Advent Resource List

Before I jump into all of my Advent resources, I want to be clear that I am not really as on top of this Advent thing as it may seem. As I am writing this on December 16, we are on day 11 of our Jesse Tree cards. I have only covered 1 of the 5 Christmas Manners with the kids. We also completely skipped over the poetry and recipes in our Christmas School plan. Probably I just planned to do too much….

25 Days of the Christmas Story

This is a unique family devotional we received as a gift one year. In addition to fun activities for the family, each day there is a character trait or virtue highlighted. We tried this a few years ago and my boys really were not ready for it. I am planning on using it next year when they are 5 and 8. It would be really great to use in conjunction with a giving manger.

The Giving Manger

The Giving Manger helps families shift the focus of Christmas back to giving. A piece of straw is placed in the manger for each kind deed or act of service performed.  On Christmas Day, the Baby is placed in the manger filled with service and love.  This is our first year using a “giving manger”. Ours is a small cardboard box with the top removed and a mason jar full of pieces of cut up yarn. It took a few days for it to catch on but my boys are pretty into “giving Jesus a piece of hay”. I am not a big fan of external rewards and behavior charts but I like how in this system the kids only real reward is the pleasure of putting a piece of yarn in our “manger”. There is no candy, no promise of a prize or treat if they fill up the manger. The kids just get the aknowledgement that they have done well. The real beauty of the giving manger is that it helps me focus on what the boys are doing “right”. I spend so much time correcting them that it is easy to overlook what they are doing well. Kendra Tierney talks about this in #5 on this list.

Advent Wreath

This is the only Advent tradition we have managed to do everyday this Advent. It is our first year using real taper candles. Previously, I was worried about fire safety and we used battery operated tea lights. The real candles are SO MUCH BETTER. The boys are really into lighting them and blowing them out; so, they are more engaged. We are turning most of the other lights out and the warm glow from the candles is really nice over dinner!

Love Pop Nativity Advent Calendar

Join Mary and Joseph as they journey to Bethlehem and welcome the Savior Baby Jesus into the world in this adapted retelling of the nativity story.

The Nativity day-by-day advent calendar includes dozens of pop-up pals and props that help retell the story of Jesus’ birth in a fun and interactive way.

We used this last year and it was fantastic! Telling the Christmas story slowly throughout Advent really helped the kids absorb what was happening. The slow retelling also allowed us to dig into little side conversations that the pieces inspired. What is a donkey exactly? Where is Nazareth? What is an Inn?

DIY Jesse Tree Ornament Kit

This was my first attempt at a Jesse Tree when the boys were 2 and 4. It was not sucessfull. These ornaments are great and the companion materials are nice. However, they really just point you toward verses of the bible to read for each story. The children’s Bibles we had at the time didn’t always have the right verses or the stories were adapted so that picture on the ornament didn’t always align with the children’s version of the Bible story. Also, my kids were too little to put the stickers in the correct place and couldn’t thread or tie the string. So, we gave up after a few days. I am going to give this another try next year.

The Jesus Story Book Bible Christmas Collection

This is my favorite Advent Resource! It tells the nativity story and includes a daily Jesse Tree devotional.

Features 16 buttons that activate 20 seconds of classic Christmas music or narration by award-winning British actor David Suchet

Includes four beloved Christmas hymns: O Come, O Come, EmmanuelGod Rest Ye Merry GentlemenWe Three Kings; and Joy to the World.

If you have kids 10 and under this is first resource I would buy. I can’t say enough good things about the Jesus Story Book Bible! The entire Bible is read aloud here if you want a preview.

Jesus Story Book Bible Advent Cards

I loved using the Jesus Story Book Collection so much last year that this year I decided to get the cards that matched. I also got this pocket Advent calendar. We were out of town the first week of December. So, I decided not to have an actual Jesse tree this year. Next year I will be able to put the Jesse tree ornaments and the cards in the pockets of this calendar together. We have this hanging by our dining table.

Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend

St. Nicholas Day was December 6. It was our first year celebrating St. Nicholas Day. I used this book and a video on Formed to give the kids some background on St. Nick. We all left our shoes outside our bedroom doors Monday night and St. Nicholas left some candy in them for the kids to find on Tuesday morning. We decided to give up candy and a few other treats for Advent this year. Candy around the house had kind of gotten out of control after Halloween. So, we are using Advent to sort of reset their expectations about when candy and other treats are appropriate. So, they were really excited about getting those treats from St. Nick!

St Lucy’s Day is December 13.

This is our first Advent celebrating this feast day. Our plan was to put all of our outside lights up over the weekend and wait until Tuesday (the 13th) to turn them all on. However, it rained Sunday and we didn’t get finished. So, the new plan is to move our celebration to Friday and go see the “Shine” Christmas Lights at the Botantical Gardens. St Anne’s Choir is singing there and we are meeting friends. So, I actually like the new plan better even if it is a few days late. These are two books I got to read aloud with the boys this week: Lucy: A Light for Jesus and Lucia: Saint of Light


Formed is like Catholic Netflix. You can register for free through St. Anne Church website. I have been really impressed with the quality of the programming. I was really surprised by how taken my boys were with the Wonderful World of Benjamin Cello. It is kind of like Catholic Mr. Rogers. It entertains them with out making them hyper like Paw Patrol etc.

Brother Francis: Days of Advent

If you are looking for the easy button this Advent, look no further. Sign up for Formed and let Brother Francis lead your family on a daily journey in this special seasonal celebration of the coming of the Lord! Featuring meditations, prayers, and suggested activities to keep our focus on Christ this Christmas. Each day of Advent there is a 3 minute video to watch.

Christmas Manners Lessons

My kids need to be explicitly taught manners. I think some kids just pick up on what is appropriate by watching adults and older kids. This is not the case at my house. My kids need to know the “manners rule” and why it is a rule if I hope to get any compliance out of them.

I love this list of 5 Christmas Manners because it highlights the top 5 manners your kids need to have and gives you 5 Bibles studies for each manner. Most of the manners center around gratitude which is a message my kids need to hear often.

This is a free resource! It is our first year using this list and I am hoping it will help smooth out our family get togethers.

Connected Christmas; Advent Unit Study

This is a 3 week Unit Study for Advent/ Christmas. It features a picture book of the day with related recipes and handicrafts. There is also scripture, artwork, poetry, and hymn studies for each week. This is thorough, thoughtful, and good for a variety of ages. We are working through this with 2 other families and our kids are loving “Christmas School”.

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