There’s power in traditions. Rituals bind families together, create special memories, and provide a link between the generations. Each family has a distinctive take on common traditions and unique rituals as well. Faith traditions are especially important to impart values and instill beliefs in children.
Advent calendars are apart of many families’ preparation for Christmas. The word advent is derived from advantus, Latin for “coming”. We wait in in anticipation to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Peacefully preparing our hearts rather than succumbing to the busyness of the season sets the stage for the holiday and models to the real reason for the season, Jesus.
Calendars are great for children of all ages. When my boys were young, both grandmas would give the kids a calendar, one covered in glitter and the other one chocolate. (Yes, I’d cringe every year. There’s nothing like glitter all over the floor and a chuck of chocolate to start the day with a bang.) Ten years ago, family friends sent a calendar box with a surprise for our family behind each little door including pieces to a nativity set. Baby Jesus was lovingly wrapped and placed in the last space. In the following years, we’ve used the calendar with small treats or clues for the boys to find hidden surprises around the house.
When my eldest son was a freshman in college, the semester ended shortly before Christmas. His first morning at home, he joined his younger brother in the Christmas countdown with our traditional advent calendar. As he was sitting down to breakfast, he mentioned it finally felt like the holiday had begun. Yes, the tree was up. He’d helped decorate it the day after Thanksgiving. The presents were under the tree. He’d already completed his shopping. His Christmas season had started with our tradition of the advent calendar. It’s such a small thing, but was a big thing for him.
The following year the situation was remedied with a new spin on the advent calendar. Small trinkets, gift cards, sweets, and treats were sent daily to his post office box. Each day was labeled with a number, designating the countdown. Scripture was included to encourage and prepare his heart for Christmas. The traditional calendar was ready for the remainder of the days leading up to Christmas when he arrived home from college.
This year, a box is in the works for each college boy but the tradition will continue with another new twist. The boxes are ready to take back to school after Thanksgiving. It’s one more tie to home and to help both kids prepare for this special time of year. And it’s a Danielson family tradition.
What family tradition can you tweak for your children to be more age appropriate or for college kids?
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions
that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 ESV
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott
Mom of two college boys
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Co-author of three parenting books
Contact Becky to schedule for your next parent/family event or retreat.
Read more about family traditions in Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love!
1C13P blog posts on the value of family traditions:
Traditions Create Belonging in Families by Misty Honnold
Traditions as a Single Parent by Matt Haviland
7 Ways to Squelch Sibling Rivalry by Lori Wildenberg
How to Make Family Game Night Special by Jenna Hallock
Join Becky Danielson, along with Lori Wildenberg, Misty Honnold, and Matt Haviland at the 2017 Kansas City HeartCORe Single Parent Conference January 21. Click HERE for more information and to register.
The HeartCORe Single Parent Conference will inspire and encourage you to be the best mom or dad you can be during these challenging times. Be blessed by the messages given by single parent gurus, Misty Honnold (Single Mom KC) and Matt Haviland (A Father’s Walk Single Dad Ministry). Culturally relevant material presented by Lori Wildenberg and Becky Danielson, co-founders 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, will arm you with the current cutting edge information for families.