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Family Advent Traditions (Advent Wreath, Calendar, and More)

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I constantly strive to make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable. In an effort to pare down on the holiday craziness, I vowed to give experiences instead of stuff whenever possible. I’ll give only a couple of high-quality gifts instead of lots of cheap ones that break the next day. This lessens the focus on gifts and instead places it on the meaning of Christmas and time together as a family.

Enter Advent…

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(Note: If Advent isn’t something your family participates in, this post may not be for you. Instead, you might prefer these stocking stuffer ideas or creative ways to be generous this year.)

What Is Advent?

Advent is the four-week period before Christmas. It’s a time for Christians to reflect on the meaning behind this holiday. Similar to Lent, it’s a time of preparation. The Advent season celebrates the birth of Jesus and anticipates the second coming of Christ.

Different denominations from the Catholic church to Lutheran, to Protestants all celebrate the season of advent. Things like Advent calendars have even become a popular activity with non-religious families.

You wouldn’t know it from the stores, but the Christmas season actually STARTS on Christmas, not ends. In fact, Christmas Day is the end of Advent and the beginning of the actual Christmas season. It also marks the start of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” which ends on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th.

Why Celebrate Advent Traditions?

For us, Advent is a key time of reflection, preparation, and family time. The significance of this season is often marked by calendars and lighting candles on the Advent wreath. These Advent customs help us focus on the real meaning of the Christmas feast (more on these below). And a general waiting, waiting, waiting in anticipation for the excitement of Christmas.

Want to learn more about the weeks of Advent or begin celebrating it in your home? Here are some ideas from our own family traditions to get you started!

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