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Jena Muhr shares six ways to make time for Jesus in your family celebrations of Advent and Christmas.

Advent is the start of the new liturgical year, in this sense it is the “Catholic New Year.” This changing of seasons does not get the hype that the calendar New Year does—or even Chinese New Year. But it is the beginning of the year for us Catholics nonetheless.  

It is a magical time, especially for children as Advent candles are lit marking time with the journey towards Christmas. When I was young, and still to this day, the lighting of the pink advent candle was something I looked forward to each and every year. To me, it means that Christmas is almost here and that the build-up to this time of year is ever closer. 

During the Advent and Christmas seasons, there are so many things to do and places to go and do that they can run into each other or overshadow the reason that we are celebrating. Here are a few (kind of simple) ways that I have found help keep my family centered on Christ during the start of the year: 


Homemade Advent Calendar

This is a tradition that my mom did every year when we were little. On each day of Advent there was a note that allowed something special for a member of the family. Some days it was someone that got to pick what was for dinner, others it was someone who didn’t have to help with dishes, a special prayer that was said for one family member or who got to pick the movie for family movie night. And every Friday was “pick a prize” Friday, with goods that my mom had gotten at the dollar store. It was a fun tradition and made us look forward to each morning of Advent.  




Saint Nicholas Day

Celebrating this feast day is so much fun! The kids line either boots up by the door or the hearth and when Saint Nicholas comes by, he delivers small treats for them (usually chocolate gold coins, treats, and maybe a small toy). This is the day that our Elf on the Shelf has traditionally arrived as well.  


Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

Make baby Jesus a birthday cake and singing “Happy Birthday” at a party with all the kids. Cake is always appreciated and it brings the religious holiday into something that all the kids can easily recognize.  


Talk about the origins of the candy cane.

There are many resources out there. MyCatholicKids.com shares an in-depth lesson about the legend of the candy cane. This is best completed with hot chocolate to go with the candy canes. 




Celebrate Three Kings Day.

This is a holiday that I didn’t celebrate until I married my husband who had grown up with this fun celebration. The night before Three Kings Day, put a bowl of water and a pile of grass by the door for the Kings’ horses as they make their way to the child Jesus. In return, the kings may leave a small gift for each child who helped them on their journey. (Be warned: sometimes the horses make a mess!) 


Family baking day!

This is one of my favorite ways to bring the family together and make sweet treats. It's a great time to pass on family favorites, and everyone goes home with a box to share.  


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6 (kind of simple) ways to help keep your family centered on Christ during the Advent and Christmas seasons. #CatholicMom


There are so many wonderful ideas out there and ways to celebrate with family and friends. But making the time for Jesus throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons should always be the most important.  



Copyright 2023 Jena Muhr
Images: Canva