The observation of advent is a new tradition for me. Advent meant a chocolate calendar for most of my life, so it is only recent that we observe it in the more traditional way. Now, it is a time of waiting and anticipation for Christmas. We try not to listen to Christmas music or put up the tree until Christmas eve (although I always cave on the music by the 21st). We listen to beautiful music all December long, but wait for Joy to the World and the Hallelujah chorus. Each Sunday we light an advent candle, read a few things from the Bible, and sing carols around the supper table.
We add something decorative to the house each week. The first week we make an advent wreath and hang our calendar(a homemade string of numbers on which to count down to Christmas). Week two brings greenery into the yurt as we hang branches and cranberries. We put up white lights on week three, and on week four we bust out the stockings. We will put up our tree and string it with lights tomorrow, but will wait to decorate until Christmas eve (during which time we will be listening to Handel’s Messiah).
During the month, I try my best to make meals and pop them into the freezer so that we can pull them out during the twelve days of Christmas. I would love to not cook for twelve whole days and still have homemade food on the table at each meal. If I make a bunch of stuff tomorrow, we just might be able to make it through the holidays without washing a roasting pan. Except for the turkey pan. Which is the worst kind of pan.
We haven’t baked too many things yet, but are gearing up for the big cookie extravaganza. Alma likes to bake, especially if it involves cookie cutters, so it will be a family affair. Mike and I each have specific cookies that we need to eat at Christmas: he needs shortbread full of butter, and I need chocolate crinkles devoid of gluten and dairy. Guess whose cookies are better.
I’m also hoping to make a few treats that my sister-in-law and I can eat over the holidays. She and I both suffer from pretty intense food intolerances, so we don’t eat what everyone else eats. Thankfully, we are very similar in our food issues, so at least we each have a friend at the gluten-dairy-corn-free table. It sounds worse than it is. We both end up with a ton of special treats because our family feels bad for us and is very kind. I will post our favourite allergy-free recipes after the holidays (we need to do a lot of tasting first).