One of the really neat things about living the liturgical life, is that after awhile, you start to have favorite traditions and ways of celebrating, and you find that your children look forward to them as well. This is one of those traditions!
What we have done in the past on this feast is to have a "white dinner" in honor of Mary. White of course emphasizes Mary's pure soul and freedom of sin. We usually have something with a white sauce like chicken with mashed potatoes. This year I think we are going to have white chili. Of course a white cake with white frosting! This emphasizes the point we are trying to get across about Mary to our children, but it also makes for a memorable dinner and something they can look forward to.
Many times on liberal Catholic or anti-Catholic forums, Mary's Immaculate Conception will be picked on as a "man made doctrine" because it was not formally proclaimed until 1854. Of course any serious student of Catholicism will understand that the church only proclaim what has been held and taught centuries. I don't understand why so many of these folks have a problem with Mary being saved from original sin and remaining sinless throughout her life! God calls throughout the scriptures for his people to become and remain holy!! It makes sense to me that He would choose His own mother to be his perfect creation as an example to us of what that looks like.
Holiness is simple. It is lovely. It is humble. It is helpful. It is obedient, kind, and caring. It says yes to wherever God calls. It does not rely on its own understanding. That is all Mary.
Today is one of the few Holy Days of Obligation left in the US.
Some good links for in my delicious file.