Advent is a special season for any Christian, and for many it’s the pinnacle of their Christmas celebrations. To help you commemorate the days of Advent dedicated to celebrating Jesus and preparing for Christmas Day, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the Advent season. Whether you’re new to Catholicism, want to teach your children about the meaning of Advent, or hope to add new Advent celebrations, we have the details you need.
The Basics of Advent: The Season of Anticipation
From the history behind the days leading up to Christmas to ideas for Advent gifts you can bestow upon your loved ones, we’ll walk you through the basics of the season.
The traditions of Advent focus on the important symbols, themes, and gifts we use to prepare for the birth of Christ. For example, one important symbol of the Advent season is the color violet, not the red and green you might see at your local Hallmark store. The traditional themes of Advent also help us prepare for His coming with themes of hope, preparation and more.
Symbols of Advent
There are many Advent symbols you can use throughout your home to help remind your family of the meaning of Advent. Wreaths and candles are some of the most commonly used symbols of Advent representing eternal life. The candles are also used to help us count down the days until His birth, with a candle being lit each Sunday during the four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas. Other symbols include nativity sets, Jesse trees, and Advent calendars.
History of Advent
Originally a period of fasting before baptisms, Advent has changed a great deal since then. Somewhere during the 6th Century is when the meaning of Advent shifted to preparation for Christ’s wondrous birth. Advent has since evolved into a celebration that takes place in the Church as well as the home. Today, Advent begins on the Sunday nearest St. Andrew’s feast day on Nov. 30 and lasts up until Dec. 25th, the day of His birth.
How to Celebrate Advent
A traditional Advent is celebrated in homes with several ways to mark the season. For starters, creating your own Advent wreath and candle set is a great way to celebrate the Advent season. Another way to measure the progress of Advent, is to celebrate each Sunday with a special meal that includes lighting an Advent candle, reading from scripture, and prayer. In addition to Sunday dinners and candle wreaths, gift giving and advent calendars are other ways to prepare for His birth.
Each week of Advent has a unique theme to help us reflect on God and recognize Christ’s astonishing birth. From hope to love, each week helps build anticipation and excitement for His birth and offer thought-provoking sermons. These themes should be reflected in your prayers and scripture readings. And if you have one in your home, you can decorate your Jesse tree each week with unique ornaments that fit the weekly themes of Advent.
Advent Quotes, Prayers and Bible Verses
Each day of Advent is a perfect day for prayer and reflection on Christ’s teachings. To draw inspiration from Christ’s miraculous birth and life, it’s helpful to recite and contemplate popular Advent quotes, prayers, and verses bringing us closer to God and to Christ. One of our favorite verses is:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, so that in the power of the Holy Spirit you may be rich in hope.” – Romans 15:13
Gifts for Advent
Gift giving is an Advent tradition to help countdown the days to Christmas and also reflect on the meaning of the holiday. Some ideas for Advent gifts are advent calendars, nativity sets, prayer books, and music. But our favorite gift for Advent is the 15-bead St. Andrew Christmas Novena Chaplet, to aid in your prayers. Find the perfect gifts for your family, friends, and children with our selection of Advent gifts.
Anticipating Christ’s Arrival With Advent Calendars
Advent calendars are one of the most iconic Advent symbols, providing us with a daily reminder of Christ’s birth and offering a fun way to commemorate each day of the season with our loved ones. Below we offer several gift or treat ideas to honor each day of Advent with your family.
Advent Calendar Ideas for Grown Ups
If you don’t have children in your household, there are still many ways for you to experience the joy of counting down the days to Christmas with an Advent calendar. Our favorite Advent calendar ideas for adults are coupons, notes of appreciation, socks, and more. Or if you want to celebrate Advent with your furry companion, you can mark each day with a treat for your pet.
Advent Calendar Ideas for Families
From ornaments to chocolate, there are endless ideas of what you can do to fill an Advent calendar or mark each day we get closer to His birth. Our favorite kid-friendly Advent calendar ideas are stickers, legos, and craft supplies just to name a few.
Sugar-Free Advent Calendar Ideas
Chocolate and other sugar-filled treats are popular fillers for Advent calendars, but what if you don’t want to give your child a cavity? To avoid a visit to your child’s dentist over the Christmas season, we recommend using creative, sugar-free advent calendar ideas instead. For example, finger puppets, crayons, and stuffed animals make great little gifts for toddlers. For older children, try making each night an activity or giving music, books, or magnets.
Make Your Own Advent Calendar
If you don’t want to make another purchase this Christmas season, or want to do a fun craft with your family and friends, it’s very easy to make your own Advent calendar. One way you can make your own Advent calendar is to take 25 envelopes and hang them up on a dedicated wall, string, or board. Just make sure to write numbers on each envelope to mark the days, and place fun notes or treats inside to help celebrate.
Do You Have Everything You Need for This Year’s Advent?
There you have it: everything you need to know to become closer to God and to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, this Advent season. If you need a gift for a loved one this Advent season, view our wide selection of Advent gifts including candles, wreaths, calendars, and more.