The Great Advent Debate

At the beginning of every Advent we have a debate about the wreath--which way to light the candles? Mom's way or Dad's way? I grew up lighting the first candle every night of the first week and then moving on to each subsequent candle in subsequent weeks. N grew up lighting the candles in such a way that they burn down equally over the four weeks. We are both passionately attached to our own family traditions around this and have to alternate years on how to light the candles. Unfortunately, each year we forget whose turn it is...

Strangely enough, it's one of the only traditions that each of us has held onto fiercely. We've blended most of our childhood traditions quite easily. For instance, his family always had oyster stew on Christmas Eve, my family had lobster bisque. We have lobster stew. His family always had mimosas on Christmas morning. My family had bloody marys. We have mimosas. We had tons of gifts, they had less. We have less.

The answer to our yearly Advent debate has been the Christmas journal. I began keeping this about four years ago. I begin the first week of Advent and keep it right through twelfth night. Not only do I write down which way we burned the candles, but I also describe the various activities we did, list gifts we've made and ideas for next year's gifts (because I always come up with great ideas the day after Christmas), as well as make notes on various recipes.

We love reading through the Christmas journal each year. It has made our traditions more beloved and real as we are reminded of things we particularly loved and then do them again--for instance, last year on Christmas Eve we traveled by tractor with jingle bells and santa hats to our neighbors to deliver shortbread. This is a definite new tradition. I love our family traditions and am so happy that N and I have been able to build on our childhood memories to make new traditions for our own children that are uniquely ours.

Light the Advent candle two, think of humble shepherds who, filled with wonder at the sight, of the child on Christmas night. Candle, candle burning bright,shining in the cold winter night. Candle, candle burning bright, fill our hearts with Christmas light.

Tara  – (December 10, 2007 at 10:44 AM)  

The journal is a lovely tradition... and one that is sure to be cherished for generations to come.

Dawn  – (December 10, 2007 at 11:09 AM)  

The journal idea is wonderful. I've never been good at keeping journals for any length of time but keeping one for just a season sounds like a wonderful way to record memories.

maymomvt (or Sarah)  – (December 10, 2007 at 11:17 AM)  

I've tried to keep journals and can't. The Christmas one is easy though. N keeps one for our summer vacation every year. My mother keeps one for all the Thanksgivings and includes photos.

Suzanne  – (December 13, 2007 at 8:10 AM)  

What a wonderful tradition and post. Thanks for visiting my blog--I believe we might even live near each other:-) We use some Waldorf in our homeschooling. We're in Western MA and love it out here, so far!

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