Make Advent Simple and Meaningful

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Moms tend to either love or hate the idea of keeping an Advent tradition. 

I love it. But I see the dizzying amounts of products and ideas out there. I understand why many moms dread it! Who has the energy to add yet ANOTHER ongoing commitment to our already overwhelming December schedules?

I totally get that. I used to approach Advent with an “all or nothing” mentality that left me burnt out by mid December. But once I gave careful consideration to WHY our family embraces it, I experienced a paradigm shift.

Advent is not and should not be a system that saddles my soul with excessive burdens and needless expectations. It is an invitation to regularly pause from the holiday stress and embrace the joy of anticipation with my family.

4 Ways to Enjoy a Simple Advent Season

Consider these ideas for incorporating simple, but meaningful advent activities to your family’s holiday traditions:

  1. Make an “Advent Basket” When my two old older kids were toddlers and preschoolers, I was perpetually in “survival mode”. Any Advent activities had to be easy and flexible. I filled a large wicker basket with Christmas toys, books, and activities we already had. In the evenings, we gathered around our Christmas tree with our basket and enjoyed time together before bed. Our basket held a blanket, our collection of Christmas picture books, our Little People Nativity Set, and some holiday-themed plush toys. We read a few of the books while snuggling with the blanket and plush toys. Then we’d sing some carols and play with our Nativity scene. The kids LOVED it! Create your own with whatever you have on hand, tailoring the concept to what your family enjoys most.
  2. Weekly Advent Activity If a daily Advent activity is not realistic for your family, consider a weekly approach. Choose day of the week throughout December.  Protect that time each week and make some memories together. Ask your kids for ideas of things they really want to do as Christmas approaches. These ideas could be: baking cookies, driving around to look at Christmas lights, or watching a holiday-themed movie. Their input could reveal what is and isn’t important to them, and help you plan your weekly activities accordingly.
  3. Printable Advent Calendars If you want to try a daily Christmas countdown, but need something quick, easy and affordable, there are lots of printable advent calendars available online! I looked on Etsy and found this Activities and Acts of Kindness printable or this coloring countdown calendar.
  4. Reverse Advent Calendar Celebrate the holiday season and instill a heart for helping those in need by following the prompts on this Reverse Advent Calendar. Start with a large, empty cardboard box, and throughout the month add a nonperishable food item everyday. On Christmas Eve, donate the items to the Food Bank of Iowa or any other local non-profit organization that accepts food donations.

Advent traditions do not need to break the bank or your brain. I hope these ideas encourage you to try something simple and meaningful this year. Tweak these ideas any way you’d like or let them inspire your own original ideas!

Do you celebrate Advent? 

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