Friday, December 5, 2014

Preparing for Christmas :: Seven Fun Finds for Advent


Advent has arrived and the Christmas countdown has begun! This past Sunday, in addition to celebrating the feast of St. Andrew, we lit the first candle on our Advent Wreath, drew names for our Christkindl, read The Beautiful World (chapter one of Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories) for our Jesse Tree, and unwrapped our first book after our family Rosary and Christmas Novena. I love the season of Advent and preparing our hearts for Christmas! 




Christkindl Angel Ornament

I also love sharing some of my "Fun Finds for Advent" each year. Here is my list for 2014 in Seven Quick Takes:

#1: New Advent Wreath and Candles 


I've been admiring this beautiful wreath for a couple years now and purchased it during a great sale last month after discovering the lovely 100% Beeswax Taper Candles made by the Cloister Shoppe. We will still have our usual large Advent Wreath in our family room, but this has been a nice addition to our dinner table. My only complaint is that it's a little small, but that could be just because our dinner table with a family of nine is so huge! ;)  Someday I would love to have a hanging Advent Wreath above our table, but for now this has been a lovely addition to Advent in our "Domestic Church."  



#2: St. Nick's Goat Milk Soap


Speaking of the beautiful new Advent Candles, I also purchased the St. Nick's Goat Milk Soap from the creative sisters at the Cloister Shoppe. It will be a great addition to our home for the rest of the Advent and Christmas season, following the feast of St. Nicholas.  I also ordered a couple books that I'm looking forward to giving our children in their Stacks of Books on Christmas morning.


#3: Advent Adventure Activity Books


From Instagram: On our way to Mass on the First Sunday of Advent! I have some #AdventAdventure brochures to hand out to other families, our new Advent candles to be blessed, and we just finished going over the Mass Quiz in the children's Advent Adventure Activity Books. I love #Advent



#4: Advent Calendars

Since Advent began on November 30th this year, on the official "Day 1" we unwrapped and set up all our Advent Calendars, our original favorites and some new ones as well. 


I wasn't going to do the toy Advent Calendars again this year, but our children had so much fun with them last year that I couldn't resist… This year we have four, one for each bedroom.  I already had last year's Lego City Advent Calendar (for the younger boys to share) and I ordered the new 2014 LEGO City Calendar for the older boys and Friends Calendar for the older girls.  (NOTE: The best time to purchase these is during a Buy-one-Get-one-50% off sale at Barnes and Noble sometime before Thanksgiving with the extra member discount, which brings them down to about $20 each from $29.99.) 



Lego Friends Advent CalendarLego City Advent Calendar (2013), and Lego City Advent Calendar (2014) - all way overpriced at the moment… These always sell out quickly each year.

I really wanted to order this Schleich Christmas on the Farm Calendar for Bud (I'm considering a Barn/Farm themed Birthday for him this year) but it seemed overpriced for what is included… 


I was a little skeptical when I placed an order for the new Playmobil "Santa's Workshop" Advent Calendar for Rose, but I LOVE IT!!!!  


Look at that!  It even has a HANGING ADVENT WREATH!  Go buy it now for next year! ;)  You could even swap out Santa for St. Nick

Rose has been having so much fun opening a new box each morning and discovering the little toys to add to her scene.  


I also ordered the Playmobil Christmas Room and Nativity Scene to give to Rose for her birthday.  (These have also increased in price since I placed my order…) Once again it was the beautiful Advent Wreath, as well as the sweet little nativity and traditional candles on the tree, that made me want to add these sets to our collection. 


#5: New Family Puzzle


Our family really loves to assemble puzzles during Advent!   In 2010 we assembled the Our Lady of Guadalupe Puzzle. In 2011 the kids loved The Nativity in the Woods Puzzle, followed by the gorgeous Holy Family Jigsaw Puzzle and the They Come Bearing Gifts Puzzle for Epiphany. In 2012 we assembled the beautiful Glorious Nativity 1,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle and this lovely stained glass puzzle.  Last year we assembled "The Invitiation" - a gorgeous Noah's Ark themed 1,000 piece puzzle and also assembled this lovely 12 Days of Christmas Puzzle during the 12 days of Christmas.

This year I was excited to discover this beautiful new Stained Glass Nativity 1,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle! Isn't it gorgeous?! I will probably wrap it up as the special treat for the "O Emmanuel" Antiphon.   I also have this Christmas Angel puzzle that I purchased last year that I hope to assemble with the children as well, just as soon as our Christmas break from school begins.



#6: Saint Blessing Blocks


Charlotte emailed me the link to this brand new Etsy shop! I've made my own Saint Blocks in the past and they were a lot of work… These little blocks are reasonably priced at just $5 each!  I placed an order for the Deluxe Nativity (birthday gift for Bud), the December Feasts Saint Blocks, and 5 additional Catholic Saint Blocks. There were additional saints that I would have loved to add to my order, but those will have to wait until Easter.

UPDATED with new photo: These weren't suppose to arrive until tomorrow afternoon, but the mailman just dropped them off! St. Nicholas must have helped get them here in time for his feast tomorrow! :) 

Speaking of Saint toys, Last year I shared the Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Nicholas Collectible Vinyl Figure from Shining Light Dolls… It looks like they have a couple new dolls available including St. Patrick and Our Lady of Fatima

Also, be sure to keep an eye on Charlotte's Etsy shop. She sold out of Saints n' Stitches Kits pretty quickly the other day, but she might list more on Monday


#7: Gift Ideas


I posted about Christmas in Harvard Square when it was first released in October, but wanted to remind you all again that it would make a lovely Christmas gift!

I also wanted to mention Treasure and Tradition for anyone out there who would like to learn more about the Latin Mass. It is a gorgeous new book from St. Augustine Academy Press and I'm looking forward to reading my review copy! 


You can find my past "Fun Finds For Advent" in the archives: