Five years ago, I had the idea to create an Advent calendar for our nephews that lived on the other side of the state. I wanted to be able to still be a part of their Christmas season despite not being there. The calendar would be filled with scripture references, activities and treats and would, hopefully, bring fun and Christmas season focus to the family through the month of December. And it was! My sister-in-law reported back fun stories of the inside snowball fights (with socks) and cute pictures of newly made ornaments. One great fear of ours had been that the gift would prove too involved and would become a burden to the family; they proved and have since shared this is not the case.
During the preparations I learned just how time-consuming and expensive the undertaking could be. And, upon first giving the gift I had the uncomfortable realization that receiving a huge box of gifts they can’t yet open was a difficult concept for our young nephews. We’ve kept up the Advent gift over the years and have expanded portions to include almost a dozen more families. I’ve found ways to make the process more affordable, the preparations require less time and all of it, the making, the giving, the hearing stories and receiving pictures makes for a wonderful Advent season each year.
The Advent Calendar gift has become a tradition for our family and many others. It’s a way to mark time and be present, to be reminded that the Advent and Christmas season is different than other times of the year. I wish I knew what prompted me to make that first Advent gift, but I’m thankful for the opportunity. We’ve developed a couple more annual traditions over the years, but Advent is among the most meaningful. Giving and practicing Advent has wonderfully changed the way we experience and anticipate the Christmas season, truly a tradition worth keeping! – Amanda Evans, TBH Communication Team