Simple, Seasonal Goodness: Celebrating Advent with a Difference

Advent candles placed in a wreath of flowering Australian bottle brush and grapevines.

I first published this post last year, but too close to Christmas to fill the linky list. We will probably do a similarly simple advent calendar this year, and some hand made gifts of [stop reading family members!] lip balm and body butter.

What will you do? If you need some ideas, take a look at the posts in the linky list. There are some lovely ideas and tutorials there. Leave a message or link up your end of year posts below.Β 

Over the past month I’ve read of lots of lovely ways to mark the passing of the days, the seasons and the year, with craft activities, meals, Advent calendars and Solstice parties.

So below, I’ve created a Linky List for you to add your post on something you are doing this year, be it an Advent calendar you’ve made, a wreath or garland, home made presents or locally sourced feasts.

Or, add a post about the way you are approaching the holiday season this year, without or without presents, family, friends, introspection or renewal.

But first, here’s my family’s advent calendar for 2012:

Gumleaves and bark hanging by pegs on a string in the window, numbered 1-25 for the countdown to Christmas

I borrowed the basic idea from Tricia, stringing up gum leaves and bits of bark to count down the days. But instead of a craft activity for each day (too hard with three widely spaced kids and school still going), each item is marked P, A, M or H, for Plant, Animal, Mineral or Human.

Over the month, we will be building a nativity scene on our sometime-nature table, using parts of the one I made in Mikaela’s playgroup a few years back. On the animal and human days I will supply something (a wise man, shepherd, sheep, donkey, echidna or bee – slightly random I know!), and on the mineral and plant days, the kids will find something in the garden to decorate the table.

At the same time, each day Mary and Joseph will take a step closer to the stable where they will arrive on Christmas Eve.

And on the 21st, instead of a letter, the leaf is marked SUN, because the 21st is the Summer Solstice.

My plan is to hang a big sun on that day, but that isn’t entirely in keeping with the traditional nativity scene, so I may come up with something more creative and separate to the advent-nature table, we’ll see. Either way we will do something to mark the longest day of the year and celebrate the summer sun.

As for presents on the day, in my family we limit it mainly to children, but I have always wanted my children to be involved in giving as well as receiving, so we usually make some gifts together.

In the past we’ve made jam, the kids have done drawings and made cards, and posted pics of themselves to absent grandparents and godparents. One year Liam sewed a picture frame out of felt for one of the grandparents too. This year they’re already done cards (though I haven’t posted them), and we are planning to have some preserved lemons to giveaway, but we’ll see how we go! πŸ™‚

For the kids, I haven’t decided exactly to what to give yet, but I am planning to put together a cardboard solar oven kit for them to make, if I can get to it πŸ™‚

What are you doing, or what have you made, or how are you approaching this holiday season?

There are so many ways celebrate this season, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, the Summer Solstice or the Winter.

Add your link to the list, and as always, a link back to this page from the post would be appreciated. Just link to Simple Seasonal Goodness at somewhere on your page.

This post was shared at IBOT with Essentially JessΒ andΒ Inspire Me Monday.


  15 comments for “Simple, Seasonal Goodness: Celebrating Advent with a Difference

  1. December 18, 2012 at 1:47 am

    love your calendar idea!

    • Editor
      December 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Thanks Anne-Marie πŸ™‚

  2. December 18, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Thanks for the invite! I’ve linked up my jam recipe as well as a small collection of easy homemade Christmas gifts. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.

    • Editor
      December 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Thanks Jenny, and the same to you πŸ™‚

  3. December 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for the invite! Here is the link to my post on Chritmas wrapping! have a wonderful Christmas! – Kara xx

  4. November 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Nice ideas. I love getting crafty at Christmas and plan to have a largely DIY christmas. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Kirsten
      November 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks for commenting Kate, me too. Something about Christmas always brings out the crafty in me – not just the present giving/making either. I think it’s from when I was a kid and the last week or two of school always had a lot of Christmas craft activities in the wind down to the summer holidays.

  5. November 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Love looking at what everyone is doing for Christmas, wish my hands were still willing to do what my brain is telling them, I would love to do my craft work, but these days I must content myself with teaching others.
    The month of December is always busy for Jeze and me, street parties for the street folk and homeless begin on the night of November 30th and continue throughout the month, a night each at different locations throughout eastern Melbourne.

    The link is for what I used to be able to do, and what I now teach others. Happy Christmas everyone. God bless.

    • Kirsten
      November 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Hi Margaret,
      It sounds as though you will be very busy over the next month or two! What a fantastic thing to do for the people of Melbourne.
      Thanks for commenting and sharing a bit of your story.

  6. November 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I really need to pull my finger out and start thinking seriously about Christmas craft and stuff! I made advent bunting last year, and this year I want to make peg angels with the kids, to hold our daily bible verses. I do love this leaf idea though πŸ™‚

    • Kirsten
      November 11, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Peg angel’s sounds like a great idea Jess. Are they easy (I like easy crafts πŸ˜‰ )?

  7. December 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Kirsten, thanks for inviting me to link up! What a wonderful idea! I adore your gum leaf advent calendar. I’m a lover of all things nature so this really appeals to me. Today I have finally dug out the Christmas tree and decorations and my daughter, her boyfriend and myself have been decorating the tree and putting around decorations. It’s finally starting to feel a little bit like Christmas! Min xo

    • Kirsten McCulloch
      December 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      That’s great Min, it feels good to get it started I bet πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming on over!

  8. December 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for the invite to link up, Kirsten. Such a lovely idea. Looks like some very inspirational women have linked up πŸ™‚

    • Kirsten
      December 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

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