In my new normal, I’m extremely behind with life admin. So Advent totally snuck up on me this year.
We have a family tradition, you see. Joel’s Godmother sends treats for the Advent Calendars she handmade for the boys when they were tiny. They stay in the parcel til 30 November, when we put the boys to bed a bit early, crack open some port or red wine (festive colours!) and fill the Advent Calendars. It’s really a two person job, because we like to make sure they get the same type of content on each day. And the numbered pockets are easier to find on one than on the other…as you can see!
This year, we lurched in to the last week of November, all feeling under the weather. While the boys had a great time at school, and work was interesting and busy for us, the days flew by and before we knew it Simon was off to the airport early one morning for a trip to London (and Oxford, of course!).
But the Advent Calendars, right. I had totally forgotten about the Advent Calendars by the weekend. The boys (and the Godmother), it transpired, had not. So, Friday night bedtime became a comedy routine as they skipped about the house, getting up in turn to remind me to put up the Calendars when they went to sleep. 9.30pm came and went…and my temper was frayed (Imperfect Mum alert).
But suddenly they were quiet. And I was able to open the Christmas chest, and spend a blissful few hours filling the Calendars, finding batteries for our growing collection of fairy lights, and rediscovering those treasured Christmas decorations once more.
It was worth it! There was delight this morning as the boys spotted the Calendars in the landing and the pile of extra decorations waiting for their creative input.
In my rummaging, I’d uncovered a Knitivity (yes, I thought that up all by myself – or was it Simon??).
Every year I worry that the Christmas story loses its wonder for the boys. I mean, there’s new songs to learn, and lines and costumes to be sorted for the nativity every year, but the whole significance of Jesus gets a bit lost in the hilarity of the wrong 5 year old Innkeeper admitting Mary & her donkey to a comfy en-suite room, right?
So, I’ve encouraged the boys to retell the story using the Knitivity. We have a handy deep windowsill at the bottom of the stairs where they can stage events. It was super to eavesdrop as they discussed what the first scene should be, and worked together to set it up… I’m sure you can guess where they began?
This first day of Advent was enhanced by a wee trip to the Waterfront Hall for the 2018 The Snowman Family Concert by the Ulster Orchestra. An opportunity to reminisce, as this is where our Easter Concerts took place when I was in sixth form…I was not long out of school last time I was in that auditorium.
There were some great Christmas sing-alongs to get everyone in the festive spirit, before we watched The Snowman on the big screen as the music was performed live.