If you've searched for “real story of Christmas” traditions – or jealously scrolled your friends' social media posts – chances are you've come across the term “Advent Celebration.” (Unless, of course, you've been celebrating it for years, in which case you are probably light years ahead and may skip to the end of today's post. 🙂 ) If you're like me, you heard about Advent celebrations, thought it sounded meaningful and beautiful, and put it where you put all the other meaningful and beautiful things that enter your dirt-bomb-filled, potty-training, whine-wrangling life: out of the way, on the (proverbial) shelf.
You don't have to leave it there, anymore.
If this un-”crafty”, disorganized, foam-sword besieged mama figured how to celebrate Advent simply and meaningfully, you can, too.
Do I need fancy equipment? While an Advent wreath is considered “traditional” and certainly beautiful, you absolutely do not “need” to purchase one to have a meaningful Advent. I would recommend, if you have $6 to spare and a Dollar Tree nearby (or can borrow from a candle-loving friend or two), that you collect 5 votive holders (or flame-proof saucers, or clean ash trays) and a bag of cheap tea lights (they will have to be replaced a few times, but where we live, a bag of 20 tea lights was cheaper than 5 votives or tapers). Voila. Your candle set-up.
But what about little hands and fire safety? I getcha. Rather than arrange several flames in a circle within reach, we lined our votive holders up on the mantle, the “5th” candle with our Nativity, and the remaining four split, two on either side. Safely out of the way. If you have them (or can borrow some – post a shout-out on social media), you can even use the battery-operated imitation tea lights or candle sticks. Or have an older child who likes to color draw (or color in a free printable) and cut out 5 candle outlines and set them up at the time of each “lighting” and reading. The point is: there is no one “right” way to have the Lights of Advent. Do you YOU can, and as you treat it with excitement and reverence, so will your children associate joy and meaning with the celebration.
Remember: this is about Christ, not Pinterest. 🙂 ❤️
I know the Christmas Story, but 25 readings? I don't have time to arrange that! Never fear, you can find FREE Scripture-based suggestions all over the internet, the Learning Erb's simple and tasteful Advent reading/song collection here*, or, for slightly older kids (see my review at the end, here), read the excellent historical fiction narrative, Jotham's Journey, which is arranged for you into 25 readings. (*The Learning Erb also has the option to purchase accompanying ornament guides which our kids ADORE and I detail in my Advent review at the end of our Christmas booklist.) Bottom line:
It doesn't so much matter what arrangement of readings or activities you do together, as that you do it together.
It can be a simple five minutes on the couch before bed with a short reading, or as elaborate as morning crafts that are incorporated into the evening's candle-lighting and hymn-singing. Which, by the way, if you are a “crafty” mama or are following a Charlotte Mason approach with your homeschool, you must check out Gentle + Classical Advent from Gentle Classical Press! (This link will give you $5 off, btw.)
You told me to skip to the end... If you've already been celebrating Advent or just want a quick recap of resources (busy, anyone??) this is for you:
Candles: Dollar Tree, borrow, or draw/print and color
- free Scripture arrangements
- Learning Erb Advent (simple and tasteful with optional ornament add-on I detail at the end, here)
- the book Jotham's Journey (historical fiction arranged into nightly readings, synopsis at the end of this post) - buy your Christmas reading list at Thriftbooks using this link to save money and get a free book
- Gentle + Classical Advent (beautiful guide with included readings and activities, for more “crafty” and/or Charlotte Mason styles - don't forget to use the link to get $5 off)
Bottom Line: A five-minute investment in time together each night is far more meaningful than an elaborate, Pinterest-worthy event that never happens because its too intimidating. 🙂
Now its your turn! Have you wanted to celebrate Advent but been overwhelmed by all the elements? What is the most intimidating part for you? Does your family celebrate Advent? I'd love to hear YOUR traditions, below!