Many years ago we started celebrating Advent to usher in the Christmas holiday season and help focus our hearts on the things that matter most: Jesus, family, love, others, and quality time, to name a handful.
For the past few years, I’ve failed miserably: both at being prepared for Advent to begin, and in doing a good job of *celebrating* Advent with my kids. We’ve let some traditions and things slide, we’ve let ourselves become rushed and scattered.
MY KIDS HAVE FELT IT. I asked them what they were looking forward to this year and they all shrugged. I learned that they used to look forward to this time of year very much, but they’ve been missing some of the togetherness of the past.
To be frank, I’ve been looking forward to this since we lost our baby three months ago. Early on in the grieving process, it was the family togetherness, the hope and celebration, the good tidings of comfort and joy.. that were my focal point through the grief and pain. I looked ahead and hoped and waited for “a few months from now when I’m on the other side of this and we are celebrating goodness together as a family.”
How disappointing to learn that my children weren’t as excited as I am, and that they’re not wrong about the last few years.
Well not this year! We are making Advent happen.
I’ve promised our children a return to our Advent days of the past. We have our Advent candle wreath set up with our pink and purple candles. I have a devotional on Kindle all cued up and ready to go, Unwrapping the Names of Jesus. Our Christmas tree is up, and this year, it’s “Advent themed,” so I guess it’s really an Advent tree. 😉 Pink and purple, silver and gold: Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love. We will spend the next week decorating the mantel and setting up the nativity and other things. By the time December 2nd arrives, we will be ready and waiting!
But I wanted to make sure that we didn’t drop the ball halfway through. And I also wanted to find a way to keep the fun going. And I also needed a way to adjust our activities as our kids grow (because that’s been part of the challenge in the last few years.)
So I made an Advent Experience Family Bingo Game. As we complete activities, we mark them off to make bingos, to help us keep track of the things we do this year, to keep the fun going, to make sure that we celebrate in the ways that matter most: Jesus, family, love, others, and quality time.
And once I got started, I also created individual bingo cards, in case they’d like to “compete” against each other instead. And then I made a blank card and some calling cards in case they just want to play a game of bingo. I made a whole kit. =)
I’m looking forward to Advent this year — very, very much. I’m excited to bring back some old traditions and equally excited to add in some new ones. The excitement is beginning to spread to my kids, I can feel it. =)
This year, Christmas is going to be very simple and modest, since finances are tight right now. Our celebrations and our gifts won’t be very extravagant–and that’s just fine. Our Advent activities are also quite simple and modest, inexpensive or free–and that’s also just fine.
These things just work together to increase our quality time together and our focus on the things that really matter in this world. Again: Jesus, family, love, others, and quality time.
So what kinds of things did I include on our list? Watching movies and reading books, scripture readings and loving others, hot chocolate and Christmas carols, and that sort of thing. Most of these things are free, some of them are very inexpensive. All of them help us have family time, or show love, or think about Jesus.
Some things are on there twice, but I know we’ll do them many more times than that. Family movies, hot cocoa, and Christmas music are among our favorite things. With our homemade hot chocolate and Christmas Carols, Christmas Music from favorite Childhood movies, or some of the best Christian Christmas music out there, we can immediately set a joyous atmosphere in our home.
Before I go, I want to share the Family Bingo Card with you, for free. I hope that it helps you and your family celebrate Advent together this year. Also, I’m going to list the entire kit for purchase, in my brand new shop, which is a brand new thing for me. Brand new beginnings everywhere!
- To download the FREE Family Advent Bingo Card, download it from the store instead of using the image here (the quality is better and you can print it on a full size piece of paper.)
- Or, if you want the whole kit, find that in my store, too! (It’s exciting to say that.) =)
One final note: If you don’t celebrate the Christmas holidays in an Advent-y kind of way, and you’d like a non-Advent-specific bingo kit, you’re in luck because I was on a roll. I have a Christmas-themed kit, too, and a Christmas-themed freebie, and I’ll share that one in a couple of days. Merry Christmas and Happy Advent to you all!
For Advent readings and other resources, check my Advent Resources page.