Homemade, Mom Life


This time of the year is so special for our family.  Yes, there is the excitement from the kids about giving and receiving gifts.  But, we have been intentionally building anticipation throughout this month with our Advent tradition.

Six years ago, I was struck by the fact that our family could celebrate Advent.  It was a special part of our Sunday services, but I realized that it could become a personal form of worship for us.  I began the search for what that would look like for our family.  And I can tell you that every single Advent season has been so special ever since.  We love this family tradition that grows and changes each year.

Since I am an Advent fanatic, I thought that I would share some of the resources that we have enjoyed throughout the years.  I know that the calendar may say that it is “late” to start Advent, but I say “bah, humbug” to the naysayers.  You can start at any point with just a simple celebration of reading Scripture.  Or quick grab one of these resources and play catch-up for a little bit…your kids won’t mind!

♥The first Advent that we intentionally celebrated as a family, I incorporated a list of Scripture and fun Christmas activities into our days.  I purchased an Advent calendar kit at JoAnn’s and and filled all of the envelopes with slips of paper.  Each either listed a verse and discussion questions or it included a fun activity such as:

*Put on your pj’s and drive around looking at Christmas lights!

*Build a fort and watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”!

*Make cinnamon ornaments!  (Recipe here)

*Bake cookies and give them to neighbors and friends.

♥Over the course of four Christmases, we read through the Jotham’s Journey series.  My kids absolutely loved every single book!  There were some intense and exciting moments and every single day’s reading ended with a cliffhanger!  We loved that the characters were woven into all four books and the stories all overlapped.  Each day’s reading ended with a devotional thought and we lit candles on our Advent wreath.  It is important to read Jotham’s book first.  After that, the order doesn’t matter quite as much.  We did, however, read them in order…along with an Easter book that ties into the series!

♥One of our most memorable Advent resources is “Buck Denver asks Why Do We Call it Christmas?” DVD.  Talk about learning right along with the kids!  It was so interesting and totally captivated my kiddos…and me!  The icing on the cake was the free online resource, which accompanied the DVD and included discussion questions.  This resource really impacted our family the Christmas that we used it.  We now re-watch this DVD every Christmas! (I noticed that it is sold out on the website listed above, so check here for additional DVD’s.)

♥Focus on the Family provides a free Advent family resource every year.  We have enjoyed this option for quite a few years, but are not currently using the 2016 calendar.  However, the 2015 calendar was incredible!  We incorporated this one into our homeschool day and it led us into many great conversations.  It is still available online here, so go and check it out!

♥If you own The Jesus Storybook (and if you don’t…go get it!) there is a free reading plan online.

♥We learned about a Jesse tree through The Jesse Tree book.  The year that we read through this book, I purchased a small 12 inch tree and printed off free paper ornaments that can be found here.

♥This year, we are reading through Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.  My family is enjoying the daily readings during our morning family worship time.  We love the story of Jesus condensed into 25 stories that lead us each day to examine how we are living as God’s children.  This book has been leading us into really great conversations, which is no small feat for sleepy-eyed and messy hair children.  There is a resource on Ann’s website for free ornaments that coincide with each reading.  We are displaying these on their very own three foot Christmas tree; starting at the bottom of the tree, we are working our way up the top.

If you are already in the midst of utilizing an Advent resource or want to wait and start one next Christmas, I encourage you to put your Advent supplies in its own box.  I store this box separately in a location that I can easily access a week before Thanksgiving.  Some Advent resources start that early, and some don’t begin until December 1st.  Another idea that I implement is to purchase the resource way ahead of time {think now!} so that we are ready to hit the ground running when Advent begins the following year.

Let me know if you have suggestions of other resources!  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Merry Christmas, friends!



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