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This year, in my house, advent is going to be about Christ, the beauty of the incarnation, and sharing special memories with my husband and my littles.

Christmas foods on wood background with text overlay low stress ways to celebrate advent this year

Advent Ideas that Won’t Make You Stress

So November is coming to a close and you realize now that you wanted to do something amazing to celebrate Christmas all month long. Yep! I understand completely. In the past I have tried several different tactics for celebrating advent.

One of my favorites was a set of boxes numbered and stuck on the tree. Each one had a little gift for my husband. That was special but once we had children the idea became nearly impossible. Trying to do that for 3 people is expensive, means a lot of gifts, usually a lot of candy (which I would prefer my children not gorge themselves on), and a lot of time. Besides that, it was nice for me to be able to give those gifts but it didn’t really encourage the truth behind Christmas getting buried further into our hearts.

It is with this in mind I am approaching Christmas differently this year.

Last year, I actually tried to do three different advent calendars (all homemade)… Let’s all stop and laugh at me for that one….

This year things are going to run a little differently in our house. I have decided that advent isn’t going to be about candy or the things I really wish I did. This year, in my house, advent is going to be about Christ, the beauty of the incarnation, and sharing special memories with my husband and my littles.

So I thought maybe you needed an encouragement like that as well.

It’s nice to have a plan, as long as we remember we aren’t failures if the plan disappears throughout the month.  This is real life after all..

Children and Family Advent Ideas and Resources

A few months ago I purchased Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional and we plan to use that throughout the Christmas season. I am ordering some of what we need today actually. There is still time to get it before December 1st if you are prime member and order quickly! Or you can always be a few days behind. I really love that this is not structured on a 7-day model so some of the pressure is removed when days get crazy. There are only three days of activities for each week and the grace that provides is a blessing to me (and if I had to guess to you too).

I love how many great family advent resources are available right now and many of them don’t require shipping! Some that I plan to use in the coming years include:

Focus on the Family’s “O Holy Night Advent Calendar” – A sweet friend sent me this resource (and the next one) recently as recommendations for our family and I love several things about it. First, it’s FREE which is always a blessing (especially at Christmas time!), doesn’t require any shipping because it is a download, and is simple enough that the whole family can enjoy it.

Truth in the Tinsel – This eBook is stinking adorable. It costs $9.99 but is very young child friendly! And I LOVE the fact that every day you make a new ornament to highlight what you have learned. I think my kids (and most kids) would adore that! Thinking maybe next year we will have a special small tree for the ornaments they make throughout the advent season.

Do your children have The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name? If not, I highly recommend you pick up a copy! Sally Lloyd-Jones wrote this tremendous children’s Bible with a focus on Christ. My husband is a pastor and he says everyone in the church should read it! Using this classic resource, she also built an advent guide to walk you through the season. It is available as a FREE printable resource here!

Random Acts of Kindness – this is one I have always wanted to do but I think we will probably need to do it in the summer around here because we don’t make it out of the house all the time in the winter. But I LOVE the idea of teaching children kindness through randomly loving on other people. My oldest daughter always wants to know why we do things. This is a perfect way to tell her that we do these things because Christ displayed ultimate kindness and He wants those who follow Him to behave the same way. If you are looking for ideas, Pinterest is full of them!!

Another blogging friend of mine, Stephanie, has an adorable resource that is kind of a take on a traditional advent with more grace. Instead of a daily idea, she gives thoughts to celebrate the season with our children. I LOVE how she structured this.

Related: Family Devotions with Young Children – The Whys and Hows

Adult Advent Resources and Ideas

Okay, so I believe that the random acts of kindness is a great advent calendar idea for adults too! But there are also other fantastic resources available!

Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp is a great option! I LOVE his writing and the wisdom the Lord has given him. I used this book throughout the Christmas season last year. There are times when it begins to feel a little repetitive BUT it is Christ-exalting and God-glorifying and a great option to help you get your focus in the right place this holiday season. I will probably use it again this year!

Desiring God also put together a resource where John Piper reads an advent devotional. Piper’s discussion of the Christmas season and advent last year made a huge impact on our family’s celebration and I am anxious to hear all he has to share with us this year. What I love about this resource is that it is FREE and easy to turn on when I am busy around the house.

Or let’s say you are kind of intimidated by making a full month commitment during this busy time of year, my blogging friend Erin from Momma’s Living Room has a great solution with her 9-day devotional walk through the lives of the characters we read about in the nativity story and how they were forced to trust God with their circumstances. This is a FREE resource and I’m sure it will prove to be a blessing to you!

Related: 6 Must Read Books for Christian Women

This Advent, Remember Christ

Ultimately, whether you choose to do an advent calendar this year or not, remember that the purpose of the Christmas season is about Christ. He humbled Himself, came in the form of servant, and the very God who created everything was born in a stable. Advent calendars are simply a way to remind yourself of the beauty of the Gospel. They are meant to encourage your heart, not lay additional burdens on you. So rejoice this season! Take time to meditate on the truths of Scripture and the beauty of the incarnation in some way. Teach your children to be in awe of what Christ has accomplished.

And be sure to let me know how you do that! Comment below or swing by the Facebook page to let me know how you are reminding yourself of the beauty behind Christmas. I would love to hear what your favorite resources are!