Beautiful Day

Monday, December 5, 2011

Celebrating Advent---the Book Basket

The celebration of Advent season has a long history in our family---that is to say, long for one generation, as in the length of time WE have been a family. It was on the first Sunday of Advent that my Tender Warrior proposed to me as we sat on a bench overlooking the waters of the Montlake Cut connecting Lake Washington and Lake Union near our college campus, our one candle aflame while we read from a devotional these verses:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder,
and his name shall be called[b]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

~Isaiah 9:6-7, ESV
On that evening, candle held steady to illuminate the pages, a drop of wax landed on the page. It is still there today--a sweet reminder each time we open its pages.

So it is with such delight that we approach Advent each year. I confess this season makes me want to drop all of the daily responsibilities that are pressing, curl up on the couch with my children to read, read, read. Then pause and do some fun crafting with them. Make cookies. Nestle in in the evenings by the cozy Christmas lights and peruse the Christmas issues of Victoria magazine. Take my time to soak in my Tasha Tudor Christmas books and video (I would have LOVED to visit her home in Vermont and have tea!) Knit soft and cozy hats or sweaters for my loved ones......well, you get the picture. It is true I will do all of these things in some way during this season. Yet I'm still trying to find a balance between simplicity, schooling, and the desire to create.

Last year one of the fun things we did was to wrap children's books---one for each day of Advent. This year I had a notion that I wasn't looking forward to gift wrapping them all and throwing paper away every day. Not to be a Scrooge, but this has been a year I've been trying to make more reusable options for various things around our home.

So, I came up with the idea of these little book jackets! There are so many adorable Christmas fabrics this time of year. Country Girl and I spotted the horse fabric a while back and couldn't think of anything to use it for. So I was delighted to get some for this project. It's just such a beautiful design!

This is essentially like a little pillowcase for books to hide in. I know it might not keep the littlest of children from opening them too early, but that could be fixed by tying a ribbon around it just like a gift-wrapped present. Right now it works perfectly for us. I keep the books, wrapped in their sleeves, in a basket near our Advent tree. Each day one child gets to choose the book (we rotate through the children). The Christmas books return to the basket to be enjoyed throughout the season. When the season is done I have 24 book sleeves (that probably only took me as much time to make as it would to gift wrap each book) to tuck away and pull out for next year, when I can quickly select books to tuck in and assemble my basket.

One simple solution I am rather happy about! I look forward to continuing this tradition for many years. Hopefully it might leave a little extra time for looking over those Christmas books, magazines and cookbooks, or creating other fun projects.

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