Family Advent traditions

November 29, 2012

Advent begins this Sunday, and my thoughts turn to how we might observe the season in our home this year. Our daughter is old enough now to understand that Christmas is near, and probably old enough to appreciate simple activities whereby we “get ready”.

A couple of years ago we did the Jesse Tree devotions, and I am thinking of trying that again. If we had a tree (which we don’t, yet) and some ornaments we could perhaps hang an ornament each day after the prescribed Scripture reading.

I know many families put out their nativity set, sans the baby Jesus, and have the wise men with their camels travel through the house during Advent, arriving finally at Christmas (or at Epiphany). This would be great, if we had a nativity set.

We have an Advent calendar, but it is one of those “Christmas is Santa and skating” affairs with chocolate treats behind the flaps. We’ll use it — our daughter, who is very keen on chocolate, asks every day if it is Advent-time (‘Ahwentyme’) yet — but this is not exactly what I am wanting.

We’ll have an Advent wreath, but the candles will probably only be lit for a brief interval on Sundays; open flames are perilous with these youngsters.


I am wondering what other families do to observe the season. If you have any suggestions for things you do, or things you’ve heard of, I would love to hear about them.

16 Responses to “Family Advent traditions”

  1. Adam Hincks Says:

    The advent wreath is great, especially if there can be a reading or prayer with it (of age-appropriate length!). In my family growing up, we would recite John 8:12 together as the candles were lit. A small ceremony but memorable. Afraid I don’t have any other suggestions right now though!

    (Of course, I suppose it’s never too early to teach your children to chant the O Antiphons.)

    • cburrell Says:

      The O Antiphons would be a stretch right now (though our little one could hit certain notes three or four octaves above me, which would surely be spectacular). I like the idea of a simple candle-lighting ceremony; we’ll try it.

  2. Janet Says:

    I like to make a paper chain for the days of Advent. It’s easy for little kids to help with. I make the chains out of paper that matches the liturgical color of the day. I also put the names of the Saints & feasts of the day on the chain, and I attach it to a star for Christmas day. There are all sorts of options for what you put on the chain. It could be pictures of characters from the nativity scene, scriptures, stickers, etc.

    I’m trying to get a scan of a book we liked but which is out of print. If I can, I’ll send it to you.

    And we had a special blessing for meals to use, too. I’ll look for it.


  3. Christina Says:

    Follow the link to this google search and click on the hits for Rambling Renovators. She has done some really sweet advent activities for her 3yr/o daughter and you can probably add a bit more of a religious element to her ideas.

    Another idea is to find an advent calendar like this one:
    They also had similar ones at Loblaws last year. Fill the drawers with little story scrolls or notes about Jesus and an activity – ie. let’s put blankets on our heads and pretend to be the 3 wise men. Let’s ride daddy’s back and pretend to be Mary on the donkey. Let’s pretend to be the star of Bethlehem and stretch out our arms like a big star. etc.


  4. Christina Says:

    Oops, forgot link to google search:…503.4339.0.4644.…1c.1.PoTv0rbH14U&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=75359422d6306633&bpcl=39314241&biw=1920&bih=1002

    Typed in “Rambling Renovators Advent” and saw the links I was looking for.

    • cburrell Says:

      Christina, I really like the idea of having simple activities for each day, as you suggest. Now I just need about 20 more suggestions. Thanks.

      That Rambling Renovators blog makes me sick … with envy. Overlook for a moment that I have no talent whatsoever for decorating. How do people have time to do all of that?! And not only to do it, but to take pictures, and then to put the pictures on a computer, and then blog about it. It’s pretty discouraging for me to see such things. (I wish I could show you what we had for supper tonight! Heavens! We are holding things together with shoestring and gum.)

      • Adam Hincks Says:

        We are holding things together with shoestring and gum.

        Sounds like a good experiment, but you’ll want some duct tape too.

      • Christina Says:

        lol at Adam’s comment. Jen at Rambling Renovators has, I think, a home based business and the blog is part of how she earns a living. If I’ve got my facts correct, it might be how things get done at her place. She also goes room by room and it can take them a long time to conquer a room. What you don’t see are the messes in other rooms waiting to be dealt with. call any time for activity suggestions….

  5. Christina A. Says:

    I buckled and got the wooden advent calendar shaped like a Christmas tree at the supermarket on the weekend. Bought enough Hershey’s kisses to fill each of the 24 compartments. Let’s face it, chocolate still works better than scripture or philosophy to get us thinking about how we love Jesus by listening to our parents. Perfect preparation for Christmas when you’re just 3, I think. 🙂

    • Janet Says:

      Christina, One thing I’ve though about with that kind of Advent calendar is to get for the last week or so, along with the kisses, a tiny nativity set, and take out one piece each day and set it up so that the kids can learn about the nativity by seeing it come together day by day.


  6. cburrell Says:

    “…how we love Jesus by listening to our parents”. That is perfect.

    Our little one — well, our mid-sized one — wakes up every morning now with an announcement of which day of Advent it is and which door of the Advent calendar should be opened right away!

    • Christina A. Says:

      Yours is a bit ahead of our small who can recognize numbers, and knows what day of the week it is, but can’t recall what number we’re on today.

      Janet, I like the nativity set idea. There was even a cute wooden one that went on the fridge being sold at the grocery store next to the Advent calendar tree thing I bought. It was like $6 and probably not a bad idea – Craig, I did think of you when I passed it in the aisle.

      The “Santa and Baby Jesus have x-ray vision and are watching your every move” is inducing remarkably improved behaviour at our house.”

      I’m gonna be up a certain poopie creek once we get to January though!

  7. Richard Says:

    Children may not understand seasonal traditions but they sure love the excitement that you show and that gets them excited. We create great memories by our attachment to Christmas and when they grow up there will always be a special place these wonderful times. Family Values

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: