Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011 - Other Traditions

Today's prompt for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories is all about other traditions. Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers asks "did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?"

As I prepared for this post nothing appropriate came to mind. Our family celebrated Christmas in a very Americanized fashion. The only possible native element would be the krusciki cookies our neighboor baked.

Then I thought about the family tradition my husband and I began with our children. When they were old enough to ask the pressing question of how many days until Christmas we came up with a strategy.

Once Thanksgiving dinner was over out came the glue and construction paper. Each child picked their favorite color to create rings for our Advent Christmas chain.

The last ring on the chain was always bright golden. When our daughter was older she added little decorations to this most special circle on the chain.

On December 1st the chain would be hung from a candlestick on the mantle.

Each evening after dinner a ring would be removed from the chain signaling another day closer to Christmas. This way if any of the children wanted to know how many days until Christmas they counted the remaining links.

Once everyone arose Christmas morning the last ring was removed from the mantle. Each year we rotated which child had the honor of removing the golden chain.This easy and inexpensive tradition became one of our children's favorite memories.

In fact when our son was serving in United States Marine Corps we sent him construction paper. Justin made green strips and mailed them home. Arriving several weeks before Christmas he resumed taking his rings off the chain.

Maybe this is how traditons begin. A child asks a question and the adult creates a magical way to satisfy their curiosity. I certainly hope our children carry on this Ruth family tradition.

[Note: This is an updated edition of the post which originally ran during the 2010 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories]

This post is a part of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories meme. Come share your Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.


  1. Cute idea & great way for children to count the days till Christmas!

  2. I just love learning of the traditions others enjoy and how they came about. I'm sure the children were very excited watching the chain become smaller and smaller.

  3. When I was in the younger years of elementary school (when you still get to make crafts in school) we always made one of these in late November, out of red and green construction paper. It was so exciting to take a ring off the chain each day and see it get shorter and shorter as Christmas got closer!