Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Ultimate Advent Resource Guide - 2019 / Part 1


❈ Stir Up Sunday - November 24
from Better Homes and Gardens
In a tradition that harks back to Victorian times when the family would gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas Day. The opening words of The Book of Common Prayer, used on the last Sunday before Advent reads: "Stir up, we beseech you, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people." So the tradition stands, that this is the day to get stirring.

The Stir-Up Traditions

- Christmas pudding would traditionally contain thirteen ingredients, to represent Jesus and his disciples.

- It is traditionally stirred (while making a wish) by each member of the family from East to West, to remember the wise men that visited Jesus in the nativity story.


- The customary garnish of holly represented the crown of thorns. But be warned, holly berry is very toxic, so adorn your Christmas pudding with fake foliage.


- Adding coins, originally charms, to the pudding was said to bring luck if you found them in your portion on Christmas Day. The traditional lucky charms were a silver coin for wealth, a wishbone for luck, a thimble for thrift, a ring for marriage, and an anchor for safe harbor.  However, biting down on such a thing could potentially cause a trip to the dentist, so I am not sure I recommend this.


Now of course in these days, or perhaps at least in my house, we've never attempted to make Christmas Pudding. In my opinion, since stirring is the key here, that could be anything from a batch of cookies, to pie filling. Traditionally this is the day that I would make my mother's famous chocolate pie. But I did find this recipe, that doesn't sound too daunting, so we shall see. There's really nothing like my mom's chocolate pie, it's hard to beat!

A friend of mine also suggested these little mincemeat tarts a few years back, and I have to admit, this orange pastry sounds delicious! I just love the little stars on top!

And while I'll probably just fill ours with store bought mincemeat, I like the sound of this recipe.

 ❈ Advent Wreath
If you are unfamiliar with making an Advent wreath a part of your celebrations, you can find a little more about it here. The candles are traditionally purple and pink, but you can use any size, shape or color.  We've used everything from the traditional colors to tea lights, but traditionally ours are all white. If you are looking for inspiration, here are a few variations that I like.

- Advent Wreath 1
- Advent Wreath 2
- Advent Wreath 3 - This one couldn't be much simpler, but still so pretty! Here's a tutorial for making the stars!
- Advent Wreath 4 - LOVE this one! And in the window is especially lovely!
And finally, this one, Advent Wreath 5 . The first year we observed Advent this was the idea that inspired me!

For more inspiration, click here!

Blessing of the Advent Wreath - this is a sweet tradition that we have incorporated a few times.

❈ Advent Calendar
Advent calendars expand the idea of the Advent wreath with scriptures and fun activities for every day.

- Gifts for Jesus Family Advent Calendar
- Advent Calendar Activity Cards
- Free Biblical Advent Calendar
- Christmas Carol Advent Calendar
- Handel's Messiah Advent Calendar
And this, such a wonderful idea! A Christmas Book Advent calendar.  Free printable and list of books included.  And I absolutely love the setup of this one!  If you wrapped them in green paper, they would look like little Christmas trees!

But if you still haven't found one that is to your liking, you'll find more inspiration here.
And now, if you have littles in your life that you're introducing to Advent, you might find these resources helpful.

❈ Christmas Manger or Nativity
Blessing of the Nativity

The Traveling Nativity
One of the things we have done for several years is our "Traveling Nativity".  Playing off the Elf on the shelf idea, every day from the first day of Advent until Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph move around the room as they travel closer to the stable. Baby Jesus stayssafely tucked away as we anticipate His arrival. Mary and Joseph arrive at the stable on Christmas Eve and when everyone awakes the next morning, they find Baby Jesus in the manger. It is then that the shepherds and wise men begin their travels, and move closer to the manger to join Joseph and Mary. The shepherds typically arrive on Christmas night, but the wise men moved to a new location every day beginning the day after Christmas until Twelfth Night or, the Epiphany, on January 5. I always planned to somehow devise a star above the manger the we would turn on first on Christmas night and then every night until The Epiphany to guide the shepherds and wise men on their way. However, I don't think I could ever figure out exactly what to use or whether to use a candle, or find something used a light. I still think it sounds like a lovely idea, so if you're more creative than I, perhaps you can figure it out.

The Giving Manger
Though we never did this, I always loved the idea and wanted to incorporate it, but as you can probably tell, there are so many ideas that you "could" incorporate into this season, that it is hard to do everything. That is why I would encourage just selecting a few, especially if its your first time observing Advent. You can always add more in the coming years!

Here are instructions for making your own manger from popsicle sticks, and you could easily make a Baby Jesus from home made play dough, clay or a peg doll wrapped in cloth. You can purchase the straw from a local craft shop. I've even seen it at Dollar Tree.

And that's it for today, friends! This isn't quite as long or filled with as many ideas and resources as I had hoped, and I had planned on having this up much earlier. But my laptop died today and I spent hours moving all the important files over to my trusty back up!  I'll be back soon with more resources for observing and celebrating the Saints of Christmas!

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