How Playmobil Magi Are Organizing My Advent

I have spent most of the Advents of my motherhood in "survival mode." But this year, the Wise Men Adventures are leading me to some serious liturgical organizational proficiency. In other words, I'm so immature that I need to play a game to help me get my rear in gear. This effort fits right in with my effort to simplify Advent this year because I will be able to streamline priorities instead of feeling like I'm always falling behind. Here's how it's going down...

I'm using the wise men to incorporate the major things I dream of accomplishing for the Advent season. When I look at it through the fun lens, I'm finding it more achievable. (Yes, like a kid... whatever works.) I have lovely Advent aspirations that need a shot in the arm, and organizationally speaking, the wise men activity can help me prioritize our liturgical calendar. Here are the three daily Advent items on my agenda (outside of our regular prayers and Advent wreath devotions)...

1. Wise Men Adventure
2. Jesse Tree Ornaments/Scripture/prayer
3. Faith-Centered Fun Activity

And here is how my wise men are going to help me get it done...

 Wise Men Adventures

These wise men toys are going to appear in different locations every morning of Advent as they search for the Christ Child around our home. More info here.

Fun: The kids are going to find this hilarious and exciting.
Practical: Extra motivation to start the day on an energetic and focused note.
Faith-Centered: Scripture-centric, great time to add morning Advent prayers.

Jesse Tree/Scripture/Prayer

When the wise men appear every morning, they will be bearing, wearing, or otherwise sharing the Jesse tree ornament of the day; one ornament from the exchange hosted by the lovely and talented Karen, and one that some lucky little person gets to color (printed for free from Holy Heroes).

Fun: This is going to make the Jesse Tree just a wee bit more interesting.
Practical: Can I tell you how many times in my life I have completed a Jesse Tree with the kids without missing at least several days? Zero. This is my year, friends!
Faith-Centered: This will be a perfect time to hang up the ornament, talk about it, read the Scripture, and move neatly into Advent morning prayers.

 Faith-Centered Fun Activity

Love this idea using the stars... "The wise men found the wrong star!!" Include Scripture verses.
The wise men will also be providing an Advent activity for the day. Not necessarily big or for all the kids. Just something to help them (particularly the littles) focus on the time of Advent preparation.

Fun: What kid doesn't want to wake up and find out that they're having hot chocolate for breakfast? Or that mom and dad are taking them on a surprise journey... or offering a new coloring page... or having an indoor snowball fight (details coming soon)... or making birthday presents for Jesus? I have been collecting things on my Pinterest and Evernote boards for this purpose all year.

Practical: The wise men are going to keep my calendar running. If it's getting late at night and I haven't arranged them yet for the next morning, I'll simply imagine the kids' sad little faces when there are no wise men... and I'll get off the couch and get it done. Not every year will be like this, but this one can be! No pregnancy sickness, no overburdened schedule... rock on, Catholic mama!

Another practical aspect is that I can easily incorporate things like "present wrapping day" and "card making day." See, most people just put these things on their calendars. I need the Playmobil guys.

Faith-Centered: Focus, focus, focus on the prize. All the preparation and fun and prayer and activities must lead to the Infant King. This really is a perfect way to work in all of the amazing December feast days. There are so many!!

Is this activity more for me or for the children? You know, I just can't answer that perfectly. Now that I'm into it, I realize that I'm super tired of just "getting by" and since I can't have a vacation, I'm going to rock this Advent. Almost every single time there is a major feast preparation, I end up stepping back into survival mode. I accept that. Sickness happens, life happens, the unexpected always comes along. However... there is no good reason that it can't work out as planned every once in a while. God willing, of course.

May God richly bless your Advent preparations!

Easy Advent Calendar Planning:

1. Get out a big blank calendar.
2. Reserve Sundays for family celebrations. Say NO to activities that divide. Lift up the Lord's Day!
3. Identify the feast days that are important to your family (name days, baptismal days, etc.) and plan a small activity/meal/whatever.
4. Identify extra feast days that you would really, really like to add but don't usually get to... and see if the wise men will help out (even if it's just a coloring page or family read-aloud).
5. Schedule the days you want to go to daily Mass.
6. Plan gatherings with family/friends. Not too many. Don't overload. Keep it close to home.
7. Look at what's left and plug in small steps towards Christ, incorporating your to-do list.
8. Make sure you've got empty time to just sit and hang out.

Yes, yes... I know you all know how to plan your calendars. But I am behind the eight ball. This is my place to flesh it out and stay accountable. Happy planning!

Posted on November 26, 2013 and filed under "Advent", "Wisemen adventures".