10 Meaningful Advent Traditions for Catholic Families with Little to No Prep Work!

The holiday season can be overwhelming. This year I have had a baby, had a husband in a live-in police academy, moved from Virginia to South Carolina, bought a house, and moved again. So no, I didn’t have my pink and purple candles bought in time. So shoot me. 😉

We all have our stuff going on, but whether or not you started this Advent season out on the foot you wanted to, there’s hope. We need to remember that this is a season of preparation for the coming of our Lord, and He does not want us to be stressed out about decking the halls. Really, he doesn’t!

So for all you fellow overwhelmed mothers out there, I have prepared a list of meaningful Advent activities that you can do with your Catholic family that involve very little to no prep work at all. I hope these ideas help bless this Advent season and your families.

  1. Have an Advent wreath. Don’t overcomplicate this. The simplist Advent wreath will do. If Advent has already started, that’s ok. Just go ahead and put your wreath together, then light the first candle one evening and let it burn down a little. Catching up isn’t hard to do. 😉
  2. Stuff shoes for St. Nicholas day (December 6). (Sorry this idea came a little late for this year- lol) This does not have to be difficult or complicated. Have the kids put their shoes out, tell them the story of St. Nicholas, fill the shoes with goodies. Even just a few cookies in a ziplock baggie will do, although I do like to pick up the bags of chocolate gold coins.
  3. Go to Mass on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8. Actually, this is not optional since it’s a holy day of obligation, but it doesn’t involve any prep and it always falls during Advent. Make sure your children understand what this Feast day means- you can use this coloring sheet to help.
  4. Sing Christmas songs. Stick with the ones you know the words to, and choose the religious ones- Away in a Manger, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, etc. If you only know the first verse, just sing it several times in a row. Whether you’re in the car, or snuggled up in the living room, just go for it- the kids will love it even if you are tone deaf!
  5. St. Lucia (Lucy)’s feast day, December 13- drive around and look at Christmas lights. This tradition started because her name means “light”. What a fun and easy way to celebrate this great feast day! If you aren’t feeling up to making saffron buns, you can make easy St. Lucy buns from canned cinnamon rolls.
  6. Celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) or St. Juan Diego (December 9) by eating Mexican food for dinner. There are lots of ways to celebrate these days, but you have to cook dinner anyway, right? May as well be tacos. If you have a statue of our Lady of Guadalupe, set her on the table as a centerpiece.
  7. Put out a Nativity set. Put it front and center in your home. Up on the mantel is a great choice. This is an easy way to send a message of what’s the most important for this season. If you’re looking for an easy nativity craft, my printable nativity set only needs supplies you’re sure to already have laying around the house.
  8. Attend confession as a family. A lot of churches have a big confession service during Advent- utilize it. This is a great way to prepare for the coming of our Savior.
  9. Pray the St. Andrew Christmas Novena with your family. This is a beautiful tradition. You can add it to your daily prayers, or do this in place of your current family prayers during the Advent season.
  10. Have a Baby Jesus hunt for when you place him in your nativity set on Christmas. This is one of my favorite traditions, and so easy! Read about how we do this here.

These kinds of traditions are what build memories your children will never forget, and bring our amazing Catholic faith to life for them! Don’t loose the meaning of this great Advent season in the Santa shuffle.

This is the first post in a series I’m starting this Advent about celebrating without the stress! Hope you all enjoy it. 🙂

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  1. This is a great list – thank you for sharing!! May I suggest one more?
    11. Create a book basket – gather all your storybooks that are Christmas related and set them out in the living room in a pretty basket to remind you to read the beautiful story of Christmas over and over and over … I thought I had a list of our books on my (long neglected) blog, but I can’t find one now. Maybe I’ll get a post up before Christmas because I really love sharing book ideas for children!

  2. Hi Lacy,

    We make our manger travel during Advent. We set the shepherds and angels and the cow on the manger table. Then we place Mary and Joseph on a window sill near by and the wise men and their camel far behind them. Every Sunday we move all of them a bit closer to the manger. Baby Jesus stays hidden from sight until Dec 25th, of course. It is a fun way to keep the Advent spirit “moving” towards the Nativity.

    • I’ve been meaning to type up a post about something like this for years! Maybe I’ll get to it this year. 🙂

      • Stella Good says

        I have been putting my crib out in stages since 1980. The stable starts off with only the ox in it …gradually Angels start assembling ..including one bought specially for each member of thefamily. As above Mary, Joseph & the donkey slowly make their way to the stable. The shepherds are on a hill minding their sheep & the magi take a different route from the East to the stable.
        Last count I had in excess of 150 Angels …I buy more each year.
        My children loved this …so do my Grandchildren & as soon as he is old enough I’ Sure my Great Grandson will do too.

  3. dolin cornwell says

    Your a good mother. Sounds like a fine tradition

  4. Love this! Advent and Christmas can be so overwhelming and busy. I love simple best!

  5. I love these! Another suggestion: for the Feast of Guadalupe, check to see if a parish near you is celebrating las Mananitas. It’s a beautiful tradition usually done before sunrise, and most parishes have hot cocoa and food after. It’s tough to get up that early (although, you’d think it was easy by the way kids hop out of bed Christmas morning) but totally worth it at least once.

  6. I totally understand! My husband graduated his police academy right before Christmas about 17 years ago. It was nuts! Anyway, I never thought of having a Baby Jesus hunt! That might pop into our traditions this year! Great article! Thanks!

  7. alarmas casa says

    10 Meaningful Advent Traditions for Catholic Families with Little to No Prep Work!, me ha parecido muy ameno, me hubiera gustado que fuese más amplio pero ya saeis si lo bueno es breve es dos veces bueno. Enhorabuena por vuestra web. Besotes.

  8. Jhoanalyn Molina says

    thanks for sharing this. We enjoyed creating the nativity set especially my son, adding his creativity while coloring 🙂 also love the idea of keeping Baby Jesus until the 25th. Thank youuu!

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