Looking for Advent ideas to help your family focus on the real meaning of Christmas this year? I’ve put together a list of great Advent options for families to use to celebrate Advent and approach Christmas with a heart full of holy anticipation.
(Post contains affiliate links; see disclosure for details.)
It should be a given that Advent is about the gift of Jesus. Oddly enough, that isn’t the case. There are lots of Advent ideas that focus on the countdown to gift-giving, but not the gift Himself. You won’t find any of those here.#Advent isn't about the countdown to gift-giving, it's about the gift of Jesus Himself.
Instead of counting down to gift-giving, let’s take a look at some Christ-centered Advent ideas for the whole family.
10 Advent Ideas for Families
1. The Advent Jessie Tree
The Jessie Tree is a well-loved Advent tradition for many families, but if it’s new to you, The Advent Jesse Tree is the perfect place to start. This devotional includes 25 daily readings that include scripture, stories, questions for discussion, prayers, and songs.
Additionally, each reading connects to a symbol that represents the lineage of Jesus. Many families use these symbols as craft inspiration or use them as Christmas ornaments to display on a Jesse Tree in their homes.
2. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift
You don’t have to spend too much time with me to know that I love Ann Voskamp’s work. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift is no exception. This beautifully done Advent experience is based on the Jesse Tree tradition and includes scripture readings, questions for discussion, activities, and downloadable ornaments to go along with each devotion.
That said, I acknowledge that everyone in the world doesn’t love Ann Voskamp’s writing like I do.
If you fall into that group, never fear. There are other great family Advent ideas out there. Focus on the Family gives us one of those options.
3. Focus on the Family’s Advent Calendar
Focus on the Family is one of my favorite sources for free Advent readings for families. We’ve used their Advent plans several times and have found them to be especially helpful during busy holiday seasons that don’t leave much time for the more involved Advent plans.
This year, Focus on the Family is offering their newest Advent plan, A Season of Hope for free or you can purchase previous plans like All the Colors of Christmas in their shop.
4. Truth in the Tinsel
If you’ve got young kiddos at home, this is an Advent idea you don’t want to miss. Truth in the Tinsel is much more than an Advent calendar. It’s an Advent experience that walks kids through the Advent season through scripture, talking points, and crafts.
What I love the most about our experience with Truth in the Tinsel is how it got us around the table working together each day of the Advent season. I also love how our Truth in the Tinsel projects became keepsakes that come out at Christmastime each year now and get discussed over and over again.
5. The ADVENTure of Christmas
Lisa Whelchel’s The ADVENTure of Christmas is a 24-day Advent experience that seeks to help families find Jesus in the regular routines that come with the holiday season. The goal isn’t to do things differently from prior years; it’s to celebrate Jesus through what’s already happening.
With daily themes about Christmas cards, hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree, baking, caroling, and more, families are able to experience their normal Christmas activities through the lens of Advent. This happens through daily readings, talking points, and activities that point to Jesus as the center of the celebration.
6. Jotham’s Journey series
The Jotham’s Journey series is one of my favorite Advent options because it walks through the Advent season in storybook fashion. It’s divided into chapters to be used as daily Advent readings, but also includes information about the origins of Advent and explanations of popular Advent traditions.
7. Advent Devotions for Busy Families
It’s no secret that Christmastime can be a hectic season for families. In fact, it can be so hectic that the reason we celebrate Christmas easily gets lost in the to-do list surrounding it.
The back cover of Advent Devotions for Busy Families says:
“Instead of a frenzied blur of activities and crisis shopping, your children can learn the true meaning of Christmas. Advent Devotions for Busy Families is a simple guide for bringing families together to celebrate and learn about the Reason for the Season.”
Sounds good, right?
This Advent guide uses a daily theme, explains the origin of it and how it relates the Christmas story, scripture readings, family activities, and includes printable ornaments to go along with each day.
8. Jesus Storybook Bible Advent
Calendar and Reading Plan
Did you know about this free Advent Calendar and Reading Plan to use with The Jesus Storybook Bible? I just learned about this one and downloaded it, so I’m not terribly familiar with it yet. From first glance, it looks great.
It includes scripture readings, matching selections from The Jesus Storybook Bible, and instructions for printing and using the calendar itself.
9. Advent in Narnia
If you’re like me and have been a longtime lover of all things Narnia, you’ll want to lean in close for this one. Advent in Narnia is one of the newer Advent ideas I’ve come across, but it’s a wonderful way to experience Advent with your family.
One thing that sets this one apart from the others on this list is that it can also be done with other families in a group setting. Check out my Advent in Narnia review if you’d like to learn more about this Advent book.
10. Welcome Baby Jesus
My favorite thing about Welcome Baby Jesus is that it’s an inexpensive, easy, and completely no-fuss Advent option for families to do together.
I appreciate the call to action for kids and adults alike that come with each reading. They’re relatable, practical, and even helpful. That’s especially nice if you don’t have the time or funds needed for daily crafts or projects.
Welcome Baby Jesus also comes with weekly readings to accompany the candle-lighting process. This book is a bargain, for sure!
What are your favorite ways to experience Advent with your family? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below: