With advent is right around the corner again you may be asking yourself questions like “what are we going to do for advent this year?” or “Why is advent important?” And with so many unknown and stressful things about this year, it is important that we take the time to slow down this upcoming holiday season and truly readjust our focus to the things that matter the most!
This year my family and I are wanting to do something a little different. The holidays are always a joyous occasion for us! My mom always made sure to bring the magic and the meaning of the season to my siblings and I. This year as I help prepare my own family for advent I wanted to incorporate a few new advent ideas into our traditions.
The following list of advent ideas may help you prepare your hearts for a festive and memorable holiday season.
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What is advent?
Advent is the season leading up to Christmas and the celebration of the Birth of Christ. Traditionally it’s the 4 Sundays and weeks leading up to Christmas, however, some will begin celebrating the advent season immediately following Thanksgiving.
It is a time where we can take a moment to slow down and reflect not only on all that God has done for us but more importantly the blessing of salvation. The plan that was put into action when Christ was born some 2000 years ago.
Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the birth of our Savior and a reminder that we should be diligent in our watching for his second coming.
Why is advent important?
If you have never spent intentional time celebrating and dwelling on the beauty of Advent, then you may be wondering why is advent important? The best place to start answering this question is to look at scripture. In Isaiah 52:8-9 we read,
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
Advent is important because it is a time for reflection and when properly celebrated can reset our mind to focusing on God and the most precious gift of Jesus. Not only does it give us a chance for reflection but is an expectant reflection. During this season you are watching with anticipation and celebrating the whole time. Advent is important for so many additional reasons as well.
- Helps us prepare for Christmas
- Increases our gratitude
- Reminds us to serve others
- Gives us space to slow down
- Helps us to reconnect to loved ones
- Encourages us to focus on the meaning of Christmas
- Decreases the stress of the Christmas season
- Draws us nearer to God
In order to prepare for advent season you simply need an open heart willing to receive! With that an a few ideas, you can prepare for advent with your family and enjoy this season well!
Best Christian Advent Ideas of 2021
There are so many ways to celebrate Advent! Some advent activities are traditional and some are more contemporary, but with the right intention all of the following advent ideas can help you observe the advent season and make it truly meaningful.
Advent Activity: Keep an advent calendar
Advent calendars are fun ways to count down to Christmas. There are so many neat ideas for them out these days the hardest part about using them is deciding which calendar will work best for you family. They can also be used as an alternative to Elf on the Shelf.
The Shepherd on the Search – Fabric Advent Calendar
The Shepherd on the Search Advent calendar is an interactive advent countdown activity, and a great way to start a new family tradition. One thing I love about it is it can easily be customized to your family goals for the season. Some advent ideas include adding surprises like candy, toys, scripture memory verses, and other fun treats in the pockets.
You can also use this Advent Calendar wit the Shepherd on the Search Activity Set.
The Twelve names of Christmas – Who Jesus is to Me Calendar
The Twelve Names of Christmas is a wonderful Christ-centered tradition you can begin this year with your family. This Advent Activity makes learning about Jesus easy and fun. Its great for all ages and incorporates a practical and meaningful family time reading for each day. While this one is only 12 days, it is sure to bring a lot of lively discussions to your dinner table or morning devotional time.
The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent
This Gorgeous Advent Activity features a 13-inch pop-up tree and is based on the book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. Prepare for the season each year by opening the book to unveil the Jesse Tree pop-up, and read through the family devotions written by Ann Voskamp. The entire family will enjoy discovering and hanging the 24 Christmas tree ornaments.
Additional Advent Activities for Families
In addition to using an advent calendar these are some additional traditional advent ideas and activities that could help you prepare for advent.
Light an advent wreath
The advent wreath is an advent tradition that has so much meaning. With the advent wreath you light a candle each Sunday, starting with the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Each of the candles in an advent wreath has a different meaning. Hope. Faith. Joy. Peace. Light and Purity. The candles are lit in succession and the hope is that you would dwell on the meaning of the candle each week.
Set up a nativity scene
We’ve often seen the set up outside of churches annually. The beloved nativity scene is a timeless tradition and a reminder of the true meaning of the season. Recreating this scene at home can be a meaningful way to keep the spirit of the season alive. I personally love the indoor versions because of the discussion that it brings from my son.
It’s often said that children learn best through play and this Nativity Advent activity from Oriental Cherry offers both play and the opportunity to talk about the story of the birth of Jesus.
Read an Advent daily devotional
Daily bible study devotionals are an amazing way to prepare yourself during advent for the celebration of Jesus’ Birth. Below I have selected a few of my favorite advent devotionals, but I also recommend you check out my friend Rachael’s favorite advent devotionals as well!
Devotions for Christmas: A Celebration to Bring You Joy and Peace
This Holiday devotion offers families an opportunity to slow down during this season with daily readings for the month of December. The peaceful and hope-inspired Devotions for Christmas will help you unwind from the busyness of the seasons and reignite the excitement of the season.
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional
So many of us agree the the Christmas season is about Jesus, but few of us spend the time to prepare our hearts for receiving him and welcoming the true meaning of the season.
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, leads readers through the four weeks of Advent, offering interactive family devotionals, daily reflections, and family activities and service projects.
Let Earth Receive her King, An Advent Devotional
During advent we practice hope, peace, joy, and love. While the season offers us so many distractions preparing for advent and focusing on advent ideas that encourage you to dwell on all we are celebrating is imperative to not being caught between the times. This devotional speaks to that incorporating small group engagement, personal reflection, and individual prayer as you progress through the four virtues that mark Advent
Prepare for the Season of Giving by Serving Others
Because this is a season of giving, preparing to welcome Christ’s birth celebration by giving to others can be a meaningful way to teach your children and yourself about sacrifice and our collective responsibility to each other.
Invite Friends & Family to Church Activities
You probably have both family and friends who do not attend church regularly or even at all. This time of year is when non-church goers are more open to attending. Even if you’ve invited them recently and they’ve said no, reach out and extend the invitation to attend with you again. Just remember, if they say no don’t get irritated with them and try lecturing them about why they should go. Let it be and just continue praying for them.
Lunch/Brunch/Dinner After Church
Do you know of an elderly person(s), young family, etc. that is having a hard time? Whether it be job loss, death, financial struggle, or anything else someone could be struggling with, take time to reach out and invite them to a meal out after church. This is a great way to get to know others you may not normally have the opportunity to get to know. Love on them, not just by paying for their meal but by listening and being present. Ask them about their lives and engage in conversation with them. Don’t prod, let them lead and open up as they feel led. Ask if you can pray over them before parting ways and then do so.
There are so many opportunities to volunteer. Check for local resources such as visiting elderly in a nursing home, visiting sick children in the hospital, helping at a soup kitchen, adopting a family in need and making sure they have gifts under the tree, food on the table and a message about God’s love. These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking.
Give Homemade Treats
As you’re doing your regular baking this holiday season, make some extra goodies. Put them in a decorative tin and take to your neighbors. Drop some off at the local police department or fire station. Giving homemade treats is a fun and easy way to love on others, especially those that are often forgot
If you’re at a holiday gathering offer to help in the kitchen or see what else the host needs your help with. Not everyone likes help, especially in their kitchen, but just making the offer goes a long way. You can also ask if they need you to bring anything. Once the meal is over, offer to help cleanup or better yet don’t offer just start doing.
Send A Package to Our Troops
Let’s never forget about all the men and women who serve our country to give us the freedom we have to celebrate. Holidays can be a very difficult time for them as they are away from family and friends and sometimes can’t even call home! Put a smile on their faces and show them they’re loved and not forgotten this holiday by sending a care package.
Non-Traditional Advent Activities
This next grouping of Advent ideas includes activities that are much less traditional but still high in value and meaning.
Find ways for daily gratitude
One of the best ways of preparing for advent is to remember the season and be grateful. Practicing gratitude daily has so many benefits but can be especially fulfilling during this time of year! One way to do this is to follow this fun activity with my friend Wendy at One Exceptional Life. She recommends starting a blessings jar.
A book a day holiday countdown
This is a DIY take on the advent calendar. Instead of having a calendar, you could wrap books about advent and everyday have your kiddos open one and read it as a family. This advent is awesome because it not only offers a way for families to celebrate advent but also gives an educational alternative for parents wanting to supplement the education during the holiday break. If you are looking for book ideas, Aryn of Aryn the Librayan has put together a great book list of advent classics!
Pray For Your Neighborhood
Grab your family, step outside and take a walk around your neighborhood looking at all the lights and decorations. As you do so, have you and your family pray over each house.
Bible Journal as a Family
Bible journaling has become a popular way to dive deeper into the word of God and express your interpretation artistically. Why not share this activity with the whole family and journal through the Story of Jesus in Luke!
Throw a Birthday Party For Jesus
Children understand birthday parties, so bake a cake for Jesus and celebrate His birth with a piece of yummy cake, balloons and games. Before cutting into the cake and enjoying it, grab the family and say a prayer.
Prepare for advent with one or more of these fun Advent Ideas
With the holidays upon us and the ‘chaos’ that often accompanies this time of year, it’s easy to get caught up and distracted from the real reason of the season – the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
As Christians it’s important that we keep Jesus as the focus. It’s our responsibility to teach our family, especially if we have little ones, what Christmas is about.
These are only a handful of ideas. It’s a good starting point, but there are so many other things you can do to keep Jesus the focus this Holiday season. Let us always remember: Jesus is the reason for the season.
Which of these advent activities are you trying this year??