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Countdown to Christmas Without a Junk Filled Calendar

Growing up we always had a Christmas countdown of some kind; usually a chocolate filled calendar and 25 green and red construction paper circles linked together. The link was fun, but the chocolate filled calendar was the real draw. Most years we had one calendar and my three brothers and I all diligently (or possibly rampantly) took our turns opening the little doors and devouring the adorably shaped chocolates. Several of those youthful years we lived in Germany and the chocolate was really good and since this was pre-high-fructose-corn-syrup-in-everything-days having a small piece of chocolate every four days was probably pretty innocent. I love my Christmas memories and I want my children to have just as wonderful ones, but the calendars I can find around here are filled with junk! Our solution is the Advent Jesse Tree (which I wouldn’t have thought of if a very dear friend hadn’t made all of the ornaments and given them to me at my son’s baby shower). This simple and lovely countdown to Christmas has devotions for December 1st- 25th that traces the legacy of Jesus through the bible. Each evening my boys open a “present” that contains a handmade ornament that is a symbol for that day’s devotion. They get to hang the ornament anywhere they want on the “tree” (ours is a set of gold painted rods that assemble into a tree shape, it is really cool because it breaks down to store very easily), then we read the devotion. The actual Advent Jesse Tree book has both children and adult devotions included, but I follow them very loosely with my boys being almost 3 and almost 1, my wording is very different from the book. The book does have song suggestions for each day so I usually try to get in one of the songs. Someday I would like to put together a CD with the suggested songs for each day so I don’t have to rely on my mediocre vocal capabilities :). It is true that setting this up is a little more work than buying a pre-made calendar. The first two years I wrapped all of the ornaments in wrapping paper that just got thrown in the trash (money out the door and trees wasted, what was I thinking!). Then last year as I was putting them away (So far I always put them away already wrapped with the date to be opened written on it) I decided to keep our favorite Christmas cards and use them as the wrapping paper, so I will be able to reuse them year after year and they are extra easy to store. I have a few ornaments that are a little bulkier and are wrapped in heavy brown paper, but this will at least reduce some of the waste. I know my children are still (very) young, but I do hope this can be a tradition that continues throughout their youth, something that enriches their spiritual life and celebrates our family being together during this miraculous time of year.


This post is being linked up to An Oregon Cottage's All About Christmas Link-Up (or so I hope, this is my first time!)

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Reader Comments (1)

Found you through Catholic Icing's linky party. Love the idea of reusing the cards for your advent countdown. I'm finding myself at a shortage of cards lately as people are now sending photo greetings in place of cards.

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