The season of Advent is one of my favorite times of the year. It is an annual reminder to celebrate and appreciate what the coming of Christ embodies: hope, joy, love, and giving. It is the also the beginning of the new liturgical calendar in the Church, so Happy New Year! What I remind my children (and myself) each year, is that even though the sights and sounds all around us tell us that it is Christmas already, we’re actually still waiting… preparing our hearts… for that wonderful day – that is what Advent is all about, and I love to savor this season.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Advent Calendar… (I have a little history about it here in a previous post). I think it’s a fun opportunity to spend some quality time together, creating memories and learning together. Several years ago, I purchased this reusable magnetic one and have been stuffing it with little strips of paper each year. I decided to print up those ideas and share them with all of you for FREE!
I compiled the list of activities that I hoped would be fun in some way for all involved. Some ideas are simple; others take some planning. I wanted to make sure I incorporated acts of giving/service in order to remind my children about the real reason for the season.
Some days are the same every year. For example, we read about St. Nicholas on his feast day (December 6th). St. Nicholas is believed to be the original inspiration behind Santa Clause (or, Jolly Old St. Nick). You can read more about his life here or with this great children’s book available on Amazon: The Legend of St. Nicholas. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases, so thank you if you purchase from this link. 😊) We usually take our annual trip to get our pictures taken with the jolly man himself on this day too, in order to wish him a happy feast day of course! We’ll also leave out our shoes the night before in hopes that St. Nick pays us a visit…. (spoiler alert: he will, and he’s leaving us these cute cookies!)
December 12th is known as National Gingerbread House Day so you can bet that’s when we enjoy this activity for sugar-overload.
This year, on December 13th, we’ll be celebrating St. Lucia Day (St. Lucy’s feast day), by having our daughter dress in a white dress with a red sash (symbolizing martyrdom) with a (pretend) candlelit wreath around her head. She’ll serve the family sweet buns (or Lucia rolls- the more traditional saffron bread).
We also think it’s fun to eat dinner by candlelight on the longest night of the year, December 21st.
Advent Calendars typically begin on December 1st, even though the traditional start of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Please feel free to snag a few of these ideas for your family this year and comment below with some of your family’s favorite memories. Most importantly, no matter how you decide to create a memorable Advent season this year, I hope you do so with a relaxed spirit and a peaceful heart. Stressing out over projects or adding “one more thing” to the growing list of things to do this month will negate the proposed outcome, right?
Click here for the printable list of Advent activities.
Happy Advent, beloved!
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19, NIV