5 meaningful ways to celebrate advent

You've got two days until the beginning of advent and if you're honest, it's crept up on you! If you're lucky, you might still be able to pick up some chocolate calendars in the shops, but let's face it, it's a bit late to be thinking about 'meaningful' advent at this late stage, if it requires ordering or purchasing anything, am I right?


But, there's still plenty that you can do to mark advent in a meaningful way.

Here's my top 5 ideas:

1. MAF Advent

Full disclosure, I consider it a privilege to work for MAF in my day job, but that's not why I'm including this. I'm including MAF advent because I did it with my daughter last year and she LOVED it!



In a nutshell, you log onto the computer each day and join friends, Mike, Alpha and Foxtrot as they travel the globe, visiting all the MAF countries, learning about how MAF serves the isolated people there and carrying the Christmas message as they go. It's educational, and it opens your eyes to people in the world who don't celebrate Christmas with all the trimmings that we do. The greatest gift they might receive is a MAF flight that's delivering food, medical care or the gospel. It's fronted by CBeebies superstar Gemma Hunt (of Swashbuckle fame), and there's lots of festive activities and opportunities to win prizes as well. We sat down every evening last year to open each virtual door and it kept Ruby's interest for the entire festive period. She's so excited to begin this year too! For more info visit www.mafadvent.org.

2. Advent Nativity Journey

When Ruby was one we bought her the Happyland Nativity Set and it's been a core part of our advent ever since. Throughout advent we have broken the story down and acted out the scene using the Happyland characters. This has to be a really fluid arrangement in our house, it's very difficult to make the story last 24 days, the characters inevitably go walkabout during the day and the kids often want to skip to the 'good bit' of Jesus' birth, but if you can make it work then it's memorable and fun and sometimes hilarious to get your kids to tell their own versions of the story.

This week I discovered this Happyland Nativity film and the kids so enjoyed it. It inspired them to get their set out and to retell the story themselves (as I said, hilarious!). Well worth a watch:


3. Advent Prayer Chain


You can normally pick up paperchain packs on the high street really cheaply, but you can also easily make your own with paper strips and glue. Each day, add a new link to the chain and watch your chain grow as you get closer to Christmas. Use it as an opportunity to pray or focus on Jesus - you could write on each strip something that your thankful for, the name of somebody you're praying for, other prayer requests, characteristics of God... the possibilities are endless! If you don't fancy doing paperchains, you could peg paper hearts to ribbon to create bunting, or thread beads onto string!

4. An Advent of Giving


I'm really conscious that I want to teach my kids that Christmas is a time to give, not just to receive. I am always looking for ways to teach them to be kind, and to highlight to them that although we live a relatively modest lifestyle, there are many people who are less fortunate than themselves. Sit down on December 1st and make a list of random acts of kindness that are achievable for you and the kids. Carry out an act of kindness each day - whether that be baking brownies for a neighbour, adding an item to a foodbank collection, or helping at a local Christmas tea or soup kitchen. You might be surprised at how your kids are such a blessing to people simply by being there. Give it a go!

5. A Musical Advent


I'm just going to say it, I love Christmas music, and for me, the cheesier the better! But music also has the ability to speak to us in a way that simple words don't. Each evening bring up YouTube or Spotify and give one family member the opportunity to choose one of their Christmas favourites. Depending on the talents that you have available to you and the songs chosen, you might choose to have a proper sing song, or you might choose to sit quietly and reflect, but afterwards use it as a springboard for discussion. Why is that song special to you? Does it trigger certain memories? What does the song mean? What does the song say about Christmas, God, Jesus, love? This is quality time, and could become a long-standing tradition in a family of music lovers!


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

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