Homemade, Mom Life

Family Advent Traditions and Ideas

Can you believe that it’s the holiday season already?  This past year has flown by.  As the November days creep closer and closer to Thanksgiving, my Advent radar goes on high alert.  That sounds a little dramatic, but really…I love the Advent season.  And my mission every year is to make it a memorable one for my family.  That doesn’t mean anything extravagant or expensive though.  Advent can simply be a time where we slow down and contemplate daily upon the reason for our Christmas season: Jesus!

Last year, I wrote a blog post and shared the resources that we had used in previous years.  {I was a little behind the game on writing it, but we’re going to chalk that up to being a blogging newbie.}  That post is copied for you below and I have also listed {at the very bottom} our plans for this upcoming Advent season.  I am so excited to walk through these days of Advent in tender anticipation with my family.  And I hope that you find a resource that will spur you and your family towards savoring every moment.

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Originally posted in December 2016 {and slightly edited}:

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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 at home.  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.

1. The first Advent that we intentionally celebrated as a family, I incorporated a list of Scripture reading 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.

There are some very creative ideas on how to display Advent calendars over on Pinterest.  But, if you would like to purchase a pre-made one, you can view some here, here, and here.

2. 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 same 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!

3. 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! (This DVD tends to sell out each year, so check here for additional DVD’s.)

4. Focus on the Family provides a free Advent family resource every year.  We have enjoyed this option for quite a few years.  You can access a few years of free Advent calendars here: 2017 calendar,  2016 calendar, and the 2015 calendar.  {We especially loved the 2015 calendar incorporated it into our homeschool day.  It led us into many great conversations.}

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

6. 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.

7. This year {2016}, 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-haired 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.

My biggest piece of planning advice: place your Advent supplies in i’ts 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 so that we are ready to hit the ground running when Advent begins the following year.

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Let’s jump to this year now!  After looking through many resources and considering the ages of my children, I realized something: we have done all of the really great ones already.  I don’t mean that to sound arrogant.  It’s just that I like our Advent devotions to have some “meat and potatoes” to them.  A few sentences and a pre-written prayer isn’t enough for us.  I want our morning family worship to have such an affect on us that it is on our minds throughout the day.  If that is what you are longing for as well, dive into one of the resources listed above.  And if you have specific questions, leave them in the comments below.

Now on to what we plan to use this year.  It’s been a busy one, friends, and I only recently began researching a resource for this year.  Could you cross your fingers with me that this one is the blessing that I think it has the potential to be?  Thanks, friend!  ♥

8. Prepare Him Room by Marty Machowski

I would love to hear your plans for celebrating Advent.  And if you have any questions, please please, ask them!  ♥

xo,

Leigh

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