To be honest, Advent has not been a very spiritual experience in the past few years, as I didn’t do much preparation and it always seems to fly by. As much as I love gift-giving,Â I’ve been guilty of getting caught up in the holiday season consumerism. If I recall correctly I may have had a little bit of a meltdown last Christmas morning, because I was overcome by the stress and expense of “preparing” for ChristmasÂ – which is not really in the spirit of Advent. So this year we are going to keep the gift-giving simple and try to focus more so on the spiritually of Advent.
For my own Advent preparation Im cutting WAY down on social media, and carving out time in my day to journal, reflect, and pray. My dream journal is the Blessed is She Devotional, hoping to splurge on it next year, but for now, Iâ€™ll be signing up for Dynamic Catholic and doing some of my own prayer and meditation.
Keeping it simple. Planning family dinners every Sunday, followed by scripture and lighting of the Advent Candles.
I’ve also planned our own little Advent calendar which consists of a scriptural passage and an activity for each day. Some of the activities are more extravagant than others, but most of them are fairly simple. I wanted to try to incorporate Almsgiving, small sacrifices, feast days, and while including some cultural traditions. The main purpose for us doing this Advent Calendar is to prepare for the coming of Christ and while enjoying the company of each other as a family.
Now some of the activities I have listed are relevant to where we live and what is happening in our community. I encourage you to look up what’s happening locally and take part!
With the help ofÂ $6 Christmas craft paper from Michaels and clothespins, I was able to create a little DIY Advent Calendar.
DIY Advent Calendar Materials:
In each envelope, there is a scripture verse and an activity for the day. For Scripture, I referred to the following sheet from the Happy Home Fairy.
Day 1: Decorate for Christmas
Set up the manger scene, lights, Advent Calendar, and Advent wreath
Day 2: Christmas Book Exchange
Pick out a Christmas book for your neighbor to borrow. (Our neighbor did this for Halloween, and I thought it was a cute idea)
Day 3: Advent Discussion
What gift are we going to give Jesus this year (ex: small sacrifices for Baby Jesus – prayers, alms, sacrifices)
Day 4:Â Attend Library Christmas Storytime
Day 5:Â Celebrate St. Nicholas Day
Who is St. Nicholas lesson and coloring, set shoes out for â€œgoldâ€ (chocolate coins)
Day 6:Â Watch a Christmas Movie â€œThe Starâ€
Day 7:Â Make a gratitude list – Christmas Parade
Day 8:Â Hot Chocolate and listen to Christmas Music
Day 9: Advent coloring sheet and gingerbread playdough
Day 10: Make Christmas ornaments
I picked up $1 wood ornaments from Michaels, and we will just be painting them (:
Day 11: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Mass and conchas at the Rose Garden
Day 12: Help someone in need.
(We will be donating toys for other children this Christmas)
Day 13: Christmas baking
My favorite resource for baking recipes is Half Baked Harvest, and she has some great Holiday recipes.
Day 14: Watch or go see the Nutcracker.
My girls are not quite old enough yet to go see a live show, but we will be watching from the comfort of our home.
Day 15: Morning Mass and IHOP The Grinch Pancakes
Day 16: Baby Jesus Cradle Craft
Day 17: Start writing Christmas Cards.
Day 18: Visit the Reindeer at the Zoo.
Day 19: Make a Gingerbread House.
Day 20: Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
Day 21: Go to an Advent Night Market.
Day 22: Do an Act of Kindness.
Day 23: Make Christmas Cookies.
Day 24: Read Christmas books, listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas Movies – RELAX.
We usually do Christmas Vigil Mass and spend Christmas Eve with Andrewâ€™s family and then we go to my side of the family for Christmas day(:
Day 25: Enjoy Christmas Day!
Best of luck to all of you during this crazy, busy, wonderful season!