The richness of our Faith offers us so many neat traditions at this time of year!
This is from Mary Reed Newland The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season:

“Christmas is coming – for the children, the most wonderful time of the year. And for the children of Light, it should be the most wonderful, wonderfull time of the year, because to the Church, it is the year’s beginning.

No one but God could have made such a beginning, so full of beauty and glory and sheer magic as this.

But you cannot just walk into such a blaze of glory without preparation, to be ready for that sharp sweet moment when an Infant’s cry cut the night “a moment’s fall, the last we should know of loneliness.”

You must creep up to it, think about it, count the days, watch the signs, and prepare. And folly though it seems in a world where all value is counted in material things, a child can never know the whole ecstasy of Christmas unless he knows its meaning; unless he takes its meaning into his own two hands and examines it closely and finds its mystery for himself. It must be made of his own experience and delight and love.”

Do you have many Advent Tradtions in your own home?

We have had many through the years. Some have dropped off, some changed, others started up. It’s so fun to involve the kids in these things! We supply the magic of Christmas without having to bring in the folly of the world!

One thing we do is make a big deal about the stable. As close to the beginning of Advent that we can, we take our four wheeler out into the woods and pick up neat looking rocks, tree mushrooms, moss (depending on if there is snow covering the ground), pebbles and dirt!

Some years when my older daughter took the younger ones out to gather stable “rubble”, I would be somewhat dubious as I saw them drag in big branches that looked like half the tree! Some way, somehow they made it work!

We cover an 8 ft. table with a mud-soaked (and dried) sheet (we’ve used an old tablecloth, too) and then start transforming it into…..we’re not sure until it’s done….but it ends up being a big and wonder-filled stable, sometimes with Bethlehem peeking from behind, sometimes not. It’s a lot of fun and the end result is something that makes the grandchildren’s eyes grow big in wonderment each time they come over!!

My married children have carried this tradition over into their own homes with their own unique style. Some live in town so they don’t have access to what nature has to offer (they come and gather things if they can) so they make their stable scene in their own special ways.

We don’t add all the figures of the nativity right away, but do it as a gradual process with Baby Jesus “miraculously” being in his manger when we get home from Midnight Mass. (Sometimes I have to make a quick beeline to the stable after mass because I forgot Baby Jesus in the hubbub of getting ready)…It doesn’t have to be perfect, right? πŸ™‚

Have fun with it….make it special. Small things mean a lot to those little minds!