10 Meaningful Advent Traditions for Catholic Families

The holiday season can be overwhelming, but there are so many wonderful Catholic Advent traditions from all over the world that can be easily implemented into your celebrations! Many of these are even easier to incorporate after you have initially started it, so add a few traditions here and there and watch your meaningful family traditions grow. 

I would like to start off by saying that I actually have a special Advent/Christmas planner for Catholic moms to help you learn about and implement these traditions into your season! After each tradition the planner provides you with a specific task to put your Advent plans into action with your family. You do not want to miss this planner if you’re a Catholic mom preparing for a meaningful Advent with your family! Read more about it and see some testimonials here.

I can’t even begin to explain how full and rich the Catholic faith is- these 10 traditions are a mere tip to an iceberg! There are so many meaningful Catholic traditions from all over the world, but let’s look at these top 10. 


1. Advent Wreath

I now have an entire article on everything you ever needed to know about Advent wreaths. This is an Advent tradition that is near and dear to my heart as it is one of the only ways my family lived the liturgical year at home when I was growing up. In fact, it’s on my top 15 list of ways to live liturgically at home! Once you have an Advent wreath, it’s easy to pull out year after year. Don’t miss out on this beautiful Catholic tradition!

2. Feast Of The Immaculate Conception

This is actually a holy day of obligation in the USA, which means that Catholics attend Mass on this day. It’s a common misconception that this day is about Mary being pregnant with Jesus, when it’s really a day to remember St. Anne being pregnant with Mary! Make sure your kids don’t misunderstand this Advent feast day as many Catholics do! My printable Immaculate Conception ornament can help with that.  

3. St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas day rolls around every year on December 6, and celebrating this Saint feast day is a great way to remember who Santa Clause really is! I have a guide to celebrating St. Nicholas day as a Catholic family here. Our favorite tradition is to leave out our shoes for St. Nick to fill with candy and small treats. 

4. Have An Interactive Nativity Set

Display a nativity set prominently 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.

We have some special family traditions surrounding our nativity set that makes it a little more interactive and meaningful to the season.

5. Feast Day Of St Lucy (Santa Lucia)

This Saint feast day happens each year on December 13, and I can no longer imagine Advent without it! This day is a huge deal in Sweden, and we like to celebrate with the traditional Swedish saffron buns. Some years when I can’t handle complicated baking, we opt for an easy St. Lucy bun alternative, which may or may not involve canned cinnamon rolls.

There are many other traditions surrounding this day including making gingerbread, dressing up as St. Lucy and star boys, singing songs, lighting candles, and even more! You can find all of my resources for celebrating the feast of Santa Lucia here.

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6. Feasts Of San Juan Diego and Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Both of these beautiful feast days fall during Advent! The feast of San Juan Diego is on December 9, and Our Lady of Guadalupe is on December 12. There are lots of ways to celebrate these days, including recipes, crafts, printables, and more. 

7. Attend Confession As A Family

A lot of churches have a big confession service during Advent, so watch your parish’s bulletin! This is a great way to prepare for the coming of our Savior.

8. 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. My Advent Saint pack also includes a printable St. Andrew ornament that is holding the full Christmas novena. 

9. Start A Jesse Tree

I love our Jesse Tree! Basically you have a small tree of some kind, and each day in December you hang 1 ornament on the tree. It starts with Adam and goes all the way through baby Jesus on December 25, showing the stories of the Old Testament leading up to the birth of our savior. I have a post dedicated to explaining the Jesse Tree to beginners here.

You can also find my set of printable Jesse Tree ornaments here. No easier way to get started then to just print them!

10. O Antiphons

Each night for the octave (8 days) before Christmas, we ask Christ to come, and call him by a different name. Each of these names starts with “O”, such as “O Come O Come Emmanuel”. An antiphon is a liturgical composition, and they are traditionally sung. Therefore, they are called the O Antiphons. You can read all about this Catholic Advent tradition here

Even More Resources

I have even more Saint feast day you can celebrate in Advent this year. The Advent Saints have become some of my favorites!

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.

Here are some Advent traditions that I go over in my Advent/Christmas planner not mentioned here:

  • Advent Angels
  • Letters to the Christ Child
  • Mass planning and organization
  • Christmas dinner planning
  • St. Barbara’s branch
  • Blessings for the Advent wreath, Christmas tree, etc.
  • Everything you need for the O Antiphons
  • So much more!!! 


  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!

  9. We’ve started reading the book of Luke together as a family beginning Dec 1.
    This always brings up great questions and discussions and helps us to feel closer to Jesus at Christmas time as we read through his life.