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  • Advent

    Do any of you people around the world do anything special for advent? We have a couple of traditions here, but as far as I know they're relatively regional.

    For instance nearly every household has an advent wreath with four candles on. You light the first one on the first advent weekend, and then add one more candle every weekend, until bam, on Xmas you have all four candles burning. Our lovely wreath was made by the children this year.

    Then we have advent callenders for children, another form of countdown where they can open one little window/door/parcel each day starting on December 1. In my day you just got a different little picture a day, but nowadays they usually get a piece of chocolate at the very least. There are tons of commercial ones, but I always make one of my own too, with 25 little presents arranged in some way or other - hanging from the curtain rail this year... They have to take turns opening them though - much as I love my kids, 75 little parcels would be too much!

    Oh... and yes, that is a mosaic windowsill you can see on the second picture
    Attached Files
    "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

  • #2
    Re: Advent

    Hi,

    As you can probably guess traditions vary in the United States sometimes quite a bit. Both Advent wreaths and Advent calendars are found here in the states, but not all families use them. Frequently the Advent wreath becomes part of the church observance. In my own church each week a certain family is selected to light a candle and a read a section of Scripture. The center of the wreath contains a large white candle, which is lit on Christmas day or the Christmas service if there isn't one on Christmas day.

    Some families do have their own Advent wreaths at home, but it's not as common a custom here. That may not be true in other regions of the country with stronger Swedish and Swiss traditions.

    There's nothing quite so American as adopting other people's traditions. Nowadays you see people making breads and puddings and other items traditional to other cultures. A couple years ago, a lot of folks were trying traditional cake baked into a can and I won't pretend that I can pronounce it, let alone spell it. Despite the many jokes and complaints evidently fruitcake is still a very popular item, judging by the traditional endcap of baking goods at the grocery store...

    I have had an Advent wreath in addition to the Christmas tree in years past, but I nixed both this year. Small house, plus multiple cats, plus Christmas tree/things with candles equals disaster in the making...
    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

    "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
    [/CENTER]

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Advent

      We have an Advent calendar- which my mom made so many years ago I don't remember not having it. This one is cool, since you take out the figures and pin them on the tree, and then you put them back later and you never know which one you'll get on a given day. Except for Christmas Eve, when Santa Claus comes out. You do have to put that one back in the same place every time.

      I remember when my brother and I were very small- he always wanted to "go first" and we argued mightily. Until the year I realized that the rule of even and odd meant that if he went first I got Santa Claus. So, I let him go first and the next year, I volunteered to let him go first.... and my mom figured out what I was doing....and made me go first. Drat.

      The string of presents is really neat. I don't think I've ever seen that before. We used to have an advent wreath with candles on the table when the kids were little. It was always made as part of Sunday School. I probably ought to revive that one, since I always liked having the candles on the table.

      I gradually decorate the house- start small and then work my way up. The tree and the decorations stay up until Epiphany, and then they get put away. When I stilll lived with my parents, we never, ever had a tree until just a few days before Christmas- my dad believed that Advent was Advent and Christmas was Christmas, and he didn't like the way the culture skipped over Advent. By starting my decorating small and working my way up, I figure I'm doing sort of the same "waiting and anticipating". (he would probably not agree!)
      Attached Files
      Elizabeth

      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Advent

        I like your idea of starting small and moving up decorating. That's cool!

        In my mother's generation the Christmas tree did not go up until Christmas eve, and the kids had nothing to do with decorating it. The parents would put up the tree after the kids gone to bed in the first time that they would see the tree was on Christmas morning. Now, we always put our tree up around the first of December, but my mom and my dad would both tell me about how they did it when they were young. (My parents were both born close to the turn-of-the-century, so they were a lot older than most other kid's parents.) The year my mom died, she had been invalid for a while, I got a live tree and put it up for on Christmas Eve just like they'd done when she was a child.
        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

        "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
        [/CENTER]

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Advent

          Ahh, thats a nice advent calendar Elizabeth! What a lovely idea, maybe I should try making something like that one year. I'm glad to hear that the tradition is more wide-spread than I thought. The children enjoy it so much, it'd be a pity not to spread it around.

          We actually have a real mixture of Swiss and English traditions in our family. Did you know that Father Xmas comes on the 6th of December around here? A real live (Dad dressed up as) father Xmas, who reads out from a long list what you did right and wrong. Its pretty cool, he never visited me when I was small, but I love organising it for my kids.
          "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Advent

            Felt and burlap is all the calendar's made of. If you're handy with scissors and glue, you've got it made.
            Elizabeth

            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Advent

              We just use the cardboard variety with chocolate inside, but I covet this one:

              Nikki

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Advent

                That's pretty cool. What's in all the little drawers?

                I was thinking about making a gingerbread house this year... if I have the time. We used to make them when we were little. I don't know if I can find the gum drops to make the shingles, though.
                Elizabeth

                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Advent

                  I'm pretty sure you have to fill all the drawers yourself. Cqandy would be an obvious choice, but I could imagine getting creative and finding all sorts of fun little surprises.

                  We've made several thousand gingerbread houses over the last 30+ years. I only need to make about 30 this year, though. I'd be happy to share the recipe we use, if you're interested. It's originally from Hans Rafert, who used to be a white house pastry chef. It's a tasty recipe, unlike a lot out there.
                  Nikki

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Advent

                    -raises hand-

                    If he doesn't want the recipe, can I have it?
                    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

                    "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
                    [/CENTER]

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Advent

                      I'd love the recipe, thanks. I have the one my mom cut out of the newspaper years ago- I think it was from the Swedish ambassador's wife or something- I'll have to pull it out to check. It's a different gingerbread too.
                      Elizabeth

                      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Advent

                        Hmmm, the advent calendar is one of those things on the loooooong list of things I've always meant to get around to but haven't. Funny you should have brought it up Frances - my son has mentioned wanting one several times this year. Even though it's late maybe I can still find one ... or make one ... or get one next year - we'll see (a mother's most useful expression).

                        When the kids were small, they would make 'gingerbread' houses out of graham wafer crackers - much more manageable for them and, depending on how long it held their interest, we sometimes ended up with whole villages! Any of you with smaller kids should give it a try.

                        Sarah

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Advent

                          You should be able to email me through my profile. drop me a note and I'll email you the recipe and instructions. I have a less robust version online, but since that article had to be limited to 600 or fewer words, I had to edit out some good detail.
                          Nikki

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Advent

                            Hey Sarah, I love the graham cracker idea! Unfortunately I don't have small children, but I'll keep it in mind for the ones I babysit. Assuming I ever do babysit any...
                            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

                            "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
                            [/CENTER]

                            Comment

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