Monday, November 30, 2009

Beginning New Traditions

It's been a busy week. I have been working on finishing up several projects and haven't had much extra time left at the end of the day, but it's been worth it. Some of these I completed just in time for Advent. I know I had said that I wasn't going to add much to our Advent and Christmas traditions this year, but I changed my mind. If I waited until I was able to do everything just the way I want it then it would be years before my ideas came to life.
I was fortunate to happen upon a site that has printable Jesse Tree ornaments with corresponding reflections and bible passages to read each night. I printed all 28 ornaments and had my mom laminate them for me. I punched a hole in the top of each ornament, threaded some thin purple ribbon through and secured with hot glue. Done! Now all I needed was a special way to keep these items together.
As I was browsing the shelves at Michaels I saw some small wooden, hinged boxes for $3. I picked one out along with two shades of purple acrylic paint, some foam paint brushes and a spray-on sealer. I took the hinges and closures off, applied two coats of paint in each color, allowed them to dry, then used the sealer. The whole process only took one evening.

Now I have a beautiful box which holds the ornament and reading for the day along with two Hershey Kisses for the kids to enjoy. It's worked out quite well.

I don't have the extra room for a separate tree so we put up our beautiful 7.5 foot pre-lit tree and strung it with purple lights. (We'll keep the white lights off until Christmas day and put up our family ornaments on Christmas Eve.)

Each night we all come and sit by the tree with the box and our Bible. One of the kids "hangs" the ornament and then Steve reads the reflection while I help the kids with their chocolate. Then we open the Bible and read the passages while the kids wander the room. (I'm not going to push them to sit still, as long as they're quiet and in the room, I'm happy.)

I keep the box and the Bible on our mantle as the centerpiece of the decoration. I reused my glass vases from fall by surrounding glittery, snow-covered twigs with small purple and silver ball ornaments then wrapping a wide purple ribbon around the top.

Between these vases and the box stand two 8x10 frames with an image of St. Nicholas and a beautiful representation of the Jesse Tree.

My sister referred me to a wonderful blog where I saw this great idea for O Antiphon ornaments. There are several ways to incorporate the O Antiphons into your family traditions with ornaments, houses or wreaths. Perhaps if I find some more time I may try my hand at putting something together. If not, there's always next year. I am pleased with what we have put together for this year though, and am excited to be celebrating this season with my family.


Margaret said...

Great stuff, Karen. You make it sound like it took you no time at all, but everything looks so cohesive and carefully planned! I'm one of those people who waits and waits for the perfect time to do something -- which means it never gets done -- so I take particular inspiration from this post. Gotta set me some goals for the first week of Advent, I think...

Jen said...

Great ideas, all of them!

And I have *no* idea where you get your energy (and inclination) to do things that require even MORE work than caring for an infant, twin toddlers, a husband, and a household.

Seriously. You amaze me. :)

CygnetMommy said...

Very cool idea, Karen! I made an Advent calendar this year. Well, actually I'm still working on it, but at least days 1-7 are done! I had a book from Mom called Prayers and Promises. It has a Bible story, reflection, sticker and activity for each day. (oh, and I have that same Bible sitting next to me at the computer right now, though it's not quite so clean)

Jen said...

I just noticed: I love how the autumnal "welcome" sign works perfectly for Advent!

"Welcome, baby Jesus..."