Otherwise, we’re missing something. In its own way, Advent can be just as magical as Christmas. I think this is on my mind even more than usual this year because our little family is so excited as we prepare for baby #3 to arrive in a couple of months. Yes, we are incredibly excited to actually hold our new baby in our arms. But we wouldn’t skip this wonderful time of preparing and getting ready to receive our little one for the world. We NEED this time to prepare ourselves, our hearts, our little boys and our home (in fact, we need to both FIND and prepare our home!) for this new little one. We wouldn’t really be ready without having time to prepare, and we probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as excited as we are to meet our new little one if we didn’t have the months leading up to it to prepare. Sure – it’s not the same as cuddling a darling newborn in our arms, but in its own way, it’s just as important and exciting.
Advent is the same way. It might not be the same sort of excitement as Christmas, but it has plenty of magic on its own. Here are a few family Advent activity ideas you can use and adapt to help your kids discover the magic of Advent. AND, the symbolism behind all of these Advent activities is REAL, so you’ll never face the awkward moment when you have to explain how the elf doesn’t really exist and reindeer don’t really fly or have bright red lights for noses.
1. Make a CHRISTIAN Advent calendar – not the calendars full of reindeer and candy canes, but one full of meaningful images and symbols that will teach your children about Advent, the coming of the Savior, why we look forward to Christmas, and why preparing for it in our hearts is important. Here are 5 DIY Christian Advent calendar ideas to give you a head start!
2. Ever heard of “Elf on the Shelf”? It’s fun and creativity combined and kids love it. But the message? For the most part, it’s about getting into mischief. This can be kept within bounds or get way out of hand, but either way, what does it really have to do with preparing for Christmas? Why not turn it into something significant for Advent? Instead of hiding a sly elf that’s done mischief somewhere each day leading up to Christmas, why not turn the idea into “Magi on a Journey” or “Following Mary and Joseph”? You can hide a set of figurines (either the magi or Mary and Joseph) in different places around the house for your kids to find each day. When they find them, they can stop to think for a moment about what it was like for Mary and Joseph or the Magi to be on their journeys, they can say a special Advent prayer together, maybe have a special Advent treat, or that can be the moment when they stop and do the Advent calendar that day.
3. St. Nicholas’ feast day falls within Advent. It’s not Advent-oriented per se, but it’s a great opportunity to talk about the real meaning of Christmas, of charity and giving, and of what we’re preparing for. Make St. Nicholas’ story more real and meaningful for your kids with these family St. Nicholas Day activities!
4. The Advent Wreath. An “oldie but goodie”. There are 4 weeks in Advent, symbolized in the 4 candles of the Advent Wreath. Making the wreath can be a fun activity and add to your home’s Advent décor. USING the wreath during times of family prayer or reflection on a regular basis is even more important. It might not seem exciting, but you’ll probably be surprised at how much your kids enjoy lighting the candles and taking those moments to think and pray.
For more ways to bring Advent alive and make your home look, smell and sound like Advent, ready Making Advent a Game Changer.