I think I may be in the running for mummy failing of the year when I admit to you that my children don’t have any advent calendars. Not one single one. We actually only own one this year and that was in my goody bag at Blogfest and is nominally H’s, even if it took him until the fourth to actually get to eat one of the chocolates. The truth is that the girls just haven’t shown any interest in advent calendars of any sort this year, either because they haven’t really seen any that we would buy for them or because they just haven’t made that connection, so we haven’t pushed it.
Instead we’ve been trying to mark advent in our own way. I’m hugely borrowing from Kim at Mothering with Mindfulness and Sustainable Mum, both of whose advent posts I loved last year and this year we’re celebrating each week in Advent with a particular theme; the Festival of Stones, the Festival of Plants, the Festival of Animals and the Festival of People – or something like that.
I knew last year that this was what I wanted to do this year but as we whizzed into the end of November and Advent Sunday I felt horribly taken by surprise and underprepared. I felt like I should have had the whole thing mapped out, different activities and readings for each day and a really clear theme and the sort of thing that would build completely wonderful golden memories for the children that they would never ever forget even though Pip is only one. Mummy guilt, it’s a powerful thing isn’t it!
So we started with what we had, the genesis of an idea, and, thanks to some fabulous work by Kitty and Elma at Elma and Pip’s playgroup’s school’s Advent Fayre (try saying that one fast), two very cute little winter gardens, complete with pink and purple gnomes.
This week we’ve read the creation story, talked about the stars, decorated the windows with stars and snowflakes, talked about volcanos (thanks for the timing Etna) and H and the girls have started to make water colour paper star tea lights. We light our advent candle each night at supper and this week I’ve added a salt rock tea light holder to the table, which gives off the loveliest orange glow. And as for the gnomes, well every night one or other of their gardens appears to have grown another little polished stone. The girl love looking for them and then deciding what sort of stone they are, sometimes the geological names and more often ones that they think they should be called.
It’s a gentle introduction into advent and one that I think the girls are enjoying, and as the weeks go one we’ll get nearer and nearer to the Christmas story and the big day itself. And for all that I wanted to have everything planned out to the minute, now that we’re here I love that I didn’t. I wonder why we always feel that as parents we have to have everything figured out and planned to be doing it right, and yet so often the ‘go with the flow’ bits of life are the most treasured memories.
I don’t know whether this will be our advent tradition for year on year or what we’ll want to add in or take away, but it feels so very right that we’re building it together as a family.
Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for the ordinary moments