So Christmas is coming soon enough and I love this time of year! It’s so festive and I love the feeling of anticipation for the actual day. And that’s really what Advent is all about.

merry christmasSince I was little, it’s feels like I’ve just been in the struggle between remembering the ‘reason for the season’ and getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of buying, buying, buying. Holiday’s and commercialism and materialism seem to go hand in hand. I have to be sure to stop at some point, step back and focus on what the celebration is about.

first christmas

(She didn’t really understand Christmas last year. She was more interested in eating her presents then anything else.)

Growing up, we didn’t really celebrate an advent season. I remember one year making a wreath with candles in Sunday school but I didn’t really understand the meaning. And here and there I would see other kids with their chocolate calendars, which was cool but not really something I thought had to do with Jesus birth.

advent calendar

But living in Ireland over the Christmas season, in a household based in Catholic teaching, we lit the candles every night after dinner at prayer time. It was something the guys living in the house looked forward to. They anticipated the count down to Christmas day, taking the time out every evening to focus on what was coming.

What the candle mean?

Every Sunday a new candle would be lit. First of hope. Second of Bethlehem. Third of joy and of the shepherds. Fourth of the Angel. And I thought  that was really special.

advent wreath

This year with Emila and soon the new baby, I want them to experience the joy of Christmas. I wish that they could grow up without the materialism but that seems like a gargantuan task. So I want them to at least understand the meaning of this season and focus on the joy in and of that.

In that mind, I’ve been looking up nativity advent calendars that reveal a new piece each day leading to Christmas.

advent nativity

Jesse Tree

In the last years, I’ve also heard of the Jesse Tree which focuses more on the lineage of Jesus on the weeks leading up to Christmas with His birth as the grand finally. Many people have exchange parties where each family will make a certain ornament over and over and at the end, everyone has 24 different ornaments. It seems a little overwhelming to have to make 24 separate ornaments with meaning and  not make it look tacky. I found a few that were really well done.

jesse tree

But then I thought to myself, aren’t I getting wrapped up again in how Christmas looks when the important thing is the meaning. I want my babies to learn the meaning. Jesus wasn’t wrapped all pretty in a fancy new baby onesie and put in a beautifully decorated nursery. He came as the lowliest, wrapped in rag clothes and sleeping in an animal food bin.

simple jesse tree

This one for example looks like just enough for this, our starting year. Or there is a color in version as a freebie on Ann Voskamp’s page.


However, I’m excited to see how this first year will go and ready to start new traditions of celebrating Jesus’ birth with my family. Hopefully we will have a result soon, depending on when baby two feels like entering the outside world!

first advent