Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent - Christmas Plans 2015-16

Some good sources of inspiration:

Advent is coming  A pdf with idea's for 'voluntary amendment of life', 'acts of penance', and 'works of charity' for this season of preparation.

Advent Plan (printable)  This could be used for planning the above activities.
Making a list  The same printable above except not blank.  Including it as it gives some idea's of how you might use the above blank planner.

An Advent Reflection - Waiting for the Christ Child By Michael J Matt
Reclaiming the Catholic Feast of Christmas A similar article to the above and by the same author but adding a few different details.

Oftentimes to begin again  A reflection on Advent by a Benedictine monk.

Preparing Heart and Home - Advent 2016  Has link for excellent free downloadable planner! Plus large booklist.
Advent Ideas - Part I This is a simple but helpful article. It helps me brainstorm for idea's for preparing our own home for Advent/Christmas because of it's broad labels which allow for adaption to any home.

Advent, The beginning of wonder

Christmas Idea's and Stocking Stuffers Loads of great idea's here. Most probably don't ship to Australia or if they do it will cost an arm and a leg, but lovely to look at and a good source of inspiration. Some idea's she provides printables for so you can make your own. eg. St. Nicholas chocolate coins. Many other idea's are a good jumping point for some of your own creativity ;)

Printable peg dolls - The Nativity set
Advent and Christmas crafts and activities

Free printable Jesse Tree ornaments
Advent Saint Ornaments
Advent and Christmas

More free downloadable Jesse tree ornaments  We have used these before.  They are really lovely!

Christmas novena printable
Christmas novena chaplet

Recipes for Advent/Christmas, Saints of December

On Keeping Advent
Advent, St. Andrew...  Love the idea of the single shining star in the window!
Advent here and now Here you can see where we got our idea for advent banners from :)
How to make a book bag - for book gifts - a tutorial

Hymns for Advent (link to playlist of below hymns)
O Come Divine Messiah
Venez, divin Messie
Rorate Caeli
Veni Veni Emmanuel
O Come O Come Emmanuel
We long to see Thee so
Ad Te Levavi (First Sunday of Advent, Introit)
Populus Sion (Second Sunday of Advent, Introit)
Gaudete in Domino (Third Sunday of Advent, Introit)
Rorate Caeli (Fourth Sunday of Advent, Introit)
O Sapientia (December 17)
O Adonai (December 18)
O Radix Jesse (December 19)
O Clavis David (December 20)
O Oriens (December 21)
O Rex Gentium (December 22)
O Emmanuel (December 23)
Ave Maria (Feasts of BVM, 4th Sunday of Advent, Offertory)
Creator Alme Siderum
Come, O Jesus, Come O Lord mp3  Lyrics
Alma Redemptoris Mater

Hymns for Christmas:  Playlist for the below  

These hymns, for the most part, are to be found in a book published by the Transalpine RedemptoristsSilent Night 2 (as were some of the Advent hymns chosen)

Adam Lay Ybounden
Adeste Fideles
O Come, All Ye Faithful
The Angel Gabriel from Heaven came
Angels we have heard on high
Les anges dans nos campagnes
Angelus ad Virginem
Angelus ad Virginem (in English)
Away in a manger
Bethlehem! Of noblest cities
Bethlehem! Of noblest cities (organ)
Boh sya razhdaye - Бог ся рождає
Boh predvichniy narodyvsia
Christ was born on Christmas day
Come to the Manger
Creator Alme Siderum
Dear Maker of the starry skies
The Crown of Roses
Ding dong merrily on high
Dobrii vechir tobi, pane hospodaryu
Entre le bœuf et l'âne gris
Fermarono i Cieli
The first noel
Flos de radice Jesse
A spotless Rose from Jesse
Est ist ein Ros entsprungen
God rest ye merry gentlemen
Hark! the Herald angels sing
He Is Born, the Divine Christ Child - UCR carillon
Now is born the Divine Christ Child  goes along at a cracking pace but was the best version I could find.
Il est né le Divin Enfant
Il est né le divin enfant - Acoustique
The holly and the ivy
How far is it to Bethlehem?
In that poor stable  the only version I could find at all.  Cuts off the beginning.
Dans une étable  I'm hoping this is a version of Dans cette etable, but I don't speak French, so please correct me if I am wrong.
I saw a fair mayden (Myn lyking)
I saw three ships
In dulci jubilo
Mit süßem Jubelschall
Infant holy, Infant lowly
In the bleak mid-winter
Jesu Dulcis Memoria (For 1st January; Holy Name)
Joy to the world
Let all mortal flesh keep silence
Let folly praise what fancy loves
Little donkey
Lully; lulla (Coventry Carol)
Na nebee zirka yasna zasyala  I hope this is the right one.  Please let me know if I am wrong.
Nebo ee zemlyah
Novo radist stala
O Dieu de clémence
O Holy Night
Minuit Chrétien
O little town of Bethlehem (Walford Davies)
O Little Town of Bethlehem (Vaughan Williams)
Omnis mundus jucundetur
Once in royal David's city
On Christmas night all Christians sing (Sussex Carol)
Personent Hodie
Sing aloud on this day (Personet Hodie)
Puer natus in Bethlehem
A Boy is born in Bethlehem
Missa Puer Natus Est Nobis - Gloria / The Tallis Scholars
Puer nobis nascitur
Unto us is born a son
Que j'aime ce divin Enfant (organ)
Quem pastores laudavere
Resonet in Laudibus
See, amid the winter's snow
Sleep, Holy babe
Stabat Mater speciosa
There is no rose of such virtue  Couldn't find the version I was after.  All seem to be like this.
Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle
Thy Nativity; O Christ our God  Only the Troparion.
Rozhdestvo tvoje Christe - РОЖДЕНСТВО ТВОЈЕ-Тропар
We thee kings of Orient are
What Child is this?
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
Stille Nacht
Silent Night
Douce Nuit, Noël Nouvelet, Chant Joyeux de Noël
Oíche Chiúin

Advent/Christmas cd's:
Lumen Gentium 
Advent at Ephesus which is available on iTunes

Advent/Christmas reading:
Lots of idea's here (plus printable) and here (scroll down)

My plans for Advent/Christmas

First up, I highly recommend reading Preparing Heart and Home - Advent 2016 and downloading the pdf which Jennifer has kindly made available there.  It is a very thorough and helpful guide to the Advent/Christmas seasons and most of what follows is based on it.

Things I hope to have ready for Advent ;)

*Advent wreath and candles.    I would really like to have a fresh wreath this year.  I'm trying to track down a wreath frame locally but haven't found one yet so our plastic wreath is standing in for now until I can organise getting all I need to make a fresh one.
I found this tutorial which looks great; how to make a fresh green wreath.
 I missed out on buying these 100% beeswax candles, I just love the smell of beeswax candles.  I still might try to make my own... we'll see :)

A little bird friend has found his way onto our wreath, a Superb Wren, Australia's Christmas robin ;)

*Advent banner and Veni Veni Emmanuel banner.  Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary posters.  Saint's of December/Christmas poster display (under construction ;).

The first mystery (The Anunciation) is by Fra Beato Angelico, the rest are by Giotto.

*Wooden letters 'prepare' for display.  I have yet to prepare my 'prepare' letters.  Getting there.  Someone thought it funny to play around with the yet to be painted letters spelling 'prepear'.  They do make me laugh!  Do make sure that you do not preapple or preorange for Christmas, you should prepear!! ;)

Editing in pictures here as I have finally finished our 'prepare' letters and display.

*Jesse tree (regular Christmas tree), ornaments and Jesse Tree book

He just loves the 'worldy'

This table is in a position that we pass by constantly through the day so the children can stop and read the Jesse Tree book and also grab their novena beads and pray the Christmas novena (which I probably should redo in easier to read font).

*Large manger for the Christkind (Christ Child), plus basket with hay

*Small nativity scene for home altar.

*Christmas books and music ready.

*St. Andrews novena printed up and novena pullable beads ready (Edit:  finally made these on the Wednesday.  Better late than never ;)

*Coins for putting in shoes for feast of St. Nicholas (Celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas)

*Bless Advent wreath on 28th of November, the day before Advent begins.


My Calendar of Events


29 Sunday 1st Sunday in Advent (Purple)  decorate home for Advent.  Bring out the purple! ;)  Make Christmas novena pull beads Start Christmas/St. Andrews novena
Put Advent wreath on table.  Light first candle before evening meal and say prayers  Put up Jesse tree.  Begin novena to the Immaculate Conception (ends December 7).

30 Monday St. Andrew coloring page / Scones for morning tea / O Bona Crux! (Some thoughts on the feast of St. Andrew by a Benedictine monk) / Antifone vespro di sant'Andrea apostolo


1 Tuesday

2 Wednesday

3 Thursday St. Francis Xavier  coloring page

4 First Friday St. Barbara    coloring page

5 First Saturday  Have the children put a shoe by the Jesse tree.  Put coins in childrens shoes after they have gone to bed

6 Sunday 2nd Sunday in Advent (Purple) St. Nicholas coloring page 1 coloring page 2 (Celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas)

St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins for putting in shoes (Edit.  Next year I would like to remember to put one orange and one candy cane for each too).  Have a feast day morning tea of doughnuts, hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon and marshmallows.

I meant to put the lovely little St. Nicholas pictures on the coins like last year, but then we had a full day of basketball and sleep beckoned and...  Oh well.  Next year maybe.  We went to Mass early and were blessed to be able to venerate a relic of St. Nicholas.  After Mass Father bought out his St. Nicholas sack and gave each of the children a lollipop which was very much enjoyed, particularly Ds7 who ate it in the delightful manner of toddlers.  Nothing a handful of wipes couldn't fix up later ;)
Mmm, a lovely warm afternoon tea on what was a very wintery summers day.

7 Monday St. Ambrose coloring page  Decorate our Christ candle (which will be done very simply, not as described, but a very interesting read, as is anything by Mary Reed Newland.)

Creamed honey on toast for morning tea.
Our Christ candle.  My eldest daughter made the Christ child from beeswax.

Above in the center of the wreath is our Christ candle awaiting unveiling on Christmas day :)  Not sure if that fabric will be troublesome later on as the flames get closer when the candles burn down.  May have to change the fabric.

8 Tuesday  The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary  

The Immaculate Conception by Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo

Gaudens Gaudebo (Immaculate Conception)
In Conceptione Immaculata Gradual Benedicta es tu, Virgo Maria
In Conceptione Immaculata B.M.V Alleluia Tota pulchra es.
Ave Maria (Offertorium. Modus VIII)
Gloriosa (Immaculate Conception, Communion)
Playlist for all the above

Immaculate Conception coloring page / coloring page 2

The cake we made for the feast :)

Who has been stealing blueberries???

9 Wednesday  St. Juan Diego  coloring page 1 / Tree ornament / coloring page 2

10 Thursday   Our Lady of Loreto Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary  /  Litany of Loreto (The same litany to a different music arrangement)

 I'm hoping to make my pudding this day.  I have just learnt that the traditional day is either the last Sunday of the liturgical year, ie. the last Sunday before Advent, or the first Sunday of Advent depending on which source you read, and is known as 'stir up Sunday'.  'Stir up Sunday' gets its name from the collect for the day which begins with, 'Stir up...'  Just between you and me, I had a look at all the collects for each of the Sundays of Advent, and they all have the words 'stir up'.  So I guess if you miss the last Sunday before Advent you have 4 more chances ;)  I would try to make my pudding at least a week before Christmas if possible though.  Any pudding experts?  What do you think?

I would like to allocate our pudding making to one of these days in the future because my annual pudding has become a family tradition for us.

11 Friday

12 Saturday  Our Lady of Guadalupe

coloring page 1 / ornament / coloring page 2 / coloring page 3 / Activity sheet
Offertory / Introit / Communion / Playlist of all three.

13 Sunday 3rd Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday (Rose)  St. Lucy coloring page 1 / coloring page 2

14 Monday

15 Tuesday

16 Wednesday

O Antiphons prayer companion  

Free downloadable Jesse tree ornaments. Includes 'O Antiphons'  / O Antiphon, one page, prayers printout

Beautiful O Antiphon coloring pages  

The O Antiphon coloring page in the center is from here

We have put gold tinsel on our tree now to indicate the O Antiphons and have put our star atop our tree.  I'd love that the full creche meant that we have been working so hard at our good deeds but it actually is because...  Well take a look below ;)  This is what I found in the creche a few days ago...

Thursday 17 December, O Sapientia / Hymn: O Sapientia (December 17) /  Coloring page

18 Friday                                               Hymn:  O Adonai (December 18)  / Coloring page

19 Saturday                                           Hymn:  O Radix Jesse (December 19)   /  Coloring page

20 Sunday 4th Sunday in Advent (Purple) Hymn: O Clavis David (December 20) / Coloring page

21 Monday                                             Hymn: O Oriens (December 21) /  Coloring page

22 Tuesday                                            Hymn: O Rex Gentium (December 22) /  Coloring page

23 Wednesday                                       Hymn: O Emmanuel (December 23) /  Coloring page

24 Thursday Christmas Eve

25 Friday Christmas Day!!!

                           The Nativity of Christ by Vladimir Borovikovsky

26 Saturday  St. Stephen, the first martyr

27 Sunday  St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

28 Monday  The Holy Innocents

29 Tuesday

30 Wednesday

31 Thursday


1 First Friday  The Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ & octave of His Nativity

2 First Saturday Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

3 Sunday

4 Monday  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

5 Tuesday

6 Wednesday  The Epiphany of the Lord

A very blessed season of Advent to all!!!

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter


  1. Preorange would make sense as traditionally many British children would get an orange as a treat for Christmas as it was an expensive exotic fruit. Do you have the book 'An Orange for Frankie'?

    I really like your advent wreath with the holy family within.

    Thanks for the wealth of ideas.

  2. You are so right Di. I did forget to preorange! I meant to give the children an orange each as well as chocolate coins for the feast of St. Nicholas and I totally forgot!

    No we don't have that book. We will have to give it a read. We have hardly any Christmas books. Something we must remedy!

    The wreath. By accident more than design. Two wreaths put together :)

    And you are most welcome!

  3. Such an amazing, thorough collection of ideas!! I'm amazed you're able to do so many of them. You should be quite 'prepeard' for Jesus!! :) :)

    1. This plan helps me to do them, otherwise I'd never be organised enough. For the longest time we didn't do a whole lot, but in recent years have been adding some new traditions. It has taken us a while both to discover and to decide what traditions work to help our family prepare. I think we have pretty much arrived at what we'll stick with from now on. We enjoy these family traditions and I pray they truly do make us prepared :)