I love celebrating the Christmas season with my children! Advent is not something we paid much attention to growing up, besides watching the wreath fill up with light at church every Sunday. Maybe it's a trend, but if so, it's a very good one. Advent. which means "the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event" helps us anticipate the coming of our savior, both 2000 years ago, and in the future.
I am not sure our advent resources will be relegated only to morning time, but I do know that I want the morning time feel during this season- all of us sitting around the table together, learning and reading about Jesus. Other lessons will be scaled back to make way for celebrating the coming king. I've also included ideas for a Mom's basket, and an evening basket, which we've started doing with my husband after dinner.
Each year, we've gathered a couple of new resources, giving us many to choose from. I've mentioned the age category that I think they're appropriate for, even though all of my children participate in what we do, whether it's meant for an older or younger audience.
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We will use this year, with my middle child (4) in mind. I often gear our Christmas activities towards my older child, but this year, I think he will be so excited for this. I love the read alouds that are included, and the fact that there are cards to help with recitation. As usual, activities that don't fit my vision for our Charlotte Mason homeschool will be left out, but there aren't many of those.
We've used this the past two years, and we adored it! It is such a sweet way to celebrate Christmas, and has beautiful videos to watch for guidance, a gorgeous printable Advent calendar that my children loved to flip open each day, copywork pages, and more. It can be adapted for children of different ages (we have omitted the copywork the past two years) so a wide array of children can participate.
Pam Barnhill, the queen of morning time, offers free morning time plans on her website. These include living books, music study, and liturgy. We are tucking these away for another year when our kids are slightly older, but they look lovely!
The second version of A Gentle Advent includes readings to hold your own Jesse Tree. A Jesse Tree traces the arrival of Jesus all the way back through the Old Testament, with scripture and prophecy from long before his birth. There is an advent calendar, printable ornaments to put on the tree each day, and other ideas to celebrate advent. To me, this resource looks appropriate for children five and up, with some modifications for non-writers.
Christmas Books and Devotionals
Great read-alouds are crucial to the morning basket! We read most of these every year.
We picked this book up at the library a few years ago, and I couldn't believe that I hadn't heard of it before. Pam Munoz Ryan is a talented author, and this book is no exception. I love that it more accurately portrays the first Christmas scene for young readers, rather than the snowy night, jingle-bell idea that has become the Christmas ideal.
This is a longer book that we usually take several days to read. It is gorgeously illustrated, and beautifully tells the tale of heart-transformation during Christmas time. While younger children enjoy it, it would be most appreciated with children five and up.
There are two advent storybooks that I think are worth adding to a morning basket, although probably not in the same year! This one tells the story of Benjamin Bear, who is making a pilgrimage to see the Christ child. It is very sweet for young children, ages 0-6, with just one short story to read each day of advent.
This advent storybook is somewhat more Christ-centered. It contains 25 stories about why Jesus came on Christmas. I ordered this book for my two younger children, but it hasn't arrived yet.
We bought this devotional last Christmas, and it is so sweet! I love how there are questions and spaces to write responses, so you can see how each family member changes and grows from year to year. I do wish there was a little more depth to it, but for now, with very young children, it is great for our family. This is what we do for our "evening basket" after dinner. Usually, my husband reads it to them so he can also be involved with our advent celebration.
This is a beautifully illustrated account of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. It's in the language of the King James Bible, which is so lovely to listen to, and the pictures make it engaging and understandable for the littlest learners.
A daily scripture verse in alphabetical order that is fun for little ones!
Download a free reading plan that coordinates with the Jesus Storybook Bible. There are even printable ornaments so your children can add an ornament to the tree for each story.
This year's free devotions are intended for each Sunday of advent, but once you download your plans, you can acecss past year's devotions as well.
There are 24 chapters in the book of Luke, which makes it a perfect, free advent resource. Read one chapter each day to have an entire account of Jesus's birth, life, death and resurrection.
Rooted Childhood Christmas Collection- If you've been hanging out here for very long, you know that my kids and I really enjoy Rooted Childhood. They just released a Christmas Collection, that will be a beautiful addition to our seasonal collections. I am planning on choosing one handicraft to work on each week of advent. As a warning, there is some Waldorf-inspired content in this collection, which I know some Christians avoid.
Mom's Morning Basket
I love the idea of having a morning basket for mom, which I first heard of from Lara at Everyday Graces. Stocking up a morning basket for myself, which I can do before my kids wake up, is a great way to face the day restored, and to focus my own heart of Jesus's arrival, too.
This course, which is part online, part printables, is such a refreshing way to prepare our hearts and homes for the season. I loved the Bible journaling pages, and the tutorials for festive decorations, like an evergreen wreath. I'm looking forward to using this again this year.
A few years ago, I read The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel, and really enjoyed it. Just weeks after finishing the book, my husband and I just happened to visit a church the day that Lee Strobel was the guest speaker. Now I'm a big fan! I was excited to find this free advent resource this year, that I think I will use with my husband.
I just ordered this advent devotional, so I'm not sure what I think of it yet, but I can let you know ASAP 🙂 It has great reviews on Amazon.
Volume One of Charlotte Mason's poetry collection, Saviour of the World, focuses on the holy infancy. What a refreshing read for mothers during the Advent season! You can find it for free thanks to the ladies of Ambleside Online.