How We Celebrate Advent

Advent is a big deal in our household. I mean, it’s a big deal in every household, but when one of the parents has written a book on the subject of integrating secular and sacred during Advent, the urgency goes to a whole new level. I feel obligated, as an (cough-cough) “expert” in the subject, to make sure our Advent seasons really sparkle.

We use the Jesse Tree in conjunction with the Advent wreath at dinnertime. We keep the “good deeds manger” in our children’s mind instead of scaring them about Santa passing them over for bad behavior. And we organize the secular and sacred activities of the season—service, spiritual growth, “homebody, and pure fun—by using a wooden Advent calendar.

It works, but because we’re overachievers…and open to life…this year, we have some extra “December madness” to contend with: we’re having a baby via C-section on Dec. 15th!

Having Mom in the hospital for four days due to major surgery and, oh yeah, a newborn, means we have to think through the season even more carefully than usual. So on afternoon in October, I planned out our Advent Calendar activities. I thought if anyone out there wondered how others juggle the busy-ness of December, this list might come in useful. So here it is:

Basi Family Advent Calendar Activities 2011

1—Shop for Giving Tree or foster kids (to be determined)

2—Downtown festival “living windows”

3—Get the Christmas tree. (We’re having a baby the weekend we usually would do it.)

4—Visit “enchanted forest” display at Menard’s

5—Christmas Craft (ornament, suncatcher)

6—Write a letter to Santa

7—Choose books to give away

8— Choose toys to give away

9—Benefit concert for a local charity

10—Go see “A Christmas Carol” at the university

11—Make cards for grandparents

12—Invite a priest for dinner (hoping to incorporate St. Lucy Buns)

13—Visit Santa

14—Cutout cookies…with grandma! (Mom and Dad in absentia tonight in preparation for….)

15—Baby day = candy in the calendar. Hey. I’m realistic.

16—Daddy’s home,Mommy’s not. Decorate cookies

17—Take cereal and coffee to the homeless shelter

18—Go pick up Mommy at the hospital: Make cards for baby Jesus on the road!

19—Family goes out to dinner & dessert

20—Look at Christmas lights

21—Read Christmas stories

22—Family Singalong

23—Family Movie Night

24—Baby Jesus goes in the manger

There you have it: Advent activities. What sorts of things do you do as a family to help keep a balance of “secular fun” and “holy hush” during Advent?

Kathleen Basi is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, flute and voice teacher, liturgical composer, choir director, natural family planning teacher, scrapbooker, sometime-chef and budding disability rights activist. She puts her juggling skills on display at



  1. says

    Thank you for sharing this. I hope that your mother gets better soon so that she can go home. Hope that you enjoy this time of Advent.