The symbols and colors of the Church during each liturgical season can be brought home in simple ways and help our kiddos understand the Church and her teachings in their everyday space. This is what we Catholics can call liturgical living.
ADVENT is coming! If you don’t already follow the liturgical calendar at home, Advent is the perfect season to start! How to do that with kids? The first thing I had to learn was that Advent is a separate (purposefully so) season from Christmas. Holding off on Christmas-specific décor/songs has made a huge difference in our household anticipation for the true Christmas season. Here are 2 ways to start Advent traditions.
Advent Wreath: Beginning dinner every night ceremoniously lighting the candle(s) designated for that week is something my kids adore. Talk about what that week’s candle represents (hope>peace>joy>love). You can easily make or buy one. Here’s more info on the wreath.
Straw for Jesus: If you happen to have a manger, that’s great. We started with a shoebox. Collect pine straw from outside (or use real hay) and put some in a jar next to it. Explain that for each good deed they do throughout Advent, they get to put a piece of straw in the manger to help prepare baby Jesus’ place for Christmas. On Christmas Eve, swaddle a baby doll, sing Away in the Manger while placing it inside (tip: Hobby Lobby now sells these kits pre-made!).
Days to remember!
Dec. 6- Feast of St. Nicholas: On the night before we have the kids put a shoe by the door/fireplace, and read about St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) and his passion for sharing God’s love by giving gifts. Put chocolate gold coins in each shoe, and a simple gift if you like. This is when I also start to put out their Advent/Christmas books for the season. Speculaas is the traditional treat to make, or gingerbread if that’s easier.
Dec. 8- Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary: A solemnity is the highest of feast days! This day we celebrate Mary’s conception within her mother, St. Anne’s, womb. Go to mass and feast on a dinner of all blue or white foods, since those are often Our Lady’s favorite colors.
Dec. 13- Feast of St. Lucy: She is the patroness of light with a heroic story. We wait until this day to put up our Christmas lights and make a big deal about lighting them that night in her honor. For breakfast, form a circle of cinnamon buns (or legit St. Lucy buns if you prefer), add some candles, and enjoy!
The anticipation for Christmas builds so beautifully during Advent. Our kids love the traditions we’ve made, and often remember more than we do! Then when Christmas officially arrives, we can celebrate it merrily for the 12 days all the way to Epiphany, without the burnout we used to have.
These are just some of the examples of how we live liturgically during Advent. Feel free to email me for more resources, book lists, Advent songs, recipes, or anything! Lindsay at email@example.com.