For the first time ever, I actually had my Advent wreath out on time! And I already had the candles, which I purchased last year in a stroke of foresight. And we actually remembered to light them, and even said some prayers. Our track record with Advent devotions has been pretty awful in the past, so we'll see how long this actually keeps up.
We kept it simple, especially since we have an easily distracted toddler. We basically just asked God to help us have a holy Advent, and prepare our hearts for Christ. And then we sang the first verse of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Well, actually, I sang it. Tom claimed he didn't know the words (how is this possible?!).
Sly was really excited when I told him we had a new toy he could play with. It's the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set. I bought it a few months ago from someone on Craigslist (man, I was so thinking ahead this year!).
But pretty much all he did with it the whole time was make the various animals' sounds, and stick each of them in the "barn" (or - in the case of the camel - on top of it, in the angel's spot). But I also pulled out our stack of Christmas books. So as we refresh him on the Nativity story (which, really, how well could he have understood last Christmas anyways?), maybe he'll start playing with the human figures as well.
I pulled out the empty manger too. If I didn't tell you what that thing was, you probably wouldn't have guessed. That's what I don't like about it. It really needs some hay or straw....but where can I get that?? I've heard the tip of just going out and cutting a handful of dead grass. That would work for a small Nativity scene, but this is a life-size one. They'll have to be pretty long pieces, so they don't fall through the enormous gaps.
I think I owe the long span between Thanksgiving and Advent this year for the fact that I've actually been on the ball with this stuff. Ooh, darn - I just remembered that we also have an Advent calendar. I'll have to go hunt that out later.