Last Christmas we started talking about the meaning and significance of our families’ holiday traditions. We thought about which traditions were important to our family, which ones we wanted to practice with Z.

One tradition we started is marking the advent season. I grew up with an advent calendar that look like this:

The Christmas before Z, my mom offered us Christmas items from my childhood.This year, every morning, I ask Z if he wants to move Santa on the Christmas Tree. He gets excited, I pick him up, he grabs Santa and we move it one over one. All along he has been working on his numbers and holiday vocabulary. (Once a teacher always a teacher).

We felt like this was a great first step. With little ones, waiting for Santa and presents is teaching patience and then the celebration is even sweeter when the day has come.

L grew up with an advent wreath. Our version looks like this:

We bought this advent wreath last year. L grew up catholic, and every Sunday the month of advent they would light the candle(s). We chose a wreath stand that includes pictures of the different elements of the nativity story.

Right now we are not lighting the candles (toddlers and fire are a bad combo) but the wreath is prominently placed in the center of our dinning room table.

This is not a tradition I grew up with. I will be learning alongside Z the importance of each candle, what it represents, what we are emphasizing each week.

Together these calendars represent the beginning and end: a timeline of a tradition. It begins with excitement and impatience, waiting for Santa and Christmas presents. And will end, as Z gets older, with participating in the anticipation, the waiting and longing, for what the word advent really means:  “the arrival of a notable person and/or event”: the nativity.

Whatever traditions you, your friends, and/or your family, are celebrating this holiday season, we wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

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