A Genuinely Easy Advent Activity

HEY, IT’S ALMOST ADVENT.  If that idea makes you panic, weep, or throw up, then this is the post for you.

My sister, Abby Tardiff, put together a very, very easy Advent activity  – as she says, “suitable for kids or grown-ups” — to help focus us on preparation for Christmas.  You can use it either as an Advent chain or as Jesse Tree ornaments.

I couldn’t figure out how to put the actual images in this post, but if you click on the link below, you can download the the word document, which is seven pages in black and white.


Advent chains

And here are my sister’s directions:


Cut on the lines to make strips, and use a stapler to form the strips into paper

chains, which represent the chains of sin and death. Then each day of

Advent, starting this Sunday, remove one strip and read it. Except for

December 19, which is from the Canticle of Zechariah, they are all Old

Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah.

[For a more colorful version, tape the strips to purple or pink strips of construction paper, depending on what week you’re on.  It’s very nice for everyone, especially younger kids, to see the chain getting smaller and smaller as Christmas approaches; and little kids can take turns snipping the links and handing them to someone who can read.]


Each strip also has a Jesse Tree ornament (not related to the prophecy) on

it that you may color and cut out, and hang on a branch. The Jesse Tree

tells the history of Salvation, beginning with Creation and ending with

Emmanuel, God With Us. During Advent, we tell our children these stories,

because they tell why we need a Savior, and how God prepared the world for

His coming.

The last seven ornaments are the “O Antiphons” taken from the evening

prayers of those days. You can read about them here.

The hymn “O Come, O Come

Emmanuel” is based on the O Antiphons.

Feel free to pass these around. I chose the prophecies, but I kiped

uncopyrighted images from various places on the net.


YOU GUYS!!!! [updated with corrections]

Boy, we had to wait forever to spill the beans, but I’m very, very pleased to announce that


What book? you ask.  The book that SIMCHA WROTE?

No, don’t be silly.  I can barely get up the energy to come up with a subordinate clause these days, never mind a whole book.

I did, however, write a chapter!

I dibsed the one on motherhood, since it will be years before my kids are old enough to get up the courage to express how misguided I was and how horribly I warped them with my stupid ideas about motherhood, and maybe the world will come to an end before I have to deal with it.

The book is

Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter

 and I am genuinely thrilled about the line-up of contributors!

Firstaball, it was conceived and edited by the astonishing Hallie Lord of Betty Beguiles.   Now check out the list of writers she assembled.  [NOTE:  This is the corrected list.  Sorry for the mix-up!]

Introduction and Afterward by Hallie Lord

and chapters by: Jennifer Fulwiler

 Karen Edmisten


Rachel Balducci

Annie Mitchell

Rebecca Teti

Hallie Lord

Betty Duffy

Danielle Bean

Barbara Nicolosi

I almost feel silly linking to these writers’ websites, because surely you already have them bookmarked.

Here’s the official summary:

In Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter, ten of the top Catholic female writers come together to offer tips, encouragement, and a bit of humor for their sisters in the trenches of daily life. From the difficulties of fitting in prayer time to the impact that lots of babies have on intimacy to the unique challenges of the single life, each author digs deep into the issues that real Catholic women think about. With the tone of a group of gals gathered around a bottle of wine, it is sure to be a hit with all Catholic women, whether they need practical tips in areas in which they struggle, words of encouragement, or just a bit of entertainment after a long day.

Did I mention that

you can pre-order the book,

and that it will be coming out in March of 2012?

It’s published by Our Sunday Visitor Press.  Thank you, Hallie, for including me in this project.