Does it seem that each year the holiday season gets busier and busier, and we get further away from the true meaning of the Advent and Christmas season? We’re often so busy preparing for Christmas that all focus on the liturgical season of Advent is lost.
Advent is, after all, a season of preparation for the coming of our Lord, and He does not want us to be stressed out about decking the halls. The best way to focus our attention on the season of Advent is to adopt or renew some simple Advent traditions in the home. So for all of my fellow busy mothers out there, I have prepared a list of meaningful and simple Advent activities that you can do as a Catholic Christian family.
Advent Wreath : No need to over-complicate this. Keep it simple. Here is the simple wreath I made for this Advent season.
Each Sunday of Advent, light a candle and say a prayer with your family. Here is a list of prayers for each week of Advent as well as the meaning behind the wreath and the different candles.
Advent Reading: There are lots of great Advent-related books to read with your kids. Leave them out during the entire season of Advent and read them often with your children. Carrots for Michaelmas shares a wonderful list of 27 Christmas and Advent books.
Advent Calendar: Counting down the days to Christmas helps children to patiently anticipate and to focus on waiting for the baby Jesus’ birth. You can even make an Advent calender as a fun craft with kids. Here is one found on The Craft Patch.
Christ Child in the Manger: When I was a little girl, my mother made a small crèche and Baby Jesus out of cardboard and construction paper. We would add a piece of ‘straw’ (pieces of yellow construction paper) to the crèche each time one of us kids had done a kind act for someone. On Christmas morning, when the baby Jesus was placed in the crèche, our kind acts had prepared Him room in our hearts. This is such a beautiful visual and tradition for children and I look forward to starting this tradition this year with my own young children! Grace Covers Me shares a helpful tutorial to make your own crèche and Baby Jesus.
Nativity Scene: Display a Nativity scene prominently in your home as a reminder of what this season is all about. You could even wait until Christmas Eve to place the Baby Jesus into the scene. Toddlers or small children in the house? This Little People Nativity set would be perfect!
Celebrate St. Nicholas’ Feast Day: I love to celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas with the kids. His feast day is on December 6th. On the eve of the feast day, tell your children the story of St. Nicholas and then have them leave their shoes out by your fireplace or front door. Once they’ve gone to bed, fill their shoes with chocolate gold coins, oranges and maybe a small toy. My mom used to write my siblings and I a letter from St. Nick about the “true meaning of Christmas” and place it in one of the shoes.
Check out my St. Nick’s Day Pinterest board for a collection of great ways to celebrate this feast day with your kids. There is also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day is December 12th and St. Lucy’s feast day is December 13th.
Hopefully these ideas have inspired you to celebrate Advent in a new and deeper way this year. Please share any family traditions or other ideas in the comments. If you like these ideas, feel free to share this post with friends!