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GIVEAWAY: A Quiet Advent at Home

A Quiet Advent at Home

Crafting. That’s what we all think we should be doing with the kids this time of year, right? And that’s my subject matter here on Catholic Sistas. But sometimes these days leading up to Christmas can be so busy… when we really need to calm and quiet our hearts. So today, here is a little peak into our home and how we are celebrating Advent (without many crafts).

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The view from my kitchen sink is my favorite at Christmas.

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Here are our nativity peg dolls that I made as part of a swap this year.

I am very much enjoying them and can’t wait to find the right creche!

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Back when I was in high school my Dad and I made this stable one year for my Mom. They have moved since and had been storing it in the attic and not using it because it was so heavy to move. Last year my Mom asked me if I would like it for our home and I was ecstatic! The kids LOVE setting up the Fontanini figurines!  I am still working on the canvas in the background.  Maybe it will be done before Christmas, or if not, it will be next year.

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Our candy countdown is a religious mosaic of the Holy Family. We put three small chocolates (one for each child) inside the boxes. This is the kids’ favorite daily Advent activity and right now I count it as part of the pre-schooler’s math to find the correct number for the day. 😉

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Our Advent candle holder is new this year. It is setting on a cake stand and I took some loose garland and made a simple wreath below and wrapped it in purple ribbon. It is lovely to light the candles at dinner each evening and share a little Advent tradition with Daddy as well.

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We have been doing a Jesse tree for several years now. It is a smaller tree set up in our dining room and we read a verse each day at breakfast followed by hanging the corresponding daily ornament. Our ornaments are a mix of ones from another swap I painted with earlier this fall and some old favorites. The bags below are just brown kraft gift bags that we painted the numbers on and filled with purple tissue paper. Very simple and re-usable!

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I love the idea of book baskets. The Shower of Roses blog has SO MANY good book recommendations and we have started to get the kids a few each year as part of their Christmas gifts. I keep it simple and pull books daily for us to snuggle on the couch and read. Snuggle time is MY favorite!!!

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Slowly but surely I am working on my Christmas cards. Although this takes time and is considerable work my hope is that our card and family photo will bring a bit of the true Christmas meaning to those that receive it. This year our card says “Love was Born at Christmas” and it truly spoke to me. Maybe because I am so close to having baby #4… I don’t know but this particular card brought tears to my eyes.

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We don’t do a lot of gifting on Christmas but we do like to share surprises! I have an extra set of peg dolls of the Holy family that I would like to share with one of you! Tell me about your family’s favorite Advent traditions and I will choose a winner to send this set to. Please comment before midnight CST on Sunday, December 20th and I will announce the winner in the comments on Monday December 21st.

May God Bless you and your family this Advent Season! XO Janalin

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  • Natalie - Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing what you do in your home for Advent. we have only done the advent wreath but I really hope to make Advent a little more special for my children next year.December 18, 2015 – 1:27 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Thank you! And you are doing it just right… we all start somewhere. For me it was with the Jesse tree. I love the simplicity of the Advent wreath best! XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:33 amReplyCancel

  • Antonette Kerr - Our kiddos are still very young so I keep advent simple with them. Every Sunday I like to point out the “differences” in our church before Mass (another candle lit, color the priest is wearing, etc.). I love hearing their excitement when the notice the changes.December 18, 2015 – 1:37 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - We point out the differences too! And Saturday night our (almost) two year old was trying to blow out the Advent candles since we were sitting in the front row. Good times! 🙂December 21, 2015 – 12:38 amReplyCancel

  • Teresa - My favorite Advent tradition is that we don’t decorate for Christmas until Christmas Eve. It really keeps the Advent time sacred.December 18, 2015 – 1:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Yes. That is fantastic that you don’t decorate at all until Christmas Eve! Does everyone help you decorate or do you surprise them Christmas morning?December 21, 2015 – 12:40 amReplyCancel

  • Lauren Blue - Beautiful photos! Right now our 7 kids are all fairly young, so our Advent traditions are more “small kid” friendly. The favorite right now is lighting the candles in the Advent wreath during our nightly prayers. The kids love this tradition, and so do I.December 18, 2015 – 1:49 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - The Advent Wreath is a tradition we didn’t know we were missing out on. We LOVE it too. XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:41 amReplyCancel

  • June Pumphrey - Our favorite tradition is the advent wreath. It is lit at every evening meal and our meal is followed by a scripture reading.December 18, 2015 – 1:50 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - What scripture readings are you using? We should add this to our wreath lighting!December 21, 2015 – 12:42 amReplyCancel

  • Jennifer N. - Lovely article! One of my favorite Advent traditions is going to our church’s penance service. All confessions are heard individually and privately, but the overall service is beautiful.December 18, 2015 – 1:55 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - What a beautiful way to keep the focus on the season. A gift in itself! XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:43 amReplyCancel

  • Christina - Wonderful, thanks for sharing. My newest favorite tradition is to have my son pick out his favorite peg Saint (I’ve developed quite a penchant for the Saint swap on FB-haha) and then we do research and learn about them together. He’s happy to snuggle and read with me in the couch, and I’m happy that he’s taking an active role/interest in learning more about the saints. Over the last two years, I’ve done the full “advent calendar of activities”, but it’s just too much this year. I think that something was lost in translation, because I felt such a pressure to “go, go, go, go”. And, sure it was a lot of fun, but staying at home and having quiet family time is more representational of the Christmas that I want To celebrate.December 18, 2015 – 2:02 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - I can identify fully with the ‘penchant’ for peg dolls!!! We have quite a collection here as well. I hope next year we can do a better job of using the saints on their feast days during Advent… but yes, simple is really the best way to focus and prepare our hearts. <3December 21, 2015 – 12:46 amReplyCancel

  • Aleesa - Such a beautiful post! I love that huge canvas with the star behind the nativity! We love advent and someday will get a round to incorporating a Jesse tree, all we have ever done is an advent wreath and pray together the O Antiphons. We have an ornament for each of the golden nights that we place on the tree and read the antiphon and sing a the corresponding verse from O Come O Come Emmanuel. The kids get to open a gift for them to share after, just something little.December 18, 2015 – 2:04 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - The small gift sounds fun too! We hope to add the O Antiphons nest year. XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:47 amReplyCancel

  • Kearry - What an inspiring article! And your home is lovely. My daughter is only five, and so we are still working out our family’s Advent traditions. We have a simple Advent wreath that we light each night, which is when we hand our Jesse tree ornament and read the corresponding Bible verse. We also have a lovely Advent calendar that my mom gave us with painting of Mary and Jesus from the National Gallery. And on Monday I am going to try my hand at organizing crafting for the first time– salt dough ornaments.December 18, 2015 – 2:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Oooh! I would LOVE to see your Advent calendar! Art lover here 🙂 It sounds like your traditions are fantastic! Merry Christmas! XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:48 amReplyCancel

  • Alix - Oh how we love Advent! We always have an Advent wreath on our table and light it every night and sing O Come O Come Emmanuel, which conviently is my favorite Christmas song. We also bring out all our Christmas books and read them only until Epiphany. We homeschool, so we put aside regular school and work on Advent school.December 18, 2015 – 2:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - We go to a more Advent homeschool during this time as well. And my favorite Christmas song has always been “Oh Holy Night” but lately “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” has been rising in it’s ranks. Such strong lyrics!December 21, 2015 – 12:51 amReplyCancel

  • Mackenzie - Loved this! Such great traditions and a beautiful home! We currently do the mosaic with the little chocolates as well. The first thing in the morning the boys run to open their little windows, eat their chocolates, and we read the printed Bible verse for that day. I am wanting to collect more decor and have more Advent traditions to get the kiddos more involved. Such a heartwarming post! Thank you for sharing!December 18, 2015 – 2:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Thank you Mackenzie! The chocolates are most certainly an attraction in our home too! 😉December 21, 2015 – 12:52 amReplyCancel

  • Amber Gauthier - Thank you for sharing all your wonderful crafts and advent ideas! We made our first family canvas to hang behind our nativity. Our little kids thumbprints are the stars in the sky 🙂

    We do an advent wreath and light the candles every night. My 2 1/2 loves to blow out the candles so we started “practicing singing” happy birthday to Jesus every night before blowing the candles out 🙂 he loves it so much and his 1 year old sister tries to blow and sings along with us. We also do the Jesse tree ornaments every night and he colors them then gets to hang them on the tree! Christmas time with kids is so much fun!! I love your Holy Family peg dolls and that would be such a great item for our kids to be able to put in their room! I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas this year and may God bless you all!December 18, 2015 – 2:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Awwww! Practicing singing to Jesus, that is adorable! And great idea on the stars! What a keepsake! God Bless you and your family this Christmas! XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:53 amReplyCancel

  • KRAFTY - We love our Jesse tree, made with a swap group this year!December 18, 2015 – 2:22 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - SWAP groups are the only way I get anything done! So glad for the deadlines and being able to look forward to the wonderful treasures that everyone creates. XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:55 amReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Advent Calendar. Very simple and easy.December 18, 2015 – 2:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Kayle landrigan - I love showerofroses blog. My favorite advent tradition is opening a book from our book basket and reading it with the kids each day.December 18, 2015 – 2:56 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - It sounds like you wrap your books like Jessica does too. HATS OFF TO YOU! My kids would love it if I did that. Maybe next year… (if I start in July) lol XODecember 21, 2015 – 12:57 amReplyCancel

  • Laura D - The kids exchange gifts (that they choose,buy and wrap for each other) after Christmas Eve Mass before heading to sleep.December 18, 2015 – 3:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - I like that you have them exchange gifts after Mass. We are letting the kids shop for one another for the first time this year… I like the idea of exchanging after Mass, thank you!!!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!December 21, 2015 – 12:58 amReplyCancel

  • Shara - We’ve always had an Advent calendar that I’ve made every year. This year I made one that is a wall hanging – quilt. The kids attach manger scenes and such each day leading up to Christmas.December 18, 2015 – 3:27 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - And your wall hanging is BEAUTIFUL!!!! A family heirloom for sure! XODecember 21, 2015 – 1:00 amReplyCancel

  • Katie - We are really diving into the Jesse tree this year which I love!

    The other day after Solomon’s ornament, my husband asked my son to help him act out the judging of the mothers – it has made an impact and he really remembers so much of Jesus’s genealogy!December 18, 2015 – 3:30 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Learning through play. That always makes the most impact doesn’t it? I also will through the kids a ‘quiz’ of sorts and some days ask them to open the ornament for the day and see if they can figure out (and then tell) the story that goes with! That’s fun too! God Bless!December 21, 2015 – 1:02 amReplyCancel

  • Sonja Campbell - Thank you for your generosity and offering this giveaway!

    We haven’t had much success with forming Advent Traditions. It seems that as much as we try, certain members of our extended family trump Christmas commercialism over quiet, holy reflection on the real purpose of the season. But I still try. In the past we’ve done Advent calendars with chocolates in them, but this year, I chose to focus on the saints feast days of Advent : St. Nicholas, St. Lucia, St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe – Celebrating each feast day with an inspired food, and sometimes dressing up as the saint. The Saints point us to Our Heavenly Mother and Our Savior, Jesus Christ. And that’s really where I want my children’s focus to be. On the birth of Jesus, the anticipation of it! And while the sparkling lights on houses and trees are a lovely sight to behold, it’s the humble, quaint manger of the King of kings that continues to draw us deeper into our Catholic faith during this blessed Advent season! God bless you and yours this, and every season of the year. 🙂

    P.S.
    I really wish I could post a picture of my 3 year old daughter dressed up like St. Lucia! Best.Advent.Ever. 🙂December 18, 2015 – 4:47 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - I bet she was completely precious! Our daughter was St Lucy for all saints day this year… and also dressed up to celebrate her feast day. What special memories!!! Merry Christmas to you and your family! XODecember 21, 2015 – 1:04 amReplyCancel

  • Monica Kinney - Our family is still young, so we are tradition building.? A consistent winner has been the Velcro Jesse tree that I crafted one year. We always get our tree on Gaudete Sunday, and of course singing O Come Emmanuel at the Advent wreath!December 18, 2015 – 11:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Tradition building here too. I don’t know if we will ever have it all ironed out… but laying the foundation is the important part. I love that you are singing with the Advent wreath… we need to try that! God Bless!December 21, 2015 – 1:05 amReplyCancel

  • Amy Caroline - We love unwrapping a Christmas book each night up until Christmas Eve!December 19, 2015 – 12:44 amReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - Books are our favorite too! But I wish I would take the time to wrap them. I bet your family can’t wait to see what they unwrap each evening! XODecember 21, 2015 – 1:07 amReplyCancel

  • Laura - My kids love watching Advent Adventure each year. Last year we started doing the Jesse Tree and using an advent wreath, and they love that, too.December 19, 2015 – 10:49 amReplyCancel

    • Janalin Hood - We haven’t watched Advent Adventure yet. I am sure that it would be popular here as well! Merry Christmas to you and your family!December 21, 2015 – 1:08 amReplyCancel

  • Janalin Hood - <>

    You guys have made choosing a winner incredibly hard! I thought I would be able to easily choose a comment that ‘spoke’ to me… but truthfully THEY ALL DID. Thank you for sharing in our simple Advent and for sharing your traditions as well. I will be printing out comments and doing an old fashioned drawing later today when the kids can help me. XODecember 21, 2015 – 1:15 amReplyCancel

  • Janalin Hood - Congratulations Aleesa! Your name was drawn as the winner! Please email me with your mailing address: hello (at) janalinhood.com

    And Merry Christmas to each one of you that were so kind to read my post and comment. I wish I had a set of dolls for everyone. God Bless! XODecember 21, 2015 – 2:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Sonja Campbell - Congrats, Aleesa! And Merry Christmas everyone!December 21, 2015 – 3:08 pmReplyCancel

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