We always use fresh greenery for advent, but the wreath I bought this year is drying out quicker than usual. I think next year I'm going to cave in and invest in something I can use year after year. Makes sense. Must be why everyone else does it. They're sensible. :)
We are doing something that has turned out, though quite by accident, to be extraordinarily sensible this year. In deciding what to offer as a family this year for Advent, we settled quickly upon having soup and bread for our dinners leading up to Christmas Eve. I know Advent is a season of joy and watchfulness (and gingerbread houses and cookie baking) and we're soaking up plenty of those things too.
From this we anticipated particular goods to come, both interior and exterior....and not all of them entirely selfless (like the pounds dropping). What I didn't realize was how perfectly this would simplify Advent even more. It is wonderful not to have to wonder what's for dinner, and to know that meal prep will be smooth and easy every night. I have more time for all the things I love about Advent...the prayers, the feast days, the decorations, the music. All the old traditions and the extra time to make new ones. This is the first year I've done a Jesse tree and it's devotions for the children. I can't really explain why I've never done it before other than to say I just didn't think I would like it much. How wrong I was! It's beautiful. Of course it is. Again, the sensible people knew this all along.
So I think we have a new tradition along with our Jesse tree. Soup for Advent. I couldn't be more pleased with the simplicity this has afforded us all. There's so much a family can do with this...give the money saved on food to those in need, offer it for special intentions, use the extra time you'd otherwise spend in the kitchen to love better and in other ways. Oh, and kitchen clean up! Did I mention easy clean up?