Advent and Favorite Traditions

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Courtney
    December 22, 2008

    i love reading your blog. i forget how i even found it, but i’m thankful i did.
    your heart for your family is beautiful. thanks for all you share!

    i also have many favorite traditions. but one of them is that we open a present each day, starting Dec 1. but the great part is that the presents aren’t NEW. they are Christmas books and CD’s and one DVD that we already have. and the day we open that book or that CD, we read or listen to it. it makes sure that we read all the books we have, at least once. and it makes sure that i sit down with all the kids at one point in the day. i also wrap a jar of sprinkles for the day we’re going to make sugar cookies. or a box of white Christmas lights for the day we’re going to drive around and look at Christmas lights. it takes a bit of planning ahead of time (i sit down with a calendar Thanksgiving weekend and do it) but it’s so fun! and it’s also good for the kids to learn to take turns and be excited for someone ELSE opening a present!

  2. The Pichura Family
    December 22, 2008

    This is comment #1 for me on your blog 🙂 Thanks for opening up your life for us to read. We are, Lord willing, bringing home two brothers from Ethiopia in the next 3 months and are so thankful for all the extra advice and tips you and others have shared. Okay, that said 🙂 one of our families traditions probably graces many homes, but it is one that we love…we always make Jesus’ a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday on Christmas. It helps us all, especially our younger children remember and rejoice in the true reason we celebrate…Jesus was born!

  3. Anonymous
    December 22, 2008

    Hi, Lisa!

    We have a birthday cake for Jesus too (He likes chocolate!) and we enjoy it on Christmas night, after we all read Luke 1 & 2 together, taking turns reading, It's a special way to end a great day.

    A 2nd tradition in our family is that each Christmas I buy a special ornament for each child. I collect something unique for each daughter (angels for one, children for another, etc) and for my sons I buy an ornament that represents a highlight of their year. The kids love hanging their ornaments, it brings back special memories each year, and I plan to present each child with their ornaments as a special wedding shower gift when they marry…

    Fun to see all the snow you have, too! We've gotten over 24 inches in the last week!

    Lisa H

  4. Sandee
    December 23, 2008

    One of course is decorating the tree. Each child has their own box of ornaments collected over the years, and they enjoy re-discovering their treasures, as they open their box and hang them on the tree. I plan to send their box off with them (if I can part with them) when they are grown and have a tree of their own.

    I love the picture of your snowing house…and your advent wreath, I may need to start that next year.

  5. Donna
    December 23, 2008

    I also stumbled across your blog some time ago and have enjoyed “meeting” your family and picking up tidbits of wisdom.
    We also do the ortament thing. Setting up the tree becomes a time of sharing of stories. And this year I did part with my first box, as our oldest set up housekeeping in California. Though hard to part with, she very thankful to have that small part of home with her this year, her first Christmas away from home. Last month as the fires raged through her subdivision and she thought the house was gone, that was one of the things she was most disappointed about not having. Thankfully her home was spared.

  6. Laurel
    December 23, 2008

    Love the picture of your beautiful house in the snow. It’s fun to see where my blogging friends live.

    We, too, do the ornament tradition (one new ornament per child each year). We started the tradition because when we got married we had nothing to put on the tree. So, we decided that each child needed to have a box of Christmas ornaments to begin their marriage with. And, next summer we will be giving away our first box of ornaments. (Each child even has the original list, that was begun the year they were born, that describes which ornament they received which year, and whether or not it was purchased on a special trip, as I do my ornament shopping year round.) I must say, however, that when we started the tradition 24 years ago, we did not know that we would be having 13 children. So, I spend much time and funds buying ornaments each year (each ornament clearly represents something in the child’s life that year). We, also, now must buy a HUGE sturdy Christmas tree to hold ALL of the ornaments. (Our children now have 175+ ornaments.) 🙂

    On Christmas Eve morning, we bake 15-20 large braided Candy Cane coffee cakes (15″-20″ long”). Then, in the afternoon, my dear husband and I deliver them to our pastors and all of our closest friends. (We have multiple friends that now, after 10+ years, count on that for their Christmas morning breakfast.)

    For Christmas Eve dinner (before heading to our candlelight service), we eat waffles with ice cream, berries, and whipped cream. Yummm….

    After we come home from Christmas Eve service, each child gets to open one present … their new Christmas Pajamas.

    Love reading about all of the traditions. Enjoy the cornflake sundaes; I think we’ll stick with waffles.

    Christmas Blessings,

    Laurel 🙂

  7. Laura
    December 24, 2008

    Since I grew up in the same house as Lisa, I too share the advent wreath tradition. We also received ornaments from our mother each Christmas…in fact we still do usually from one of our parents trips!

    One tradition that I started with my children is visiting Santa and getting a picture taken. I got my 20th one on Monday. It is so special to me to have a picture of my children every December and they still humor me even though they are all teenagers. I am keeping this tradition going as long as I can!

    Another tradition is always going to a tree farm and cutting down a Christmas tree. This year we had to wait for our oldest to come home from college and for the weather to cooperate. We finally got our tree on Sunday in 25 degree snowy weather; certainly not the norm for Western Washington!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy