Advent is right around the corner, and this time of year brings the question: How can I honor Advent and Christmas with my young kids in a way that keeps the focus on Christ?
While social media is hawking extravagant Advent calendars and wildly overpriced (and crowded, and stressful) holiday events, I’m feeling a pull to something else.
I’m craving a slow, quiet, peaceful Advent, as many of my colleagues at Aleteia are too. A time that feels gentle and hopeful, instead of busy and loud.
In my quest for a peaceful Advent, I’ve found these 7 beautiful resources that I think will help keep my family focused on Christ. I hope you enjoy them too.
And if these items aren’t in the cards for you this year, that’s more than okay. You don’t need anything fancy to have a special Advent, just your love and presence. That’s what matters most to our kids.
Hallow x Mary on the Mantel
We are long-time fans of both Hallow’s offerings for kids and Mary on the Mantel in my home, so this collaboration looks like a dream! And as a busy mom, I love that my kids can listen to this daily reflection independently. Here’s the description from the Hallow app:
Join Mary as she bustles around the house, preparing her heart and her home for the arrival of her Son this Christmas season. Each day, Mary will share part of her story, give kids a kindness challenge to complete, and lead listeners in prayer for the Advent season.
You can sign up through the Hallow app, available through many parishes. My kids are already asking when they can start the daily “kindness challenge”!
Drawing Closer to God
My kids just love art and drawing video tutorials, and Drawing Closer to God brings together those how-to-draw videos with learning about Jesus and the Christmas season.
This has to be one of the most creative and fun Advent ideas I’ve ever seen! I know my kids will go bananas over these videos, and best of all, the program is free through the Augustine Institute’s YouTube channel.
All About Advent and Christmas: Sharing the Seasons of Hope and Wonder with Children
I’m very picky about children’s books: Somehow I’ve encountered quite a few children’s books that seem as though the author has never actually read to a child, and I believe books shape our kids’ hearts in a critical way.
With that disclaimer, I’m here to tell you that All About Advent & Christmas is the gold standard for liturgical books for kids. I am so impressed with this book!
It’s written in a wonderfully clear and engaging style that kids appreciate, with charming illustrations that they’ll love. You can tell that the author has worked with children for a long time and knows how to explain things to them.
This book is an absolute treasure for anyone who wants to dive deeper into the history and sacred meaning of this season.
Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent and Christmas Reflections for Families
If you’re looking for a straightforward Advent devotional to read with your kids every day, check out Welcome Baby Jesus.
Author Sarah A. Reinhard designed Welcome Baby Jesus for families to capture what’s intended by the liturgical season of Advent. Each day has a Scripture quote from the Sunday Gospel readings, a brief reflection, and an action to complete.
The Jesse Tree for Families
The Jesse Tree for Families presents a lovely, doable way to celebrate Advent with your children. Each day focuses on a specific person from Jesus’ family tree with a meditation for the whole family and a beautifully illustrated portrait, plus an ornament to hang on your family’s Jesse tree. Conversation starters and resources for parents are included to help your family grow in faith as you prepare for Christmas.
A picture book Advent calendar
This year I’m really looking forward to wrapping up 25 seasonal picture books for a picture book Advent calendar. My kids will open one each day and we can read it aloud together.
I’ve never done this tradition before and always wanted to! After slowly collecting our Christmas books over the years, I am so happy we will get to combine my love for picture books and Christmas this Advent.
What Child Is This – A Coloring Book for Prayer and Meditation
If you’ve got a kiddo who loves to color, or you enjoy coloring yourself, don’t miss this beautiful and unique coloring book themed around Christmas images and songs. This would be perfect for kids to work on while listening to their daily Hallow Advent challenge, or during family read-aloud or prayer time.
I hope these ideas can inspire you with some sweet and gentle ways to prepare your family for Christmas. I’m really looking forward to using these resources in our home this Advent, and I hope they will be fruitful and fun for you, too! We at Aleteia will be praying for you to have a grace-filled Advent. Please say a prayer for us as well!