It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Before the Advent weekends, which are celebrated in our family according to German tradition we begin to decorate the house for Christmas. Advent are the 4 Sundays (each representing Hope, Peace, Joy and Love) leading up to Christmas Eve. (This is also the evening when we give and receive gifts, at around 6:00 PM, not in the morning of Dec. 25)

Usually we have a wreath with evergreens and four candles, every Advent Sunday we add a light.


I love the tradition and I have a small red four armed candle holder, which every year gets wrapped in green and sits then on our family dining table...
In Germany people usually do not have their trees set up before Christmas Eve, but we tweaked this in the American direction and enjoy our tree from mid December.
It is nice to have these four Sundays to not just go out and shop, but have time to sit together, sing or make music, have traditional Stollen and cookies and make plans for the new year. And although two of our four children are thoroughly American kids, they have embraced the traditions with pleasure and I hope they will one day continue this in their own families.

This year I attempt to read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in installments, I think the children will now have the patience to sit through it...

And we will watch the movie, which came out 2009 and see it together.

Of course since they were little, they have had also each a Advent calendar, with 24 small windows to open every day in December till the 24. Pictures or tiny sweets mark every day till Christmas. They have become now also more common here in the States.

It could be like this (see here)
Or like this:

Found here.

We have a collection of small wooden Rauchermannchen-smoking man, little guys which burn small incense cones, yummy!

You may have noticed I have not gotten any greenery yet, I will go tomorrow to our nursery, a lovely place - coincidentally the owners are German and they make beautiful Advent decorations, wreaths, flowers, evergreens, trees. We have bought with them for the last 10 years and I look forward every year to Christmas time at their place. They serve coffee and Stollen every Sunday until Christmas and I feel quite at home there!
I love all our holiday traditions. Will you tell me a little about yours?


Images as labeled, book and movie via google image, all others by V.Zlotkowski


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