Monday 5: Advent edition

Happy Monday! This weekend could not come soon enough, last week lasted too long! Friday evening we went out with Nicholas’ resident friends to Edmond Oast Brewery, a cool spot to hang out and enjoy good beer (and bring your dog).

Saturday morning we went to Adoration (a type of Catholic prayer) and went for a walk around the marina downtown. We had a great time walking around the docks and examining the different boats, there are some really beautiful ones out there! Definitely recommend checking it out if you live in or come to visit the Charleston area.

Saturday evening we had another bonfire with my brother and some friends; another amazing thing about this area is that we can hang outside in December and not freeze! That night we had Nicholas’ department holiday party. They had it at a ballroom in the Francis Marion hotel which is a nice venue. We were so sad though because we got there too late to have any food! It was fun getting to meet a few more of Nicholas’ co-workers and to spend a little more time with some we know already.

Sunday we attended a morning service at the Cathedral and then after lunch made buckeyes and decorated with my family a little bit for Christmas. We had youth group in the afternoon (and enjoyed a fantastic talk on Church authority by our friend Lucia) and then finished off the weekend with another interviewee dinner!

Whew. That felt like a lot. But there is no rest for the weary because it’s birthday week!!! And, more importantly, the first week of advent. As I said last week, I love Advent so I’ve decided to dedicate a Monday five to it alone. Here are the top five things in Advent I get excited about, hopefully you may get inspired to celebrate this season too!

Music

Who doesn’t love Christmas music? It’s crazy how certain songs can evoke such strong feelings that come with a certain time of year! Christmas music is joyful, nostalgic and cozy all at the same time. Some of my favorite albums for this time of year include:

A Campfire Christmas – Rend Collective Experiment

The Songs the Season Brings – Beta Radio

Christmas Party – She & Him

Songs for Christmas – Sufjan Stevens

Christmas – Michael Buble

What are some of your favorite Christmas albums/songs, any recommendations?

Decorations

Christmas lights, garland, wreaths, bows…it’s the best. This year I added a couple more things like homemade snowflakes and a Christmas season to-do list. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to decorate well. The snowflakes are obviously very inexpensive to make. The garland I got for $4 at Michael’s, the board was $10 (on sale) at Hobby Lobby and the gold marker was $2 at A.C. Moore. The Nutcracker was also $4 at Goodwill! The banner I made from card stock I already had from Hobby Lobby ($11) and the lights were $3 at Wal-Mart! The Christmas tree is still to come, pictures will be up soon! Nativity scenes can also be found at craft stores or even sometimes at Goodwill for less. Although if it is a good set that you can use for years, I think a pretty nativity scene is a great investment.

The advent wreath can be made of branches from Christmas trees and four candles. I added some string to this one as well as to the garland. I believe it was $8 at Hobby Lobby and comes with a ton.

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Food

My family is made up of self proclaimed ‘stomach worshipers’. In other words, food is very important to us. Here are some foods that I love to make/buy this time of year to make it even more festive:

hot chocolate

candy canes

homemade bread

Christmas cookies (obvi)

eggnog

soup (Trader Joe’s has some $3 boxes that are super yummy)

monkey bread

Christmas countdown

One of my favorite parts about Advent is the anticipation. Something that really helps with this is an Advent calendar! My family uses one we’ve had since I was a kid but there are so many good ideas out there for DIY ones that I think I’ll need to try! I love the hands on ones that require you to move/open something each day, it’s just so much more satisfying!

Activities

Christmas is supposed to be a time to be with loved ones in a more intentional way. Christmas tree shopping, decorating, baking Christmas cookies, Christmas movies…there are so many ways to enjoy the season with our friends and family! One of my favorite birthday gifts I ever got was a puzzle of the Nativity scene. We put it out around this time of year and put it together bit by bit as a family. It gives us a reason to all be in the same room and work on something together.

Christmas movies like Jim Carrey’s ‘The Grinch’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Elf’ are all more reasons to spend a couple hours together as a family.

This time of year is so precious! I think we can easily get caught up in the countless ‘to-do’s’, but ultimately this season is to anticipate joyfully the blessing of Christmas with those we hold dear!

Happy first week of advent everyone.

xo

Miranda

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