Whether you choose classic Advent traditions or enjoy December as a festive intro to the holiday, this is an incredibly special time of year. The Christmas spirit is alive and your children’s excitement is growing.
One of the best parts of the season is creating new traditions for your family— sharing special moments your children will one day continue with their own families. Because no matter how you celebrate, at the center of this season is love.
If you’re looking for some new Advent activities for your family, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more about the tradition of Advent. Then discover some traditional and new celebrations to add to your month of merry. It’s a wonderful time of year!
What is Advent?
Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “arrival.” It’s easy to see why this is the perfect way to describe this time of year.
For those following the Christian faith, Advent refers to the arrival, or birth, of Jesus Christ and the anticipation of his second coming.
Traditionally, Advent lasts from the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day through Christmas Eve. For some, it’s a time of fasting and reflection. For other families, Advent is a time to celebrate the upcoming holiday.
No matter how you choose to observe Advent, we have some new traditions to try with your family.
10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Advent with your Family
Gift an Advent calendar
Advent Calendars are getting more popular every year. Sharing small gifts to open daily is the perfect way to build everyone’s excitement for the big day. There’s even a perfect calendar for every member of your family — from a beer sampler for Dad to a daily self-care gift for Mom.
For the little ones in your life, check out the Gorgeous Gifts Advent Calendar! It’s a family favorite with on-trend gifts and surprises your child will love! If you’re still working your way through that Halloween candy bucket, don’t worry! There’s no candy here — just fun crafts and pretend play items to keep your child creating all December long.
Have questions about the Gorgeous Gifts Advent Calendar? Watch our FAQ video here. It answers some of the most commonly asked questions, such as what age is the calendar best for (spoiler alert — it’s best for ages 8 and up).
December is just around the corner, but you still have plenty of time to get yours from our Amazon store. Prime shipping for the holiday win!
Build your nativity scene
This great Advent activity is an excellent way to share the Christmas story with your kids. Depending on your set, you can display a new piece each day of Advent until your nativity scene is complete.
Talk about each piece as you place it. Explain its significance to the story. If you have a child-safe nativity scene (check out this felt set!) let your children help act out the play. This is a great way to connect fun with the reason for the season.
Listen to your favorite Christmas carols
Everyone loves Christmas carols! There are so many great versions to share. Choose your favorites and put them on repeat for the month of December. For extra fun, have a Christmas-themed dress-up dance party, complete with little Rudolphs and snowmen!
If you’re feeling extra festive, share the Christmas cheer with your neighbors and spend an evening caroling. Brew some hot cocoa, bundle up, and let your merry spirit shine. You never know who needs a little extra cheer in their lives. What a wonderful way to spread the magic of the season!
Make and light your Advent wreath
Creating an Advent wreath is a classic tradition that’s easy to bring home. Head to your local craft store and grab all the supplies you need to create your wreath. And don’t forget the purple, pink, and white candles.
After you create your wreath, light a candle for each week of Advent (learn more about the tradition of lighting your candles here). Kids will love everything about this activity, from helping create the wreath to taking their turn lighting the candles. It’s a classic tradition for a reason.
Craft a Christmas garland
Making paper garlands is a kid-favorite activity to help countdown the days to Christmas. It’s easy for each child to make their own, or contribute to one large family garland.
Just cut strips of green and red construction paper. Then each day, create a ring of paper to add to your garland. You can keep it simple with just the paper strips, or write a special prayer or wish on each strip. Or your kids can share something they’re grateful for on each slip. It’s a wonderful and easy way to create something together!
Decorate your tree
If you wait until after Thanksgiving to put up your tree, turn this ritual into a special Advent activity. How? Just take turns adding something new to your tree each day. Lights one day, then special ornaments, and finally the tree topper.
This is also a fun way to add some crafting to your December. Select a few special ornament projects for each child to personalize. They’ll love adding their new creations to the tree, and you can build a collection of keepsake ornaments you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Read daily devotionals
For some, scripture is an essential part of Advent. Choose a scripture for each day, or pick one that fits the Advent’s weekly themes: hope, preparation, joy or peace, and love.
If you’re looking for a few ideas to get you started, check out these readings perfect for families. They’re meaningful choices for reading and reflection this holiday
Cook up a special dish
Some consider Advent to be a season of fasting. But if you choose to spend Advent as a time to build excitement for the Christmas holiday, great food is a welcome treat.
Add some extra fun to your kitchen and write up your own yummy Advent calendar. Choose your favorite holiday recipes, add in some you’ve always wanted to try, and start creating.
Keep it simple with a mix of easy candies (chocolate dipped pretzels are a fave here) and delicious salads some days. Then throw in a big feast on the weekend. No matter what you choose, you’ll enjoy a month of deliciousness!
Create a Jesse Tree
Keep your kids creating and learning with a Jesse Tree Advent calendar. This long-standing tradition dates back to the Middle Ages! Each day your child learns a new Bible story while creating a unique ornament for the tree. And how you choose to design your tree is totally up to you!
There are many different variations of the Jesse Tree. Choose a small live tree, or create one out of felt to hang on the wall. Then choose the stories you want to focus on and design your ornaments to match. Learn more about the origins of the Jesse Tree and get some new ideas for creating yours here.
Volunteer in your community
Christmas is a time for giving. And volunteering your time is the best way to show the real power of gifting.
Find a local organization where your kids can give back. Gather up old clothes or toys for donating. Help a shelter organize backpacks for those in need. Gift a family in need with a meal. Donate to your local food pantry. Whatever you choose, get your kids involved and help them feel the meaning behind the celebrations.
Enjoy the special time of Advent with your family!
Whether your family chooses to fast or throw a big celebration, remember to find joy in this time. There is so much to look forward to — but spending this time with your family is by far the best part.
How do you celebrate Advent? What are your favorite Advent and holiday traditions? Let us know in the comments. And have a beautiful and happy holiday!