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Advent & Christmas

We can embrace the beauty of both seasons! 

Advent

  • Time for preparing our hearts for the past, present, and future of Christ's entering the physical world. 

  • Just like the pregnant Mary was waiting for Jesus to be born, we too are waiting.

  • As the days are shorter this time of the year, Advent brings light and hope into the darkness.

  • Approximately 4 weeks prior to Christmas

  • The color for this season of waiting is purple. 

Christmas

  • Begins on December 25. 

  • This is when all the busyness begins. Just like Mary who now has to feed the incarnate Christ child and deal with all the visitors, we too can get busy celebrating with friends and family. 

  • Approximately 2 weeks starting with Christmas day. Keep those trees up! 

  • The color for this season of rejoicing the gift of Christ is white. 

Advent Traditions we can embrace

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The goal here is not to try and do all these things or make too many changes. Choose one or a few things you think you can put into practice this year. Then plan for more next year. Each of these can be adapted to any age, children to adults. 

Want help learning more about or implementing any of these traditions? 

Contact Cheryl. She will be more than happy to talk with you. cheryl@thecasa.org.

See the list of resources link above for more information on all these!

  • The Jesse Tree - reading and learning about Jesus' family tree and the story of our salvation.

  • Advent Wreath

  • Advent Calendars

  • Advent Countdown Candles - a candle with numbers on it. Burn each day until the next number. Can be purchased or made .

  • Replacements to Elf on the Shelf

    • Mary on the Mantel

    • Advent Angels - like Secret Santa. Do with your family or friends. 

    • Creche - Mary and Joseph move around the house "traveling" to the manger. Or hang a star somewhere around the house to find as the star moves closer to the creche

  • Attend a Las Posadas​ celebration

  • Display a Menorah - Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were Jewish. They celebrated Hanukah. Our faith comes from Jewish Tradition.

  • O Antiphons

  • Advent Blessings - Wreath, Tree, and more! 

  • Advent readings, booklets, or retreats

  • Celebrate Saint Feast Days - See next section

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Advent Feast Days to Celebrate!

Every day is a feast day in our Church. There are many notable ones celebrated during Advent. Here are just a few. Try choosing one this year to create a special meal, day, or celebrations with friends. 

See the list of resources link above for more information on all these!

  • Dec 3 – St. Francis Xavier​

  • Dec 6 – St. Nicholas​

  • Dec 7 – St. Ambrose​

  • Dec 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe​

  • Dec 13 – St. Lucy (St. Lucia)

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Sample Feast Day Ideas

​Dec 6 – St. Nicholas​

  1. Read the story of St. Nicholas. What country is he from or significant to him? (Turkey)  What is he the patron saint of? (sailors, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students).

  2. Design a theme that fits with the saint's life. Remember, all ages can celebrate. Choose appropriate food, drinks, and activities to fit your family or group of friends

  3. Look online for ideas (St. Nicholas Center).

  4. Food and drinks - including adult beverages (Drinking with the Saints)? (Turkish entree, St. Nicholas cookies, hot chocolate with peppermint/schnapps)

  5. Plan activities, prayers, discussions, crafts, etc. (Write messages to the Baby Jesus that St. Nicholas, as a messenger, can deliver.​ Put shoes out the night before for St. Nicholas to leave “gifts”​. 3-Minute Retreat – St. Nicholas​

Need more help or ideas? Feel free to contact me any time. Cheryl@thecasa.org

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Christmas BEGINS on December 25!

  • Try holding off putting your Christmas tree up!​ I know, difficult. But try to do something to make Advent and Christmas distinctly different. 

  • Celebrate 12 days of Christmas!​

  • Christmas secret Angels​

  • Have Christmas parties during Christmas season​. Not during Advent. 

  • Keep your tree up until at least Epiphany​

  • Very Franciscan:  Decorate trees outdoors with edible ornaments for animals or Donate pet food to local animal shelter or food pantry.  – St. Francis. 

Want help learning more about or implementing any of these traditions? 

Contact Cheryl. She will be more than happy to talk with you. cheryl@thecasa.org.

It's the 12 Days of Christmas!

  • Dec 25 – Christmas Day​

  • Dec 26 – St. Steven​

  • Dec 27 – St. John​

  • Dec 28 – Holy Innocents​

  • Dec 29 – St. Thomas Becket​

  • Dec 30 – 6th day in the Octave of Christmas​

  • Dec 31 – St. Sylvester​

  • Jan 1 – Mary, Mother of God​

  • Jan 2 – Holy Name of Jesus​

  • Jan 3 – St. Genevieve​

  • Jan 4 – St. Elizabeth Anne Seton​

  • Jan 5 – Twelfth Night​

  • Jan 6 - Epiphany​

Use the format you read for Advent Saints to celebrate your favorite Christmas feast days!

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Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas

All the extra activities we scramble to try and squish in before December 25, try saving them to do during the 12 Days of Christmas! Here's some suggestions (from Natural Catholic Mom blog)

Here are Christmas activities in your area to research that may still be happening during Christmas

Living Nativity Scenes​

Christmas tree displays​

Gingerbread house displays​

Christmas concerts​

Christmas plays​

Christmas light displays at private homes or downtown (Often times on Facebook or local news websites you can find a list of the house addresses with huge displays. They usually go through New Years)​

The Nutcracker ballet​

Zoo Lights displays​

Christmas stores (Touristy cities often times have one year round!)​​

Here are Christmas activities you can do at home or with friends​

Go to Mass during the 12 Days​

Sing Christmas carols​

Have children help you make a nativity play just for the family to enjoy​

Decorate Christmas cookies and/or gingerbread houses (I recommend baking your cookies in advance and freezing so you can pull out just what you want and decorate. It is lovely already having the mess and dishes from baking taken care of and just enjoying the fun part!)​

Read Christmas books​

Watch or read Christmas films or plays​

Save some small gifts or new Christmas books to be unwrapped throughout the 12 Days​

Stream a live performance of the Nutcracker​

Color Christmas coloring pages​

Go ice skating or sledding​

Host a Christmas party (You can do an afternoon with just cookies, or something simple like a baked potato bar to make work minimal)​

Sign up for Epiphany blessings from your parish priest​

Purchase real beeswax candles to be blessed on Candlemas​

Have your husband bless your property on Epiphany Eve while family processes singing hymns (Details of the lovely little tradition are in this book here)​

Bake a kings cake on Epiphany (You can find traditional plastic baby Jesus figurines here, and I purchased a ceramic one to avoid the plastic here)​

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