Advent but are a bit behind due to illness and bad weather. Hopefully we will tie that up soon so lots of rotavating and manure spreading is happening this week too. (I did post a reply earlier this week but the internet seemed to send it to nowhere, so I’ve written again.)
Which is the best to read for ages 11 -13 is light of the lantern babyish? Great article!!
I think of Light of the Lantern for ages up to 10 or so…If you are looking for another Advent Resources, what I have seen referred to most often is Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Jesse Tree and The Christmas Story Book from Floris Books.
Love it! I always come here for fresh inspiration. Thank you!
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