Pre-Holiday Links and Resources -Advent 2018 and Christmas

With Thanksgiving this week, Advent is following quickly behind it!

But besides the busy preparation for Christmas, there are a lot of things we can do to really observe the season of Advent! Over the years I have collected links and resources for the holidays that I thought would help me and my family prepare our hearts and spirits to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus.  I haven't done everything on this list.  Some of it is a wish list, but there was something in every link that I thought was worthwhile.

Perhaps first on the list is actually getting our homes ready for the holidays:
Holiday Grand Plan or join their Yahoo Group E-mail List Declutter and Clean!
Also DeClutter and Organize on Facebook. 

and get your planner ready~  Advent and Christmas Planner from Catholic Icing or Advent Planner from Wildflower and Marbles. 

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7- Quick Takes Friday

Join Jen and the other Quicktakers over at the Conversion Diary.

1. I have been teasing Sam and Gabe about my Christmas Present. Truth be told I just don't want them to spend any money on me. Instead I told them that I wanted them to learn Separate Ways by Journey. First of all - that's a great song. But secondly I think with Gabe doing drums, Sam on guitar and both of them doing vocals it will be pretty durn good - I just hope they don't opt out and buy me earrings or something!

2. I'm just about done Christmas shopping. Really trying to keep it modest and simple which I really think is more keeping with the feast of a simple birth in a stable. I noticed that Christmas cards are down this year and I wonder if it is because of the cost? When it costs nearly a dollar or more to send one Christmas card who can afford to send out 40 or 50 of them? I know I have hand delivered a few of mine.

3. Christmas cards are also down because some of the older folks I sent them to died last year. I think I am discovering the secret of a happy old age - make younger friends!

4. Tonight there is a dance at the parish school. The proceeds are going to pay for the high school youth to go to the Franciscan University Youth Conferences. Mr. Pete is going to chaperone and I am going to decorate. I think I have the better deal and I am a little afraid to see how these Catholic school kids dance these days. Calvin went to several public high school dances which did a lot of pretty suggestive dancing. It will be interesting to see how that translates to a younger age at a parochial school - although with Father V as the new pastor I can't imagine that anything too inappropriate will be tolerated.

5. I was able to find two more events to play my flute for this holiday season. I will be playing for a hospice on Monday and then another mass on January 9. I just have thoroughly enjoyed doing so much playing, to the point of wondering why I don't play more during the rest of the year. I'll have to see if I can remedy that.

6. I have received a couple cards from nieces and nephews who are cohabitating and pretty open about it. One in particular I would like to write something special back but it's hard to say, "gee, maybe this is kind of wrong" without being shut out of their lives completely. And then I think I got an inspiration - I'm going to find a way to put our PreCana talk on Youtube next year and invite these young people to watch it! And although I have mastered the art of photography and posting it online, I have no idea about short movie clips. Guess I'll find out.

7. I really miss my mother. There have been a many weeks now when she wasn't in the front of my mind as I dealt with other things including SLO's cancer. But as things settle into a new normal and the holidays get closer I miss her so much. A few days before she died, Mom told one of the nurses what a wonderful flutist she thought I was. I guess that's one of the reasons I tried to play so much this year. I'm glad my playing made her happy.

I got the idea that I wanted to add a figurine to my nativity set in honor of mama. I inherited my set from her and I think it was my grandparents before then. I've been adding things to it regularly, although I missed last year because I didn't have enough cash. This year I did though and I went with Sam to help pick something out. He found the perfect figure of a grandmother holding her grandchild. Turns out this was the commemorative figure for 2002 which is also very meaningful for me as I think of my mother with my stillborn son who was born that year.
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