Advent in the Home: Developing Family Traditions


Blacknall held an event last year for families to share simple Advent traditions they had incorporated into their family life. A key tip was to hold it loosely – it’s ok if you miss a day! – and to make it a part of your daily rhythm. Reading a devotion after dinner, opening the Advent Calendar door, or lighting a candle are all ways to signal the season of Advent as we head towards the mystery of Christmas.

Below are ideas to get you started. Consider picking one or two that might fold easily into your life.

Advent Calendar

  • DIY – Paper or muslin bags can be filled with small tokens or activities (ex. Go to Carols and Cocoa, Write a thank you note, Sing a hymn after dinner). The bags can be taped to the wall or strung up with string and clothespins.

  • Buy – A re-usable or paper calendar can provide a way for children to interact daily with the season.

Advent Books

  • DIY – Consider giving a daily book about Christmas. These don’t have to be new! Check them out from your local library (or Blacknall’s library – view a list of great suggestions here) and wrap them up in fabric, recycled grocery bags, or inexpensive paper from the Scrap Exchange.

  • Buy – Some families purchase books and re-use the same ones each year. If you do want to purchase books, here are a few recommendations.

Advent Prayer Guide

  • “Teach Us to Pray: Scripture-Centered Family Worship through the Year” put out by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The Advent section is available for free download.

Advent Prophecy Chain

Advent Wreath 

Jesus Storybook Advent Printables

Jesse Tree – ornaments and templates can be found online.

  • DIY

    • Make a tree out of construction paper and tape it up on the wall. Children can color ornaments and hang them up daily (you can find printable ornaments online).

    • DIY ornaments for the tree.

    •  If you’re crafty, Blacknall often has a group that does a Jesse tree ornament exchange in November.

    • Forage for a small tree branch, place in a vase, and hang your Jesse tree ornaments from it.

  • Buy – There are many great ornament kits, especially on Etsy, although they can get quite expensive. Here are a few: