Advent is almost here! If you’re still deciding on what kind of traditions or activities you would like to incorporate this year, I’ve created a list of Advent ideas for you to choose from. If you’ve been Catholic for awhile, you know that one of the beautiful things about our Catholic is how many devotions and traditions we have. Unfortunately, it can also be a little overwhelming!
If you’ve been on Pinterest lately, you’ve probably seen a plethora of Advent ideas. That’s why I decided to narrow it down to the most simple and beautiful devotions. Pick one or two that suits your family. Remember, the whole point of advent is to bring you closer to God, not to stress or spend a lot of money! Trying new things is meant to be fun. If you find a new tradition, that’s great! But don’t be afraid to drop things that don’t work for you or your family. At the bottom of the page you can print off my checklist. Read on for ideas you can start on now:
1. Pray the St. Andrew Prayer — Also known as the Christmas Novena, this prayer is said 15 times a day from November 30 to Christmas. Prayer below with free printable.
2. Read the Gospel of Luke — Luke has 24 chapters, so this is the perfect way to get closer to Christ. Simply read one chapter a day from December 1 until Christmas Eve.
3. Put up a Jesse Tree — The Jesse tree is a popular tradition, and it’s one of our family’s favorite ones. It walks you through the lineage of Jesus. You’ll read a passage from the Old Testament every day leading up to the birth of Jesus on Christmas. To do this, get a small table top tree. (We got ours from Michael’s.) Each day, you’ll put a small ornament on tree. This Jesse Tree devotions we use comes with a specific set of ornaments, each corresponding to a reading. You can purchase them or make your own. Holy Heroes has a Jesse Tree great set made completely of stickers! It’s fun for kids, and a great way to try it out before buying a tree and wooden ornaments.
4. Light an Advent Wreath — The Advent wreath is one of the oldest and most popular Advent traditions. You may already be familiar with the pink and purple candles associated with this time of year. We get out our advent wreath every year and light the candles every night at dinner. All you need is one wreath and a set of 4 candles: 3 purple and 1 pink. Many sets are sold together. Below are some of my favorites click here.
5. The Giving Manger — This is such a sweet tradition for little kids! Use a small, empty wooden manger and keep straw handy. Whenever one of your children does a good deed, let them put a piece of straw in the manger. This shows them that their good works create a sweet place for Jesus to rest. You can buy a wooden, keepsake set or you can make your own manger and use yellow yarn for the straw. My mother did this for us as kids, and it is one of my favorite memories! Here is the one we use.
6. Celebrate the Feast Day of St. Nicolas — Observed on December 6, the feast day of St. Nicolas is usually celebrated by having children set their shoes out the night before. Parents fill their shoes with chocolate, coins, and oranges.
7. Celebrate the Feast Day of St. Lucy — St. Lucy is traditionally associated with light, so we celebrate by making hot chocolate and going to see Christmas lights! I have a video on traditional St. Lucy celebrations you can watch here.
8. Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe — I’ve been to Guadalupe to see the tilma, so Our Lady of Guadalupe has a special place in my heart. I’m looking forward to incorporating new traditions for her feat day this year. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is also a great day to celebrate.
9. Go to Confession — The Church only asks that we go to confession once a year, but it’s beneficial to go more often. Advent and Lent are excellent times to go! Here is my guide on how to go to confession.
10. Offer Something Up — Advent has historically been like a mini Lent, a time when we wait in darkness for the coming of Christ. Traditionally, Catholics would offer something up or fast. (Not to the same extent as Lent, but something small is appropriate.)
11. Place Mary on the Mantle — Have you ever heard of Elf on the Shelf? Mary on the Mantle is the same idea, but for Catholics! These sell out quickly, so be sure to grab them fast Here is the one I have!
Below are ALL the different Catholic Devotions from above feel free to print them off HERE and go through them with your family!
Here is my gift guide for children.