Advent begins this Sunday. If you haven't done a single thing yet to get ready, you are exactly on time. That's the beauty of a season of preparation like Advent. It's a gradual, unfolding story. Maybe that's partly why it's one of my favorites!
I need visual inspiration for pretty much everything I undertake. (Pinterest literally changed my life.) I am not, however, the world's most crafty, creative person and I've never promised to give a whole lot of DIY help in this blog. Still, it occurs to me that you might want to see a bit of what we display in our home during Advent. I've also included a few links for items you might want to find for yourself, but a few of them seem to be no longer available.
If I were to learn that anyone felt stressed or unprepared because of any ideas I shared here, I would probably just sit down and cry. The point is simplicity, beauty, quiet, and prayer. If you have four tea light candles and some matches, you have everything you need to celebrate Advent. A nativity set would be ideal, as well.
- Candles - as many as possible, everywhere possible
- Nature - pinecones, branches, wood
- Icons - The madonna & child in the photo above a pull-out, ready-to-frame icon from The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying In the Home
- Creche (without the Baby Jesus until Christmas Eve). We are fortunate to have one set that my mother-in-law made and one set that my sister-in-law made for our wedding 26 years ago. It's the infamous set that our children DID NOT break during our most exhausting Christmas ever.
- Our Advent devotional propped on an easel (See: Our 10 favorite Advent devotional books)
- Art. I scatter a variety of fine art (like Annunciation above) from stationary and postcards, etc. throughout the house.
- Cradle to Cross wreath from JoyWares
- Advent calendar from Ambrosium
- Books, books, books
- Lights in the outside tree
- Bowls of fresh fruit (oranges and cranberries are the prettiest)
- Candles in the window (these are from the Dollar Store and last forever!)
- Mulled cider as often as possible
- A week or two before Christmas, we put up our tree with only the lights. We add decorations closer to Christmas Day.
A couple of ideas I've been considering. (click each photo for source)
Finally, three very important resources to help you prepare for the feasting of Christmas even as you are waiting in the season of Advent.
- To the Mom who is looking for permission to buy less stuff this Christmas at Merry Little Christmas Project | Yep, this is my sister! She is very, very wise about stuff I'm completely horrible about - like planning ahead for things like baking and gift wrapping and budgeting. Follow her and buy her book!
- Ethical Shopping Guide at Art of Simple | Gift giving is such a joyful, Christian response to the joy and hope we receive in Christ. We've begun to include more and more items from companies committed to ethical treatment of their employees and of the earth's resources. This guide is a helpful start.
- Advent: preparation for preparation at Like Mother, Like Daughter | If Auntie Leila recommends it, I try to listen. This post highlights some of her most helpful Advent posts throughout the years.