6 Ways to Kick Off Advent With a Religious Bang! And a Linky :-)

With all the crazy hussle and bustle of the holidays, it’s important not to let this religious time get lost in the secular shuffle. Preparing for Advent early is a great way to make sure you start this season off on the right foot- one that walks towards Him. For kids, Santa can be a pretty tough guy for Jesus to compete with- but I assure you that there is much strength and fun to be found in our amazing Catholic culture! Now here are 6 ways to kick off your family’s advent with a religious bang!

Get an Advent Wreath
This is a very popular tradition, and I’m willing to bet most of you already have an advent wreath of some kind. The basic idea is that it’s a green wreath with 3 purple candles and one ‘rose’ colored candle. The candles are lit every night before dinner during prayers, and you light one additional candle each week until Christmas. I did a post last year on DIY Advent Wreaths that you should check out if you don’t have one yet! Be sure to read up on the background of the Advent Wreath and also Blessings and Prayers for your Advent Wreath. At our house we also have this Fabric Children’s Advent Wreath which is really cute! The candles Velcro on so you can add them as you go.
Use an Advent Calendar
There are soooo many different advent calendars out there! From paper chains to pinatas, there are infinite ways to count down the days to our savior’s birth. If you craft one yourself, you can start on the first day of advent rather than the first day of December. An advent calendar can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be, but I would encourage you to find something religious to help your kids understand the meaning of Christmas. Resist society’s ridiculous Sponge Bob Square Pants advent calendars. In stead, find or make something meaningful, like this Religious Advent Calendar from Story Time Felts. Each day Mary rides the donkey closer and closer to Bethlehem. How cute is that?! My friend, Katie Offsay, is the one who sent me this awesome link, so be sure to enter her as your ‘consultant’ if you order one :-)

Prepare a Manger for Baby Jesus
A great activity for kids to do during Advent is have a manger forBaby Jesus. Every time they do a good deed or make a sacrifice, theyget to add a piece of straw to the manger. Hopefully by ChristmasBaby Jesus has a nice soft bed to lay on! Find a round up of Manger Crafts Here.

Setting Up the Nativity
This year we’re planning on setting up our nativity in an interactive way with the kids. This process will begin on Advent, and end on the Epiphany. Ruth from Just Another Day in Paradise has a great post about being Interactive with your Nativity Set. If you have little ones (like me) you might want to look into getting something like this Little People Nativity Set for Kids. I’m thinking about getting my kids one for St. Nicholas day!

Have a Jesse Tree
The Jesse Tree is a great tradition to do, and it starts on December 1. You hang one symbol on your Jesse Tree each day of December until Christmas and read a coordinating passage from the bible. You can make your own Jesse Tree and craft your own symbols- you can even find places to print them for free! Check out more background on the Jesse Tree at Catholic Culture. If you don’t have time this holiday season to make your own Jesse Tree, check out this Jesse Tree Activity Kit.
“O” Antiphons
These you can procrastinate on a little bit because they don’t start until December 17. Each O Antiphon is a different title for the Messiah and once again, you go through them one per day. Man, by Christmas I’m going to have you guys doing like, 6 things every day! :-) Get directions for celebrating the O Antiphons at Catholic Culture and check out my post on O Antiphon Crafts from last year for ideas. Here’s an O Antiphon CD with songs for each one!

Advent Procession

Is it weird that I’m so anxious that I’m waiting to start a time of… well, waiting? Ok, now it’s your turn! What does your family do for Advent?

Comments

  1. I'm fired up for Advent after reading your post. Thanks for those Jesse tree printable symbols.

  2. Nicole {tired, need sleep} says:

    We love celebrating Advent too (and then the FULL season of Christmas!), and the Jesse Tree is one of our favorite things. We were hit and miss with the O Antiphons last year, hopefully we'll stay on track with them this year. We also make a little manger to put a piece of "hay" in (yarn) each evening to make a soft bed for baby Jesus on Christmas Eve. Great post!!

  3. Loyola Press has many ideas for family Advent activities.

  4. Tiny Actions says:

    Thanks Lacy for putting this all together. I just went through and printed off your make your own nativity scene for this advent. Now, I have all my family saving their toliet paper rolls!

  5. OOohhh! Thanks for posting this and the linky party! I have a few things that I want to work on for my blog and this was the perfect "push". I cannot wait to show off my yard sale finds for Advent!

  6. here are some photos of things we have done for celebrating advent:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/19337958@N02/sets/72157622747594301/
    including: Jesse Tree, advent calendars, advent calendars that turn into nativity scenes, St Nicholas day…

  7. Amy Caroline says:

    Thank you so much for this post!! I can hardly believe Advent is right around the corner!

  8. We have been doing a Jesse tree with the kiddos for a few years now using images I found online and then glued them to felt ornaments. But I'm anxious to see what your post on the Jesse tree will offer. I've been wanting to revamp ours for awhile now. Thanks so much for this great post! God bless.

  9. Marilou Purpura says:

    I always have a advent wreath with my home, and in my religious education class. We read from a advent book, (usually me because I eat the fastest) during dinner. We re-tell the story of Jesus, and the nativity.
    In my religious education class, they make them…but something I made my self for my children is a big birthday cake photo copied, with the title Jesus gave us the gift of Christmas, and then at the bottom it says My gift to him is:
    Then my kids begin to make a chain out of advent colors, pink and purple, but before they make the chain they put good deeds or religious deeds on the chain, today I am going to say a decade of the rosary for________. Today I am going to make my sister's bed. etc. Then each day the kids take a chain off, to do their deeds. Usually we do it at breakfast.