Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Celebrating Your Way Through Advent for Busy Families

We all think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas, and it is, but we can't forget all the great feasts found on the days IN Advent to celebrate holy men and women. Each feast day as well as just the ordinary days can help to aid us and our families in delving deeper into our Faith, which ultimately prepares us for Christmas. Win. Win. Our family has a variety of traditions we've set in place to help us embrace what Advent is all about, so I'll let you in on a few of those while also giving you ideas to celebrate special holy days during this liturgical season.

I'm a busy mama just like many of you, so I'm only sharing one or two simple ideas to carry you through Advent with mini celebrations throughout. Case in point: it's the 3rd day in Advent already, and I'm just now getting this out. Whether you are a newbie at celebrating the liturgical year in your home or a pro, I hope these ideas broaden your spectrum a wee bit. If you are a newbie, I wrote last year a bit on how to get started living out the Church year within your family life.

At the end of this post, I also have a giveaway to share from CCC of America to give your kids some treats to learn more about their faith. See the Rafflecopter entry form at the bottom of this post to enter.

So join me in celebrating in little ways as I celebrate my way through Advent.

November 30 // 1st Sunday in Advent :: Hope // Feast Day of St. Andrew

Begin the Christmas Novena! Prayed 15 times a day from St. Andrew's feast day through Christmas day, it's a beautiful way to consistently be refocussing yourself.

Idea from Meg at Held By His Pierced Hands, make the above image the lock screen on your phone. That should make it MUCH easier to remember to pray 15 times a day.

December 1 // 1st Monday in Advent

The Advent wreath is one of several of our favorite Advent traditions as it's a visual aid for all. If you have little ones at home, consider making one of our favorites: Advent countdown chains to help countdown each day.

Set out some evergreen clippings for simple Advent decor. Tip: Can often be obtained for free at Lowe's or Home Depot.

December 2 // 1st Tuesday in Advent

Forgoing Christmas music until it's actually Christmas? It's not as crazy as it sounds, and there are plenty of great playlists that have already been made.

Here's mine:

Also check out these other lists from...

Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings

December 3 // 1st Wednesday of Advent // Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier

Watch this film from CCC of America - don't own it? Enter to win a copy for next year (two winners)!

Pray for the Jesuits and their mission to the Church.

December 4 // 1st Thursday of Advent // Feast Day of St. John Damascene 

St. John Damascene was a monk who defended holy images and the veneration of them in his writings.

You may or may not own a copy of The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home (put it on your wish list if you don't!), but over on Sophia Institue Press' website, they offer these lovely icon coloring pages. Head over, print one off, color them in, and hang in a place where they'll remind you to look heavenward every time you see them.

December 5 // 1st Friday of Advent 

It's Friday, go meatless. Make a simple soup, eat by candlelight, and sing the first verse of 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel' as you light your wreath tonight (we try to do this every night, adding a verse of the hymn each week in Advent).

Don't forget to put your shoes out in preparation of tomorrow's feast day...

December 6 // 1st Saturday of Advent // Feast Day of St. Nicholas

We don't "celebrate" Santa Claus in our house (interested why? go here), BUT we do celebrate St. Nicholas' feast day. We always fill the shoes with simple treats, and if you're looking for more ideas, head on over here.

This year our shoes will have Divine Fair Trade Milk Chocolate Coins. Amazon's price is high, so look at a specialty grocery store or one that has a great organic section. The Natural Candy Store also sells them as well as many other Christmas treats that are organic, all natural, fair trade, and more!

December 7 // 2nd Sunday of Advent :: Love

Aim to quiet yourself a little by staying away from technology. Send a note to someone letting them know you're thinking of them and say a prayer for them.

December 8 // 2nd Monday of Advent // Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception

It's a holy day of obligation, so get yourselves to Mass. Maybe wear blue or make some blue tissue paper flowers for Our Lady.

December 9 // 2nd Tuesday of Advent // Feast Day of St. Juan Diego

Another great video from CCC of America about The Messenger of Guadalupe, and I also have two copies to giveaway of this one!

December 10 // 2nd Wednesday of Advent 

Light a candle, and pray for our Holy Father's Intentions for the month of December:

"That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will."

December 11 // 2nd Thursday of Advent

We're very simple with gifts at Christmas and mostly just focus on stockings for our kids with a few family gifts otherwise. Make sure you are ready for Christmas now, so you can focus on Advent fully without worrying whether you've got everything set to go. If you need some stocking filler ideas, I wrote this post on simple stuffers for young children and my post on Easter basket fillers has ideas that work as well.

December 12 // 2nd Friday of Advent // Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

I have another posts in the works for this Feast Day to let you know more in depth ways to celebrate Our Lady, but if you're busy and only have a little time, check out the new cookbook from Daniel and Haley Stewart: More Feasts!, which includes a special Carnitas recipe for this feast day.

December 13 // 2nd Saturday of Advent // Feast Day of St. Lucy

In Sweden, tradition asks the eldest daughter to get up and make buns for her family and serve them wearing a long white gown tied with a red sash and candles upon her head.

We have no daughters in our house, but we will probably be making some sticky buns. A traditional recipe for Saffron bread can be found at Catholic Culture.

Or you could celebrate this Saint, whose name means 'Light,' by driving around and looking at decorated houses.

December 14 // 3rd Sunday of Advent :: Joy

Unplug again, and enjoy quality time with your family. Light a fire (if you have a fireplace obviously), play games, read aloud (our favorite read aloud this time of year is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

December 15 // 3rd Monday of Advent

Remember to pray for all parents as we recall our Pope's call to mission for the month:
"That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith."

December 16 // 3rd Tuesday of Advent

Missed the St. Andrew Christmas Novena? Now's your chance to start the other Christmas Novena. All the prayers are listed here to make it easy for you.

Today is also known as the Night of Las Posadas. Read this lovely book by Tomie DePaola: The Night of Las Posadas to learn more about how people in Mexico celebrate!

December 17 // 3rd Wednesday of Advent

Another prayer to add this last week is the Traditional O Antiphons. These can be prayed around your Advent wreath as a family and are a beautiful way to prepare during the last week of Advent. The prayers can be found here along with the full format on how to pray.

December 18 // 3rd Thursday of Advent

Make homemade cards for those near and dear. Bring on the glitter!

December 19 // 3rd Friday of Advent

Wrap, wrap, wrap. I am always that mama wrapping on Christmas Eve. This year I am aiming not to be by planning a wrapping craziness party in advance. Me, a glass of wine, and the wrapping supplies.

Also if you love the movie 'Elf,' Dwija from House Unseen and Cari from Clan Donaldson have a Twitter party planned for this night. I cannot remember what time it starts, but it's sure to be fun.

December 20 // 3rd Saturday of Advent

Try to make it to confession or adoration if you can. Both are perfect ways to still your heart and prepare your soul for Christmas.

December 21 // 4th Sunday of Advent :: Peace

Invite friends over to share a meal as you light the last candle on your Advent wreath.

December 22 // 4th Monday of Advent

Bake a batch of cookies for a neighbor.

December 23 // 4th Tuesday of Advent

Read some stories about the nativity of Our Lord. Our favorite Nativity centric picture books can be found here. What are your favorites?

December 24 // 4th Wednesday of Advent

At sundown today, Christmastide officially begins. Put the finishing touches on a grand feast, don gay apparel for midnight (or evening) mass, and be excited for all you've been preparing for to finally be here.

And now for the giveaway!

CCC of America has been so kind to partner with me and offer you, my readers, with not only one, but four copies for you to win. I have two copies each of Francis Xavier and the Samurai's Lost Treasure and St. Juan Diego: Messanger of Guadalupe  to giveaway today. There will be two winners that will each receive a copy of each DVD. Enter in the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You must comment on this blog post for any of your entries to be considered valid.

There are 7 possible entries, with a few options to come back daily and earn extra entries. I will use Rafflecopter's generator to choose the winner, who will then be announced here on the blog + via social media. Email address you provide will only be used to contact you if you win. U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses only. Entries will be accepted until 12:00am 6 December 2014. 

Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by CCC of America, and they have been kind enough to provide me with a complimentary copy to review. However, I only review and share with you things that I love, and all opinions are solely my own. 

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This post: Celebrating Your Way Through Advent for Busy Families first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 2 December 2014


  1. So many Advent Playlists my spotify is a mess LOL

    1. It's true! I switch out between them day by day. =)

  2. Epic post, thanks for the ideas. A favorite advent memory... somehow the last two years we've ended up having little things placed in our advent wreath, little crafts or take homes from children's liturgy, don't know who put them there, but it's sweet to see them show up

  3. My family is one of musicians, and in high school I got to play oboe in the city's production of Handel's "Messiah" when my dad was the bass vocal soloist. Super special. :)

  4. Amazing list, Sarah!! And I love everything about Advent. The slow anticipation building, the decorating here and there, the music. It's all wonderful.

  5. When we were children, we used to draw names between the children and our parents and you'd get to be someone's "Advent Angel" for the week. You'd do little things for them in secret, or leave little treats. It was a nice tradition!

  6. My favorite part of Advent was always the feast days growing up :) The Immaculate Conception and St. Nicholas especially were the biggest celebrations :)

  7. Love this!!!!! I can't wait to get back to it and listen to your playlist.

  8. I just love trying to be intentional about slowing down. Spending time in Adoration during Advent has always been wonderful for me.

  9. Two years ago St Gabriel would visit with ornaments, an activity, and a letter from baby Jesus...these were ornaments we already had...

  10. For a couple years I was really intentional about avoiding all Christmas music during Advent. It made singing Christmas songs at Midnight Mass a really beautiful, poignant announcement that it was finally Christmas. That tradition went out the window when I married into a family that listens to Christmas music starting in August ;)

  11. I have been looking for Advent videos for my children. Thanks for the suggestions.


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