Christkindl (Advent Buddies!)
Advent is a wonderful time for carrying on old traditions, as well as beginning new ones. In Around the Year with the Trapp Family, Maria Augusta Trapp shares many of her family’s beautiful Advent traditions.
One of these is a secret name exchange. Each family member draws the name of another member. This person is one you will keep close to you throughout Advent, praying for him/her and surprising him/her with little gifts. Maria calls this custom “Christkindl,” or “Christ Child.”
Our adopted tradition is “Advent Buddies.” Like the Trapps, we each receive the name of a family member to remember in a special way throughout Advent.
From the first day of Advent through Christmas Eve, there’s a flurry of prayers said, extra chores done, sacrifices made, and homemade notes and secret gifts left.
Sometimes, you might find your bed made with a note of “I prayed for you at Mass today” on the pillow. Or maybe the note is the first clue to a treasure hunt with a homemade gift at the end. Dad might find a surprise snack or note in his lunch, and Mom might notice that someone has unloaded the dishwasher without being asked 🙂
Extra candles are lit at Mass and sacrifices of treats are offered up. Some other interesting choices at our house have included special books checked out from the library, a homemade Lego pad of paper and Lego Hobbit paper clips…
We’ve seen construction paper Advent wreaths and Perler bead Advent wreaths, a personal mailbox for a younger sibling to hang on his bed, and even paying a person’s library fines (well, small ones anyway 🙂 ). It’s a wonderful way to make your family’s Advent a truly selfless and prayerful one!
Does your family have a similar tradition? What other traditions make your Advent special?
The New Church Year
Advent is not only a time of preparation. In the Church, Advent also marks the beginning of a new liturgical year!
Maria Augusta Trapp shares an old custom for the new church year in Around the Year with the Trapp Family. Just before Advent begins, the whole family gathers to brainstorm a list of saints equal to the number of family members. Maria relates that they always chose saints of a particular theme, such as martyrs, Church Fathers, saints from a particular place, etc. Each saint’s name is written on a card and each family member randomly draws one of the cards from a bowl.
Each person now has the name of a saint to whom he/she will be particularly devoted over the next year. Everyone should invoke his/her saint each day and spend time reading about and reflecting on the life of his/her saint. When Advent comes around again, everyone selects a new name.
This is a great tradition that develops our devotion to the saints and increases our knowledge of the Faith!
Is this one of your family’s Advent traditions? What saints’ names or themes would you choose for your family? Let us know!