Last year Elissa Bjeletich sent me her delightful Welcoming the Christ Child, a book of 40 family advent readings and matching ornaments. I loved it but felt that my youngest two were not going to appreciate it, so I saved it for this year. (You can read my review here.)
One dilemma I had was how and where to hang the ornaments. I wasn’t going to put up an actual tree, and the thought of hanging them on strings or ribbons didn’t seem right. After some pondering I realized I could just make a two-dimensional tree.
I purchased a piece of foam core board and a bag of small clothes pins. I dyed the clothes pins green by mixing some green food coloring and a spoonful or two of water in a sandwich bag and soaking them for a few hours. (They dried on a pan in the oven.)
We drew a rough outline of a tree on the foam core and let the little ones color it in with green crayons. I admit I did do a bit of filling in and tidying when they were done. Then I hot-glued 40 pins onto the tree (having laid them out first so I didn’t run out of room towards the end). I hot-glued a string on the back and put a command hook on the wall. That’s it.
Since we started a few days late as I was gone to the retreat, we’ve been doing two readings and hanging two ornaments a night until we catch up. I light the advent candle(s) first, we read the story, and then we hang the ornament. I let them put on a red star sticker or two, reminding them of some good behavior during the day (sharing, being good in church, etc.), and then they blow out the candle(s).
The girls like this so much they start reminding me in the middle of the afternoon! I’m very glad to have finally launched into some advent traditions.
From the womb before the morning star have I begotten Thee. The Lord hath sworn and will not repent. [Psalm 109:3-4]*