Updated: Nov 7, 2021
Have you ever wondered how you can bring more Christ into your Christmas celebrations?
Maybe you are a person who isn't comfortable with some of the cultural celebrations?
Leeann Reynolds and I have an answer for you! We have done the research so you don't have to. We have found books, programs, and lists that can either provide a packaged Advent program or help you create the Advent plan that is best for your family.
We understand that there are many great books to help you focus on Advent during your personal Bible study time. Maybe some day in the future we will make a list of those. However, this list is specifically for families. We wanted to find resources that would help families engage with Christ in a deeper way throughout the Christmas season. So here are the guidelines we kept in mind as we did our research:
Involves the whole family
Focuses on Christ (but still may involve cultural celebrations)
Resources for various ages
Differing levels of preparation
Includes various activities such as discussion, reading, service projects, art projects, etc.
Things that looked fun!
We were pleasantly surprised to find so many amazing resources! We understand that this is far from a comprehensive list, but we included our personal favorities. We hope you will find one that you love and helps your family truly celebrate this Advent season.
Here is the List of Resources (click on the name to skip to the description):
A list of 30 FUN and CREATIVE activities for you to do as a family this Advent season! These were some of our favorite suggestions we found as we did our research mixed in with our own favorite family traditions.
You can use this FREE DOWNLOAD however you wish. To help you organize your family's Advent plan, we have created two calendars for you. One calendar is empty so you can fill it in with your top 25 activities. The second is filled out with suggested activities for each day, along with the candle themes and verses to be read on Sunday evenings.
This calendar and list will be sure to help keep your family excited and engaged this Advent season!
Age: ALL! You choose the activities that best fit your family
Prep: Minimal if you use our completed calendar, a bit more if you choose to fill the blank calendar)
Unwrap the greatest Gift with your family this Advent season! With vivid, full-color illustrations, downloadable ornaments, and moving scenes from the Bible, this book is a gift your whole family can experience each day leading up to Christmas.
Person by person, story by story, retrace the lineage of Jesus. Fall in love with Him all over again as you experience God’s plan of salvation for us―from the Garden of Eden to the manger and beyond. Based on the overwhelming success of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together.
Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage, engage with a specially written devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme. Ornaments for the Jesse Tree can be made, printed or bought. (links below)
Cost: $13.89 + Your choice for ornaments (Varies from Free to $50)
Age: Any (Maybe more on the younger side)
Add this beloved heirloom-quality Nativity Garland to your holiday collection! Countdown to Christmas Day with this beautiful artist-created set featuring heartfelt hand-lettered scripture and gorgeous original artwork in distinctive Casey Hilty style. This new tradition will quickly become a family favorite as the story of Jesus' birth unfolds throughout the holiday season this year and for years to come.
Use the provided string and clips to hang the cards (wreath-side out) on or before December 12th. Starting December 13th, turn one card over each day to reveal a new character, object, or place in the Nativity. Read the verses out loud and find them in the Bible to read more about Jesus’ birth. On Christmas Day, enjoy the entire panoramic of Bethlehem and the land beyond.
Cost: $39.99 (Use coupon code COURTNEYPEPPERMINT for $5 off)
Age: Any Age
Prep: None, just hang on a mantle or wall and then flip the cards
The idea is simple. Each day there is a small slip of paper with a Bible reading.
Wrapping paper is glued on the back and then cut out the strips. Create a paper chain and hang it from the tree to serve as a countdown.
This idea can be combined with a fun Advent activity from our Advent Activity List to create a full Advent experience each night.
Leeann created a chain for her family and this is how cute it turned out!
Find instructions on the Not Consumed Blog
Age: Any because you get to choose what else you do with the scripture reading each night
Prep: Minimal, some prep required but Leeann said creating the chain was a fun activity to do WITH her kids.
Family Advent Devotional is the brand new Advent devotional from Matt and Lauren Chandler from Lifeway.com. Each week includes a video to be viewed on Sunday that introduces the weeks theme and then daily devotions for each day. The book is devided into four weeks that focus on the themes of home, peace, love, and joy. Daily devotions include a verse, a quick devotional thought, discussion questions, and a prayer prompt.
I love that each day has questions at two different levels, children and teens or adults. So this devotional can be done in a home of younger children, older children, or mixed ages.
The book ends with family activity suggestions for each week. It includes a hymn to sing throughout the week and ways you can serve your community as well as each other.
"Human beings are captivated by stories because we are created to live in a story—the Christian story. But given our bent toward sin, we often find ourselves caught up in the false stories of our culture. Entering into the Christian season of Advent helps to reorient our hearts and minds away from the false stories of the world. This Advent, reflect on and celebrate the story of Jesus’ birth as a family through this video-enhanced 25-day devotional."
Cost: $12.99 + shipping
Christ Centered Advent for Preschoolers is of course focused on preschoolers. This program is located on the Tales of Beauty for Ashes blog. Each day you will do a craft, service project, family acivity, and then end they with a Scripture. There is a theme for each day and the focus of these activities is to provide "a special time for [you] to talk about how the word and the scripture tie in to the overall story of the Gospel and Jesus’ birth."
This programs includes many tactile activities and children's books. However, like any other resource found on this page, it can be adjusted to fit your families needs and time limits. "Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you have to do everything. If it seems overwhelming, pick a few things to do each day. Or just choose your favorites." Remember, this is about having fun, not about adding one more thing to your TO DO list.
Cost: Free (Then you will need to purchase any supplies you don't have)
Prep: High (I feel this could also be used as a part of a preschool homeschool curriculum)
Advent Family Devotions is a free downloadable book from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Wonderfully written with the whole family in mind, each day includes a devotional reading, discussion questions, and a prayer prompt. What I love about this no frills book is that ut can be used for children of all ages. Each discussion question has been written at three levels (child, older child, teenager). Therefore, this resource is perfect for those that have older children or that have children of different levels.
This book includes only the family devotions. If you would like to incorporate Advent activities, it would pair very well with our free Journey of Ruth Advent Activity List.
The book can be downloaded and printed or viewed as a digital flip book.
Age: All (There are Discussion questions for all ages)
This study from The Purposeful Mom is a multifaceted program to aid families in celebrating the Advent season. Comfort and Joy includes 4 weeks (28 days) of study materials to cover the themes of Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherds, and Angels. Activities include ornaments for a Jesse Tree, crafts, service project ideas, and recipes
This fully printable program was created to:
To connect the truths of Jesus’ birth with our lives today, showing our kids that Scripture is always relevant, useful and life-changing.
To help our kids personalize the story of Jesus’ birth.
To help us understand why Advent can prepare our hearts for Christmas and that it’s more than just a “countdown to December 25”.
To give your family opportunities make memories and create traditions.
To provide a rich Advent celebration, even on the busiest days!
Age: 3-12 years old
Prep: Medium, The amount of preparation would depend on what parts of the program you decide to use.
I love this description from the Truth in the Tinsel website: "Truth in the Tinsel includes detailed supply lists, links to Scriptures, simple craft tutorials, step-by-step talking points, craft templates and a fun paper chain countdown. This ebook will give you everything you need (besides a few basic craft supplies!) to walk your kids through the entire Christmas story from the Bible–beginning with prophecy in Isaiah, through the stories in the Gospels all the way to Jesus’ ultimate goal for coming to earth."
I have heard from many of my homeschool friends that they have used this as a suppliment in their homeschool curriculum. This can be used in a home, a classroom, or as a Sunday school curriculum.
Cost: $9.99 + craft supplies
Age: Young Children
In our research we found a few smaller ideas that were too fun not to mention but didn't offer a full Advent experience for your family.
This cute idea is much like the Elf on the Shelf tradition. However, instead of your kids following the antics of one of Santa's elves, they have to watch out for those tricky Wisemen as they travel through your house to find Jesus in the Manger.
Wrapped Christmas Books Advent Calendar
Wrap up any Christmas books that you have in your house. Each night have the kids grab one from the pile and then read it as a family. You don't need new books, you can use the books your already have. Your kids will be pleasantly surprised as they unwrap the books, even if they have read it a million times. Start with the amount of books you have now and then add a few new ones each year. I put our Christmas books away with our decorations so that our books seem "new" to our kids every year.
Photo Credit- https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/book-advent-calendar/
Christmas Card Prayer Pile
We all receive so many beautiful Christmas cards throughout the season. Instead of simply tossing them on December 26th, place them in a pile in the room where you meet as a family to pray. Choose one card a day and pray for that family. It will help kids focus their prayers on others and have a visual representation of the person they are praying for.
This would be a great activity for your family or for older kids (ages 8-15) hoping to have a Christmas party with their friends. A one night activity that can bring Christ to the center of a fun celebration for all.
May your Advent season be a blessing to you, your family, and those around you. We pray that you and your family will be reminded of the true reason we celebrate during the Christmas season. We leave you with a verse from Deuteronomy that reminds us of why discipleship in our homes is so critically important.