The Start of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. My church holds an Advent Workshop each year. Last year they began making it in the evening so all the families could attend. As a member of the Christian Education Committee I have been helping plan it this year. We serve a spaghetti dinner and then there are different stations to make crafts--wreaths, ornaments, decorations, Advent calendars, and Christmas cards for the homeless (that another religious charity gathers from the churches to distribute with gifts). The high school students will be making fleece scarves for the charity as well. Last year we ran out of food, because many people hadn't signed up, but came anyway. This year they didn't have a sign-up, so hopefully there will be enough food.

Hazel's decorating...all on the same branch
Yesterday we spent the day getting our house ready for Christmas. We have a few more things to do, but the tree is up. I still need to put the candles in the windows and put the swags over the family room windows. Hazel had so much fun decorating the tree. Of course we still need to teach her not to hang all the ornaments on the same branch. We had a few fatalities due to this practice, but they were minor ones.

Our Honeymoons: St. Croix and Plymouth, MA

Family Picture
Some traditions we have for our Christmas tree, if we go on a trip during the year we buy an ornament for the tree from the place we have been. Then when we hang the ornaments we have a nice memory of the trip. I started this when I was single so I have a few from those vacations, but together Steve and I have one from each of our honeymoon trips (we took a two-night one locally right after the wedding and then waited for the bad weather to get away some place farther), as well as other trips we have taken and of course one from Cape Cod since we go there every year to see my parents (usually several times a year). Steve also receives a frame ornament with the year on it in his Christmas stocking every year (usually from Michaels for around $4). So we have family pictures for each year we have been together starting with the year we got engaged right before Christmas. We also have pictures of Hazel and our cats on the tree. This year we will add Fluffy to the collection and we will do a memorial of Simba. We also have given one to Hazel each year that represents something she really likes. Her first year it was a duck and last year it was Elmo. She loved those when we found them in the boxes.

The rest of the ornaments are a combination of ones from our childhoods, ones we made, and ones that were gifts. There are still a few that were bought without much significance, but for the most part we are weeding those out each year. It is amazing how your priorities change. I didn't bother hanging the margarita glass ornament one of my sister's gave me ages ago. We share a love for homemade margaritas so it was a nice sharing moment, but now I barely drink, so hanging a glass on my tree seems so insignificant. However I do still have the engraved angel that my sister gave me when I was 7 on my tree. My mother hangs our silver teething rings on her tree. I need to get Hazel's out for ours.

Do you do anything special for your tree? I always love the look of the themed trees in pictures but when it comes down to it, I love my tree for the love and memories it holds instead of how it looks.

An ornament I made the other day. The pattern came from Living Crafts Magazine (do you know this magazine, it is wonderful)! I borrowed a few issues from the handworks teacher at school (and just ordered my own subscription). This pattern came from the Winter 2009 issue. Hazel decided she wanted it as a toy and not an ornament. I may try to make a smaller one for the tree though.

Happy start of Advent!! I hope you have a wonderful day!!


  1. We used to always have a themed tree before we had children but every year my Mom gives each of my kids a new ornament (which my Grandmother also did for me growing up) so it is now becoming filled with mostly those ornaments since my oldest is close to 7. I love it! I agree that I much more appreciate and adore my tree filled with memories instead of looking trendy. :)

  2. Your tree is beautiful! And I love how you have decorated it in special memories, such a wonderful way to decorate and reminisce, Kelly


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