Advent activities for families—you either love them or hate them, right? While some moms are crafty, cute, and always on top of their Advent plans for the year (and if that’s you, I’m so glad!), I tend to be more on the well-intentioned but rather last-minute side. I want to do meaningful things, but planning is a struggle. Plus, budgeting the time and intention you need to celebrate Advent just makes me kinda overwhelmed.
With all the things happening during December—Christmas parties, school and church plays, recitals, seeing family, and alllllll the sweet goodies given and received—the crazy doesn’t really stop. To me, Advent can seem like just another thing to add to the checklist or make us late for bedtime . . . again. And honestly, it’s hard to find Advent activities that are fun, deep, AND manageable. Considering all this, is it really possible to find meaning in our Christmas preparations instead of just stress?
Advent Activities for Families: Finding a Meaningful Christmas Countdown
What’s the Point of Advent Anyway?
Though we often think of Advent as simply a “countdown to Christmas,” the origins of Advent are way deeper! The word “advent” literally refers to an anticipation of the coming or arrival of someone notable and important. Early on, Advent was a time of new year preparation that early Christians used to celebrate and look forward to Christ’s second coming! Eventually, though, Advent became specifically tied to the four weeks leading up to Christmas and celebrating the anticipation leading up to Jesus’ birth.
Finding Meaning in Advent Activities for Your Family
Despite the fact that Advent has always been connected to deep biblical truth, Advent activities for families seem to have lost much of their significance for us today. Even unbelievers pick up Advent calendars to incorporate into their holiday celebrations.
Of course, there’s no problem with chocolate, fun crafts, or excitement leading up to Christmas. But there can be a problem if the focus is all on us. The thing is that this can happen so easily before we even realize it. But Advent can’t be about us! We can’t save the world from sin. We can’t bring ourselves peace and joy and hope—no matter how many advent chocolates we eat and Christmas movies we watch. Unless it’s all about Jesus, Advent is as meaningless and empty as the boxes and wrapping paper littering the floor on Christmas day.
Instead of just celebrating Advent, let’s teach our kids the truth about its meaning. Let’s get deeper and actually talk about why we do what we do. Let’s turn our eyes toward the beauty of what Jesus did for us!
What to Look for When Choosing Advent Activities for Your Family
To show our kids the meaning of Advent, we have to start with truth! So many things, from nativity scenes to kids’ Bible storybooks to Christmas carols (yes, I’m serious), don’t actually give us an accurate description of what the Bible tells us about Jesus’ birth. Now, I’m not saying to throw out your nativity scene that includes wise men. And I’m definitely NOT saying you should quit listening to Christmas carols. These are still good things! But I challenge you—look for activities and countdowns that are rooted in and filled with Biblical truth.
If this sounds overwhelming, please know it doesn’t need to be! You don’t have to read a 45-minute sermon to have a truth-filled Advent activity. Even just one or two verses or one passage of Scripture is enough to point your family to the truth about Jesus AND encourage meaningful discussions. Don’t know what verses or passages to pick out? Well, hang around . . . we just might have what you’re looking for! 🙂
How do we know Advent activities for families are filled with truth? Easy—you’ll find Jesus at the center of EVERYTHING. Not us, not fluffy feelings, not watered-down Bible stories. In fact, if our Advent activities don’t center around Jesus, we’ve missed the point. Meaningful Advent activities will teach our kids the truth about why and how Jesus came to save us!
If you think about it, what does chocolate or lighting candles have to do with Jesus? Maybe they had candles in the “stable” in Bethlehem? Maybe the wise men brought Mary chocolate when they brought Jesus’ gifts? (KIDDING!) But think about it—in and of themselves, these things really don’t mean anything. The fact that they mean something deeper keeps us coming back to them. So instead of getting lost in the symbolism, we should choose Advent activities that will teach and directly remind our kids of Jesus!
Simple and Manageable
As much as Advent activities for families should be truth-filled and Christ-centered, they also need to be manageable. Unless you have some unusually focused kids, they won’t sit through a solemn 45-minute-long, deeply symbolic ritual every day leading up to Christmas. Our Advent activities won’t teach our kids if they’re struggling to stay focused!
Instead, pick an activity that you can complete in 15–20 minutes each morning or night. Maybe you can read a couple of verses and have your kids share or draw what they learn. Or you can try learning a new Christmas carol each week leading up to Christmas and talking about what the words mean. Advent calendars are awesome as long as we’re reminding our kids each day about why we count down to Christmas. Short, engaging activities like this without too much prep or cleanup will help YOU not get overwhelmed or give up halfway through, and it’ll help your kids stay focused too!
The Perfect Christmas Countdown and Advent Activities for Families
It’s hard to find advent activities or Christmas countdowns that check all the boxes! If you want pretty and engaging, it might be fluffy. If you want deep, it might be hard to keep your littles’ attention. That’s why we wrote Uncovering Mercies at the Manger, our 25-day Christmas countdown Bible study for kids!
Discover the why behind Christmas joy and hope by uncovering the mercies of God leading up to and at the manger. By setting aside just 15 minutes a day to study individually or as a family, you can learn the truth of why Jesus came to earth and discuss it together! With Primary, Junior, Youth, and Parent Guide levels, this study takes biblical truth, makes it manageable for each of your kids, and allows you to get involved too!
Our coordinating Christmas Countdown Cards are a beautiful reminder of truth and go right along with the study or can be used on their own! There are so many ways to use these cards—just pick what works best for you or come up with your own way!
Tips for Using Your Christmas Countdown Cards
- Hang them up in order with the numbers showing, and turn around one card each day to reveal the symbol and truth for that day.
- Hide the card for the day around the house somewhere and have your kids search for it. When it’s found, everyone can have a special treat to eat while you read the truth and verses aloud together.
- After you read each day’s card, hang them on your Christmas tree for extra decoration and a continual reminder as you get closer to Christmas.
- Have each child take turns reading the Scripture and card or explaining the symbols they see on it.
- Place each day’s card in a bag or box with goodies for each of your kids that go along with the theme of that day’s card!
However you decide to use them, our Christmas countdown study and cards will help you have a meaningful Christmas countdown with your family this year!