What if our homes looked different in the season of waiting and expectation that Advent brings? There are a million cute ways to decorate for Christmas and it does make for such a lovely, festive environment. That said, I want to offer the ideas of embracing the season of Advent as one of waiting and embracing Christmas as a more distinct season of celebration. These are not hard and fast rules, and I'm convinced that while you can create space for Advent, Christmas will always be present. Currently, I have our Christmas dishes in full use, a delightful antique Christmas wreath hung in our main gathering room and a fair amount of holly and berries on the mantel. But we've found some specific ways to incorporate Advent into our home that gives it a different kind of feel. Here are five easy examples:
1. Our homemade Nature Nativity
This is both for Advent and Christmas. The kids and I collected the materials and then they lost interest and I put it together. You can leave Jesus out until Christmas building more anticipation, but we opted to put Him in because I felt our chances of losing Him by waiting were high this year.
I learned about it here and take no credit for this.
I also just bought a package of purple cloths from Amazon. So far, I like them.
2. Advent wall art
I have purchased Christian Seasons Calendars in years past -which are great by themselves - but also great for cutting up later for Church Year specific wall art.
This is our second year using these for Advent. I have another set for Holy Week that I LOVE. There is a medallion for each verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel (also known as O Antiphons). It comes with a little book that gives you the verse for each medallion and Scripture that relates to it. O Antiphons are historically used the last seven days before Christmas as a sort of climax. This works for us in Holy Week but it was a giant flop for us last year for Advent. So this year, we are doing the seven days right off the bat to set the tone for Advent and so we actually do it. Today we started (note the picture) and the kids were so excited to sing and put on the medallion. For us, this is a tradition that felt worth the expense.
4. Adv-art (Advent art)
My husband named it, not me. I made "Come Lord Jesus Come" and "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus" signs and hung them on purple ribbon. It was a fun project, free, and I feel like it's the centerpiece of our Advent decor. You could do this with kids or by yourself. Get creative!
5. Advent Wreath (and Lively Hope!)
This "wreath" is officially a part of our family. We bought it from Ann Voskamp's son and it works as an Advent calendar and a Lent calendar. Mary is riding the donkey for Advent and then you add a whole other swirl in the wood and Jesus carries the cross in Lent. It is a well-worn path in our family and very beloved. If you're looking for one piece to invest in, this would be my top pick.
And Lively Hope. I am so grateful for a copy sitting on my table of what has been a dream and hope in the making for several years. The atmosphere of our homes serves as a way to communicate deeper truths. I am also happy to have words and pictures to better communicate those truths to my children this year.
How do you decorate for Advent? I'd love to hear your ideas!