Home Altar Idea: Liturgical Scrabble!

I found the most absolutely beautiful pictures of a liturgical mantle I had EVER seen on a facebook group by Aislinn, and I just had to ask her to share the idea with our community! She calls it “liturgical scrabble”, and it’s such a simple Catholic decor idea that can work for any feast, season, or holiday. This idea looks fabulous across her mantle, but would be equally awesome on a home altar or feast table. I especially love how one set of purchased letters can become so many things! You can find all of my home altar ideas here. Let’s check out this home altar idea, how you can create your own, and tips for collecting your own set.  

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Lacy asked me to share an easy activity that plays a big role in my family’s celebrations and liturgical observations.  It doesn’t take much time, but it can be used all throughout the year.  

How Liturgical Scrabble Started

Several years ago a good friend and I decided to try adding a few simple words to our homes, to draw our families’ hearts and minds into the Liturgical year.  We were both encountering early readers, empty living room shelves, and a season that can be particularly difficult to ‘bring home’; Lent.  We found white wooden letters at a local craft store and spelled out PRAY FAST GIVE on our mantles… and the ‘game’ began. 

Displaying Liturgical Words- Good For The Heart

Our kids noticed the words, asked thoughtful questions, and wanted to know what would be spelled next.   My friend and I realized it kept our hearts and those of our husbands focused on the season as well. 

It was also an easy, gentle way to encourage someone if their attitude toward siblings, Christ or the season was, well, wavering. If someone was suffering from a severe case of boredom or frustration, we could encourage them to find a way to PRAY FAST or GIVE of themselves. 

Progressing Through The Church Year

So after those six weeks passed, we added a few more letters to our stashes to spell Easter phrases. 

Then a few more letters made their way into our homes to spell phrases for the days of Hallowtide. 

By Advent and Christmas we were all hooked! My friend started calling it ‘liturgical scrabble’ and we were sending and receiving texts such as, “I’d like to buy a vowel,” which was code for “Can I borrow a letter?”. After several years of borrowing from one another, and of snagging a few additional letters here and there when the craft store had sales, we’re now both outfitted for just about every liturgical and secular season and holiday, all the feast days that are meaningful to our families, and (of course) birthdays. 

My older kids scheme up new phrases and enjoy explaining them to their siblings. The younger ones get to rummage through our basket of letters to spell the words out.  I add colors, statues, prayers and images that bring the words to life a bit more.  My husband calls to mind a few more special intentions related to saints or solemnities during family prayers.  All in all, we’ve accidentally discovered that the game of ‘liturgical scrabble’ is a wonderful way to enliven our domestic church!  

What Letters To Use

In my house, we use white 3” tall capital letters that stand on their own and go on sale every few weeks for $1 per letter.  I’ve placed words all throughout our main living area and 3” seems to be a good height that doesn’t get lost, or become intrusive. 

Here is a 3 inch set of wooden craft letters from Amazon

where you can get any letter you want an also an “&” sign.

I like using one single color for our letters because it allows us to mix and match for all kinds of word combinations.  It’s also a quick fix with craft paint if one gets nicked. White works well and stands out on my mantle, but you could buy, paint or stain any color that suits you, or you could leave the letters unfinished! 

And if you only intend to make a limited number of words, painting each word in coordinating liturgical colors (like green, purple, red and white or gold) would be a really neat touch too. 

Starting small with just one or two holidays and strategically counting out letters to use and reuse worked really well for us (and so did collecting them with a friend to borrow from, wink-wink).  It was cost effective and I was surprised at the creative combinations my kids and I could come up with, using just a few letters!  Over time our stash has grown, but any family could begin playing ‘liturgical scrabble’ in as simple or extensive a manner as they wished.  I thought I’d share some of our most used combinations to get your creative Wheel Of Fortune, Wordscapes and Scrabble juices flowing…

Words To Make For “Liturgical Scrabble”

  • MARDI GRAS
  • PRAY FAST GIVE
  • WATCH AND PRAY
  • IT IS FINISHED
  • CHRIST IS RISEN
  • ALLELUIA
  • ASCENSION
  • COME HOLY SPIRIT
  • PRAY FOR US
  • ALL HALLOWS EVE
  • ALL SAINTS DAY
  • ALL SOULS DAY
  • HOPE PEACE JOY LOVE
  • CHRIST IS BORN
  • GLORIA
  • ST VALENTINE
  • ST PATRICK
  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY 

We’ve also spelled all of our family members’ names, our patron saints’ names, and words surrounding secular holidays like GOD BLESS AMERICA for Independence Day and THANKS BE TO GOD for Thanksgiving.

Tips For Starting Your Letter Stash

Pro tip: thinking ahead to have words like DAY, HAPPY and THE available can be a bit help.

Thankfully, on that fateful day I realized I didn’t have enough Y’s to write HAPPY BIRTHDAY it was for my Harry Potter loving tween, who was quite satisfied to read HAPPEE BIRTHDAE instead! 

When all of this started, it was fun to see the connection my kids quickly made between what was being done and said at church and in school, with words they saw displayed at home.  These last few months, however, our game of ‘liturgical scrabble’ has taken on new depth and meaning during our time away from church, school and the Sacraments.  Our domestic church is currently the only church our kiddos have had unlimited access to, and dressing it with rich words, images and traditions has helped us all to feel a little more at ‘home’ away from our home, Mother Church. I hope if you give it a try, playing ‘liturgical scrabble’ is as much a gift to your family, as it is to ours! 

Can I buy a vowel?

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About The Author

Aislinn is wife and mom to 1 outstanding husband and 5 sweet girls (the youngest due in October), as well as a little one in Heaven.  Born and raised a Cradle Catholic in the Midwest, she is a social worker by trade and a stay at home parent by trial and error (and grace, so much grace).  Aislinn enjoys bonfires, walks in the woods, crafting and creating beautiful things, discovering ways to make the faith accessible to her kiddos, reading books without pictures, and full pots of black coffee.  

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More Posts With Home Altar Ideas

How to start a home altar

How to spray paint your own “Alleluia” letters

 

Printable letters for liturgical word banners

“Pray Fast Give” craft decor for Lent

You can find all of my home altar resources here.

Comments

  1. Where does she buy them where they go on sale every few weeks for $1?

    • I would suggest checking your local Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, of which both stores run constant sales. They also always have those 40% off 1 item coupoons, so utilize those where you can! 🙂

  2. It’s a great idea! I actually did the same thing (started with Pray Fast Give) except I use a lightbox which already came with a set of letters. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/My-Cinema-Lightbox-changeable-personalized/dp/B0167XQQHO

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