As students return from one holiday break and look forward to another, remembering family traditions can help to keep those relationships close during the rush of an ending semester.
The first of December marks the start of a season of celebration: Advent.
"The theme of Advent is to prepare... for the birth of Jesus," electrical engineering junior Anthony Garvert said. "All of the readings that go on during mass revolve around being attentive and ready (for His second coming)."
Although Advent technically starts four Sundays before Christmas, the Christian Resource Institute's website said many practicing individuals and families begin their countdown to Christmas starting Dec. 1.
Garvert said his family celebrated by using an Advent calendar when he was a child.
According to the institute's website, it is common to mark the beginning of Advent in the home in various ways. One such way is with the use of an Advent calendar, which is a card, poster, fabric piece or candy container with windows that open to reveal a picture, Bible verse, piece of chocolate or a small gift.
The Advent calendar has a long history and now comes in many different forms, some unconventional.
Garvert said his family has a strong Catholic background, so the practice of Advent and the countdown to Christmas as a child had a more religious meaning to him, despite the appeal of candy or gifts.
The institute said additional ways to celebrate advent include lighting candles on an Advent wreath each of the four Sundays and reading scripture, all of which keep children involved during the lengthy celebratory season.
Garvert said his favorite part of this holiday season is the fresh start afterwards.
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