Yes, I grew up with the chocolate-a-day advent calendar, but I thought it was just to keep me busy while I was waiting for Santa. We also always had a manger scene, I actually had no idea what that was about. Or what it had to do with Christmas.
My first encounter with an Advent tradition was a wreath with candles. There are four candles in the Advent wreath, on the first week, one is lit all week during evening prayers. Each week of Advent, another candle is lit. Check some history and symbolism of the wreath here.
The key idea to Advent is preparation. Preparing our hearts and our homes for the celebration of the birth of the King of Kings. It is a time to delve into a simple approach to cleaning, decorating, readying our lives for this.
Work with the excitement and fervour that is building with the little ones.
Tomorrow I’ll post about the Jesse Tree.