Since this last week of Advent is basically, well, TODAY, I’m going to share our Christmas Traditions as well as my Advent Book list — check out your favorite Catholic bookseller to see if any are on clearance after Christmas ;). On to the details!
While I wish we could do the Midnight Mass again, with our kids being so small, it just isn’t practical. So on Christmas Eve this year, I will be attempting THE CAKE. The one I screw up every year. I have a new theory this year that I am going to try. I will also make my breakfast casseroles ahead of time — this year, hubby has requested berry French Toast Casserole and Hashbrown Casserole. I will add some sausage to it; I may remember to order some from my hometown. Otherwise, it won’t be anything special. We will have OJ, too. Beverage of choice in our house :).
We open gifts while the casseroles are in the oven. The girls get 4 from us — one they want, one they need (embroidered bath towels, this year), one to wear and one to read. They also have gifts from grandparents and godparents and aunts and uncles. I haven’t decided yet if we should save those for the Epiphany. I’m still thinking about it.
We will eat and then get ready for Mass and spend the rest of the day at home. I plan on buying a ham and turkey breast to go with the usual mashed potatoes, squash, corn, gravy and rolls. We will have the cake (if I don’t screw it up) and also a pumpkin pie. I might make gingerbread, too — I never got to it on the Immaculate Conception.
In the evening, we usually make the trip to visit Bones’ grandparents where the girls see their cousins (briefly) and get more gifts. My family usually gives a family gift or money for the girls :).
We are also visiting a kind of adopted family today to ‘do Christmas’, which always involves an ornament swap (I’ve been saving ornaments specifically for it the last few years!). We also need to pick a weekend to go across the state and visit my mom, my dad & his wife and my great-grandmother (AKA Bushia).
Advent Book List
So I realize it is a little late to be using Advent books since it ends tomorrow, BUT most Catholic stores (like Aquinas and More!) clearance them right after the holidays so this is a good opportunity to buy some for next year :).
Joy to the World
A cute little book with Advent activities for families with children of all ages though preschool & up is probably best. Good for setting a pattern early on & I have several ideas bookmarked!
Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent & Christmas Reflections for Families
A cute full-color booklet with a page for each day and short sections – Think, Pray & Act. There is also scripture in the sidebars. Good for ages 4 or 5 and up.
A Catholic Family Advent: Prayers & Activities
A devotion a day with a scripture, reflection, talking point, prayer & activity. Very nice with full color pages but best for ages 6/7 and up.
Live Advent at Home: Daily Prayers & Activities for Families
Another daily devotion book with a longer reflection & more involved activity and prayer. This one goes through the 12 Days of Christmas, too! I’d say this one is a little more advanced — maybe 8 and up.
For personal reflection
The Essential Advent & Christmas Handbook
Everything you ever wanted to know about Advent & Christmas traditions plus meditations for both Advent & Christmas inspired by (authored by?) St. Alphonsus Liguori. And you can choose from traditional meditations or contemporary.
The Little Way of Advent: meditations in the spirit of St. Therese of Liseux
A reflection based upon the days readings (text not included, but references are) in the spirit of St. Therese.
A Mary Christmas
Honestly, I haven’t been able to read this one yet, but I’m hoping to get to it soon. It’s small & sweet–no daily plan or other pressure attached.
What are your Christmas Eve & Day traditions?
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[…] Maybe you decorate in liturgical colors or don’t decorate until just before Christmas. Or you could celebrate the Epiphany. Or do short Advent activities from a family devotions book. […]