Christmas Traditions: Advent

Counting down for Christmas is a popular family tradition. You can make yours’ centered around activities or use to teach the meaning of Christmas.

Advent Candle

Paint alternating red and green stripes around a 3″ x 8″ candle. (use nonflammable, nontoxic acrylic paint). Every night at dinner, decide as a family one thing that you are thankful for. Light the candle and let it burn down one stripe

Nativity Set

Slowly add pieces to the Nativity set.
First week: straw, stable, and animals.
The second week: Mary and Joseph a short distance away.
Third week: Angels, Star and Shepard(away from stable).
The fourth week: Wise men away from the stable.
Christmas day: Place Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the stable. Place Shepard and wise men a short distance away.

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Christmas Coming Paper Chain

Cut 12 green strips and 13 red strips of construction paper. Write an activity of the day on each strip. Make the chain. You can find some activity ideas here
Instructions for making a Star Countdown Chain can be found here.
Clothespin small socks or mittens to a piece of twine. Place a slip of paper with an activity written on it in each one.

Christmas Window Calendar

Carefully mark off 25 squares on a piece of poster board. Leave at least a 3/8″ between each square. Mark a line in the middle of each box that designates the halfway mark horizontally. Mark a line lengthwise through the box using this mark as a guide. Cut with a craft each half-way mark and the top and the bottom of each box. The boxes should be able to open as a window. Behind each window tape a Christmas picture or an activity for the day.

Jesse Tree

There are three themes you can use for your Jesse Tree:
The genealogy of Jesus starting with Adam and Eve.
Prophecies of Jesus’ coming from the Old Testament and the fulfillment from the New Testament.
Attributes of God/Christ e.g. the rock, a door, etc.
Instructions for the wooden dowel tree with symbols and readings can be found here.

Thankful Blocks

Wrap 25 blocks with white paper. Can decorate if desired. Each night decide on something the family is thankful for and write it on a block. Or you can write a prophecy and fulfillment on each block.


Collect 25 sturdy boxes with separate lids. Paper mâché nesting boxes would be good. Wrap the boxes and lids separate from each other. Label the boxes with numbers from 1-25. Decorate the boxes as desired. In each box, you can place a piece of the nativity, a scroll with a prophecy printed on it, or an ornament for your Jesse Tree. Place these under the tree.


Use a large wall calendar. Each day glue a bow to the date.

Bow Garland

On a long piece of ribbon tie a bow for each day of Advent. Drape the tree with the garland or hang on the wall.

Advent Wreath

This was a beloved tradition in our family. The wreath is created using three purple candles, one pink and a white pillar candle in the middle. One candle is lit each Sunday starting the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The pink candle is lit on the Sunday before Christmas. The fifth candle(the white pillar candle) is lit on Christmas Eve or Day. Each Sunday scripture is read, a carol is sung and a family activity is done. Instructions on how to make a wreath and scriptures can be found here

Yule Log

Drill 25 holes in a long log. Place 24 red candles and one white candle (in the center). Alternating ends of the log, each night light the number of candles to match the day’s date. Christmas Day you will light all the red candles plus the white candle.

Christmas Around the World

Look up traditions celebrated in other nations. Make a craft or read a story about that custom.

Hand Wreath

Trace the hands of the family members. On each hand, write an activity, a story to read, Jesse Tree reading, etc. Each day draw out a hand and do the activity. Glue the hand to a Styrofoam wreath.

Do you have an advent tradition? Please share in the comments below.

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More information:

Christmas Traditions: Christmas Day
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