Advent is coming so very soon, it seems like the end of the year comes quicker every year doesn’t it? I’m joining up with the Catholic Women Blog Network’s monthly blog hop to bring you a rich collection of posts focused on the liturgical season of Advent. Advent is celebrated in the Catholic Church as the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. It’s a beautiful time of preparing our hearts and homes to celebrate Christ’s birth. Here are some resources that my family and I use to get us into the spirit of the season.
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Advent Traditions We Participate in Every Year
We have an advent wreath with candles that we light each week:
I try to read some kind of a short Advent reflection each day as well with the kids. We used to do this book and more recently we’ve started using daily Shepherd on the Search reflections that I wrote.
We always celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th where the kids put out their shoes by the front door for St. Nicholas to fill with treats and small presents. I created a list last year of What to put in the Shoes which also makes a great list of stocking stuffers ideas. Most years we also try to put up our Christmas tree on St. Nicholas Day.
We have recently added the Shepherd on the Search doll and daily Catholic December activities to our Advent traditions. Check out the Shepherd on the Search Free Countdown below!
New Traditions We’ve Rotated Throughout the Years
Each year I switch it up a little bit with what we do for Advent. One year, I got four children’s activity books from Usborne Books that I wrapped up and have the kids unwrap one on each Sunday of Advent.
I’ve expanded that tradition to include all of our kids Advent and Christmas items. I divide up the Christmas books, dvds, puzzles, stuffed animals, nativity sets ect that we’ve accumulated over the years and put them into 4 sections.
Then each Sunday of Advent I wrap up a one section in a gift bag and have it on the kitchen table for the kids to open when they wake up. For instance, one Sunday is the Shepherd on the Search and Advent items, one Sunday is all the Nutcracker themed items, one Sunday is the Christmas movies and kid’s nativity set, one Sunday is the books and puzzles. Watch the video for more details.
This way we bring Christmas more slowly into the house and they get to really enjoy each set of toys and books instead of just pulling out all the Christmas boxes at once.
I have also made a Christmas countdown with a tree painted on a foam backdrop and mini ornaments that I got from Hobby Lobby. We stuck red and green thumbtacks in the tree and let the kids hang a tiny ornament for each day starting on December 1st and ending December 25th.
We will also be viewing a brand new movie I was asked to review. It’s called The Star and is now playing in theaters. It’s a delightful family-friendly animated film about the first Christmas. It takes some creative liberty with the nativity story while also staying true to the meaning of Christmas with Jesus as the “reason for the season.” It’s highly entertaining with jokes that only adults will catch as well as character antics that kids will love. My children were laughing just watching the trailer.
The soundtrack is both catchy and beautiful with familiar Christmas music. The storyline is very well done, told through the eyes of the stable animals with Bo the donkey being the main character. The dialogue has a modern twist and the story of Joseph and Mary is made simple for children to understand.
There are a few scary moments with King Herod’s soldier and dogs who are chasing Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. But in the end, the stable animals save the day and the evil dogs repent when they encounter baby Jesus in the manager. It’s a very touching and relatable rendition of the Christmas story and it’s a movie we will definitely be adding to our family collection when it comes out on DVD.
Items on My Advent Wish List
These are items I hope to have for future advents. They all look like awesome family resources.
Ways to Grow Spiritually This Advent
Here is a post I did about Ways to Combat Spiritual Dryness During Advent.
I’m excited to try and do the O Antiphons which are little prayers said nightly between December 17th and December 23rd. There is a great post with more information and ideas for themed activities by Pinot Noir and Prayers.
I’ve found two great daily advent reflections for women that can be delivered right to your email inbox or downloaded for free personal use. Daily Advent Devotion for Women and Advent Prayers for the Weary Woman.
You can sign up for the Best Advent Ever here.
I’ve come across some fun and inspirational posts about family activities and crafts to do during the Advent season. This is my favorite: Renew your Advent Focus: 15 Creative Family Traditions.
There are more ideas and reflections on my Advent Season Pinterest Board:
For further inspiration on preparing our hearts and homes for Christmas, check out the Simplify the Season blog party that I’m a part of where a group of bloggers share their wisdom for having a stress free and memorable holiday season,
I hope you enjoyed this collection of Advent resources and traditions. For more ideas, make sure to visit the entire blog hop and may you have a blessed Advent season.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Philippians 4:8.