Barneblad: Let’s decorate for Jul in Advent!
A monthly feature to share with kids and grandkids
Brought to you by Lori Ann Reinhall
Thanksgiving is now over, and the special time leading up to Christmas has begun. There are few other times so rich in tradition than the season of Advent. There is much to prepare, but fortunately for all, it is more fun than work. There is no better time to undertake DIY projects, so let’s decorate for Advent!
COUNTDOWN TO JUL
There are a few essentials for the season, but perhaps No. 1 on the list is your Advent calendar: it will help you keep organized during your countdown to Jul. Of course, you can ask your parent or guardian to purchase an Advent calendar for you, but there are many varieties that you can make on your own.
One of the easiest ways to count down to Christmas is to create your own calendar with 24 gift cards and envelopes. On each card you can write a special word: hope, love, light, friendship, candles, Christmas tree, wreaths, carols, cookies—anything that you associate with Christmas.
Put the gift cards with the words into the envelopes, and then turn them around and paste them to a large piece of construction paper. Number the envelopes from 1 to 24. It’s also fun to add some color with Christmas stickers and bows. You and your family will have fun opening one of them up each day leading up to Christmas—and they will keep you on schedule for the big day.
MAKE YOUR OWN WREATH
The first Sunday of Advent in 2019 is Dec. 1. A traditional Advent wreath is put together with three white candles and a red candle arranged in a wreath of fir branches or holly twigs. Each Sunday leading to Jul, a candle is lit, the red candle last, all in anticipation of the birth of the Baby Jesus. It is a beautiful tradition to keep, both at Sunday services at church and at home with your family.
But candles can be dangerous, and it is important to never play with matches and fire. Candles should always be lit under adult supervision, and they should never be within reach of children. Remind your moms and dads, too, that candles can never be left unattended.
Fortunately for kids these days, there are many clever ways to make an advent wreath that don’t involve real candles. Why not ask for battery-operated LED candles to place in votive holders? These flameless candles are both beautiful and safe. If you don’t have any candleholders, you can use small juice glasses or jam jars—use your creativity!
Arrange your votives in a circle and decorate them with greens and ribbons for your own special wreath. Alternately, you can just line up your candles in a row: 1-2-3-4, and before you know it, it’ll be Christmas!
DECORATE A COOKIE WITH LOVE
Christmas is a time for baking, and no one is better at this than Norwegians and Norwegian Americans. It’s a great family activity, when kids can help get the dough ready to be shaped and baked. Many cookies require decorating, and I can guarantee you that you will have fun working together.
Norwegian gingerbread cookies, called pepperkaker, are traditional, and I recommend them because they are so fun to decorate. The traditional heart shape is fun to work with, because it represents the love and joy of the season. You can practice your Norwegian by writing words in Norsk that bring happiness to others: Snill (Nice), Klem (Hug), Glede (Happiness), Varme (Warmth), Jeg elsker deg (I love you), and Takk! (Thanks!) are just a few ideas. These cookies make beautiful decorations, your friends will be very curious, and they will love them.
After all, the Christmas season is all about love, as we bring warmth and happiness into our homes, as we decorate for Advent. From all of us at The Norwegian American, we we wish you and your family a very…
Lori Ann Reinhall, Editor-in-chief of The Nowegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.
Photos courtesy of Lori Ann Reinhall
This article originally appeared in the November 29, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.