This is my final planning post for Advent. My previous posts on our plans for Advent 2009:
- Overall view – general themes
- Advent Music Plan – what we’ll sing and hear
- Advent Catechesis – religion plan for Advent, daily reading from books by Inos Biffi
We're incorporating from past years:
- Advent Wreath with key figures of our Salvation History: Isaiah, John the Baptist, St. Joseph and Mary
- Preparing the Manger – straws in the manger representing our good deeds to make a soft bed for Jesus
Although some of these are long posts, we are trying to keep things simple, focusing on Advent instead of celebrating Christmas before it happens. And most of what we are “doing” is reading and listening, with Sundays being the anchor of each week and a daily reading plan for some of books by Inos Biffi.
I wanted to find a more organized but no-pressure way to include our many Christmas books. My favorite times with our boys are snuggle times together with our books. Our favorites are the ones with beautiful illustrations that just require quiet gazing. We also really like the books that are the lyrics of a Christmas carol, with the illustrations “text painting,” as it were. But we have many more varieties, and I like to include a smattering. What’s the use of a lovely home library if the books are just gathering dust?
I noticed that this Advent 2009 will be 26 days long, just as many days as letters in the alphabet. So how about an Alphabet Advent 2009? Inspired by the letter of the day, we’ll have some little discussions and read some books. This would be a natural way to talk about Advent and Christmas with my boys. I’m so used to things that I forget so much is new to them.
We’ll make a paper chain with each link having a letter. Inside the link will be will be word or words for that letter (Download Alphabet Advent Strips). I was going to put a purple bookmark with the letter of alphabet in the appropriate book, but my younger son loves to take them out (and give them to me). So I’ll be using purple Post-It notes marked with the letter of the alphabet, one as a bookmark, but also put one on the inside of the cover of the book, to be secure. I’ll gather them by week and put them in a basket. My son can remove the link of the chain, we can talk about the words, and then read the books on his own, or we save for a read-aloud either during the day or at night.
Not all the words are Advent related, but are about preparing and discussing Christmas. We’re not celebrating, but I’m trying to give him a taste and appreciate what is to come. There is a deeper appreciation when we have discussions and reading before the event. Some letters of the alphabet were harder to find a match than others, and there was not always a book to fit the theme. Of course not everyone will agree with my choices and you may have many other kinds of books. This is what we’re doing here, as my sons are 6 and 2. Feel free to adapt.
I have included a variety of books, sometimes duplicate on a subject. We like to compare the illustrations and presentations. I have used books we have on our shelf and those at the library. Some are common, some are rare, some in-print, some out-of-print. I’m not advocating buying loads of books, but being creative with what you have around you.
I am not suggesting, nor will I be even reading every book for every day. These are merely to help me categorize and organize our books for this Advent. Since there are multiple choices, there is more room for freedom of choice by my sons. Minimally I’d like to pull one book for each letter. But I also know how life happens and there are some days where we will not do reading. There will also be books that will be repeated and not fit in any category, but just read because they are loved.
The Discussion text is just talking points, quick notes to myself, but not necessarily to be read aloud. In no way does it provide complete information.
The Activities listed are just reminders of possibilities of extensions depending on interest and time.
The whole purpose is to rotate our favorite Christmas books and introduce or reintroduce them to my sons to deepen their enjoyment of Advent and build their anticipation for the Christmas season. I’m happy if you find any of this useful for you own family’s celebration.
May you and yours be blessed this Advent and Christmas seasons.
Jennifer Gregory Miller