For centuries, Advent has been a religious and spiritual cornerstone of the holiday season, encouraging Christians to slow down, reflect, and meaningfully prepare for the Christmas celebration.
Over the years, many practices and cultures have influenced how we celebrate the Advent season—with four core symbols emerging and cementing themselves as seasonal musts: Advent Calendars, Advent Wreaths, Jesse Trees, and Nativity Scenes.
Today, there are numerous ways individuals and families alike can put their own spin on Advent traditions. So, if you’re wondering how you can bring one or more of these symbols of Advent to life this season, fear not. From Advent calendar filler ideas to kid-friendly crafts, below we encourage you to choose your own Advent-ure to bring meaning to your season.
Advent-ure #1: Advent Calendar Fun
Calendars have been part of the Advent tradition since the 19th century. After all, Advent is the season of anticipation, and Advent calendars heighten excitement as we count the days until Christmas. Here are some ideas to put your own stamp on the tradition.
DIY Your Own Advent Calendar
If you’re in the DIY spirit, why not carefully craft your own unique Advent calendar? In our post, 4 Fun Ways to Make Your Own Advent Calendar, we share some of our favorite ideas, including these gorgeous calendars below.
If you’re not much of a crafter, you can purchase a one-time calendar filled with little chocolates, or find a keepsake that you can stuff with treats for years to come.
Make It a Family Affair
Of course, while Advent calendars make a beautiful statement piece in your home, the real excitement comes from the treasures within.
Bring Your Family Closer
If you want to stuff your Advent calendar with treats that bring your family closer during the season, consider sharing your fondest memories of each family member or coupons for quality time.
There’s no shortage of available sweets throughout the holiday season, so if you want to minimize your kids’ sugar intake, consider stuffing your Advent calendar with sugar-free items such as bubbles, arts and crafts supplies, stickers, socks, or magnets.
Remember, Advent Calendars Are for Adults, Too
If your family doesn’t include little ones yet, don’t let that stop you from taking part in the tradition. Advent calendars can be for grown-ups, too. A gift card to a favorite restaurant, notes of appreciation, or your partner’s favorite sweet treat are all practical and slightly indulgent ideas.
Advent-ure #2: Jesse Tree Tutorials
The Jesse Tree was traditionally used in medieval times to help teach the Bible to those who couldn’t read. Today, Jesse Trees are a fun, interactive way to teach your children the story of Christ.
Photo Credit: Keeping Life Creative
If you’re looking for more DIY ideas, check out our 6 Easy DIY Jesse Tree Tutorials for the Whole Family post. If you’re looking for a ready-to-assemble Jesse Tree, we have you covered below—there’s even an add-on for the 12 Days of Christmas.
Advent-ure #3: Advent Wreath Techniques
The Advent wreath is considered by some to be one of the first traditional symbols of Advent. Wreaths are traditionally made with branches of evergreen trees, with the evergreens representing eternal life or immortality for pagans and Christians, alike. In addition, Advent wreaths are adorned with four candles—one for each week of the Advent season—which helps onlookers reflect and measure progression toward Christ’s birth.
How can you bring this tradition to life this season? Our DIY Advent Wreath Ideas to Add Seasonal Fun & Flair to Your Home post offers craft ideas for the kids, as well as unique ideas for Advent wreaths as part of your home decor. One of our favorite ideas is this paper Advent wreath craft from Catholic Inspired as it is an easy craft for any child.
The best part? All you need is colored construction paper, scissors, glue, tape or staples, and an orange marker or crayon.
Photo Credit: Catholic Inspired
If you want to add an Advent wreath to your home that isn’t made of construction paper, here are some ideas for affordable and beautiful wreaths.
Advent-ure #4: Nativity Scenes
As they say, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and the Nativity Scene pays homage to the evening He came into our world. And we believe this iconic symbol of Advent and Christmas can be a perfect teaching tool for kids.
That’s why we put together this piece: 7 Easy, Fun, & Incredibly Adorable Nativity Scene Crafts for Kids.
One of our favorite ideas is this low-cost, highly artistic nativity tutorial from The Deliberate Mom. The only materials you need are an assortment of rocks, acrylic paint, paint brushes, and a protective sealant spray.
Photo Credit: The Deliberate Mom
If you’re looking for a staple, keepsake nativity scene that can symbolize and teach His birth story for many Advents to come, here are some of our favorite products.