Countdown to Christmas: 21 Ways to Prepare for Advent

The holiday season always seems to come and go so fast, without giving us much time to reflect and enjoy. With Advent fast approaching, why not take some time to prepare for the season now—while also having fun with the family.

We’ve compiled a list 21 activities, projects, crafts and other ideas to help you prepare for the Advent season:

  1. 1.  Take inventory. From wrapping paper and bows to Advent décor and Christmas cards, take a look at what you have and determine what your needs are.


  1. 2.  Make a list of everyone you plan on sending a Christmas card to. (And if you’re really motivated, start writing them out!)


  1. 3.  Debbie Gaudino of the blog Saints365 says that the old adage of “failing to plan is planning to fail” is so true for the Advent season. She suggests selecting all the activities you want to participate in before the season starts. Planning out as much of your calendar in advance will help you organize all your other commitments and tasks. (Check out “Keeping Christ in Advent: 7 Ways to Prepare for a Peaceful December” for more of Debbie’s ideas.)


  1. 4.  Set up your Advent wreath (and make sure you have candles). If you don’t have a wreath, browse Leaflet Missal’s large selection of Advent wreaths.


  1. 5.  Learn or teach your family about the history of the Advent wreath. The wreath is probably one of the most recognizable Advent traditions.


  1. 6.  And then make an edible wreath! Catholic Icing has a simple example using store-bought doughnuts.


  1. 7.  Have a history lesson about the Jesse Tree.


  1. 8.  And then start your own Jesse Tree.


  1. 9.  Pull out your Advent calendar. If you don’t have one, you can get pre-filled calendars each year, you can invest in a keepsake calendar, or you can make your own.


  1. 10.  To shake things up, fill your Advent calendar with non-edible things. Chocolate or other candy is often used to fill Advent Calendars, but Mum’s Grapevine has a list of 20 unique, non-food items to use.


  1. 11.  Or fill your Advent calendar with daily activities for your families to do. Clutter Interrupted offers a number of fun activity suggestions such as making prayer sticks and recording the family singing Christmas carols.


  1. 12.  Make a manger with the kids. Catholic Sistas suggests using an old shoe box to get started.


  1. 13.  DIY your own Advent Christmas tree.


  1. 14.  Have the kids write letters to Baby Jesus. Catholic Sistas has an Advent Liturgical Kit you can download and it includes a letter template.


  1. 15.  Make a “Random Acts of Kindness” List. Thirty Handmade Days has free printables and all the fun details on how to pull it off.


  1. 16.  Make an Advent prayer ring. Jennifer of Catholic Inspired says this is an activity her family does every year. “Each evening we remove a link from the chain and say an extra prayer for that intention. The bonus to this activity is that the Advent Prayer Chain doubles as a countdown to Christmas!” (Check out Jennifer’s “Advent Prayer Chain & Coloring Activity” post to download a free printable.)


  1. 17.  Make an Advent playlist. Check out this YouTube playlist from ChristmasMusicForAll.


  1. 18.  Get a head start on holiday baking. Bake and freeze cookies and bars now. When the holidays arrive you’ll just have to thaw and serve.


  1. 19.  Start reading Christmas stories now. This is not only a fun activity, but it can also extend the season a bit. “24 Christmas Stories to Welcome Jesus” is a good one to pick up.


  1. 20.  Make a list of gifts you’re planning on giving. If you’re looking for ideas, our Christmas Gift List can give you some ideas. And if you can, get a jump on holiday shopping. Kendra Tierney of Catholic All Year says her family aims to get all shopping done before Advent starts so it leaves more time to make homemade gifts and crafts, as well as really enjoy what is to come. (Get more ideas from Kendra by checking out her post on how her family celebrates Advent.)


  1. 21.  Shop early. This can help eliminate stress and last minute trips to the mall. If you do a lot of shopping online, this also ensures you get your gifts in time for the big day.


The most important thing to do during the holiday season is to actually enjoy it! Hopefully all of these activities and tips will help you and your family do just that.

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