Sunday, November 30, 2008

A New Christmas Tradition

Today we received a most wonderful and thoughtful gift from our friend, Yves.

What Yves doesn’t know, is that for four years I’ve been looking for an Advent calendar, never really satisfied with anything I’ve seen.

When Matt and I became parents, certain things started to become important to us, like life insurance and family traditions.

Getting the life insurance was the easy part. But the family traditions part hasn’t been as easy. When our children were just a little over one year old, Matt got an assignment from Chicago Parent to write a story on family traditions for their November/Thanksgiving issue. Having a background as an investigative journalist, Matt immediately went into research mode, and came across a book by Meg Cox, “The Book of New Family Traditions.”

When I first read Meg’s book, I felt like I was cheating. Was it okay to take other people’s traditions and make them your own? Or are traditions supposed to happen organically; otherwise they’re forced and not significant or meaningful?

It’s actually a great book and has good ideas or can spark even great ideas for family traditions all throughout the year.

One area that I wanted to explore was traditions for the Christmas season which focused on the birth of Christ. In our homes growing up, the birth of Jesus was not a focal part of Christmas, so neither one of us had anything from which to draw.

One kind of obvious thought I had was, “Why not have a birthday cake?” So now, on Christmas Eve, right before bed (oh so healthy) we light candles on a chocolate cake, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, and enjoy our late-night sweets with a glass of milk.

I liked the idea of celebrating Christmas, not just on the 24th and 25th, which is what we typically did, but for all of December leading up to Christmas Day. (Jewish people have it right with Chanukah being a celebration of more than just a couple days.) So one tradition I found in Meg’s book was a “Literary Advent Calendar”. Our kids enjoy books. And we enjoy reading to them. So what we do is read one of 24 different Christmas-related books each night.

So Yves’ gift is perfect because it combines Advent and a book. It is "The Advent Book".

“The Advent Book is designed to be a family heirloom and the centerpiece of an annual Christmas worship tradition. The large full-color book with beautiful illustrations features 25 unique doors, each opening to reveal a picture and a segment of the Christmas story. The story is told in simple concise language so that even young children can be included in this Advent tradition. A new door is opened each day from Dec. 1st through Christmas in the manner of an Advent calendar. Because the doors are reopened and added to every day, family members enjoy the anticipation of remembering or revealing what is behind each door and learn the Biblical story by heart.”

Yves, we are so excited to start our new tradition tomorrow. Thank you. Thank you so much.

1 comment:

The Gift We've Been Given said...

Hello there Miss Bridget. Thanks for the suggestions. I like your birthday cake tradition. My mother in law does the same thing on Christmas day and usually one of the younger grandkids gets to blow out the candle. I was surprised to hear that you did this too. I guess I have some baking to do for next year.