12 Catholic Activities for Families

Advent, as a season of preparation, offers a wonderful opportunity for your family to engage in activities that create a deeper connection to the true meaning of Christmas. This year choose one or two activities that resonate with your family, and keep the focus on the spiritual significance of the season. Whether it's creating an Advent wreath, reading and discussing daily Scripture readings, or participating in acts of kindness and charity, these intentional activities foster a sense of anticipation and reflection. Guide your family towards a Christmas filled with faith, love, and joy.

1. DIY Advent Wreath

Creating your own Advent wreath is a simple and meaningful activity. And it only takes a few steps! The wreath can be a focal point for your family's prayers and reflections. Each Sunday of Advent gather around the wreath and recite the Advent Wreath Prayers together. These prayers mark the progression of the season as you light a new candle each week. Through this practice, you can deepen your family's spiritual connection to the Advent season and cultivate a sense of anticipation and reverence as you await the birth of Jesus.

Download DIY Advent Wreath Instructions

2. DIY Advent Calendar 

An Advent calendar is a wonderful tool to engage your family in the anticipation of Christmas. By opening a new box each day, you can mark the passage of time and create moments of joy and reflection. Each box is filled with daily inspiration that will help your kids grow through Bible verses, reflections, and holiday fun!

Open the first box on December 1st. This tradition helps build excitement and sets a daily reminder of the significance of the Advent season as you journey towards the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Create Your Own Advent Calendar!

3. Celebrate the Saints

December 6th marks the Feast of St. Nicholas, while December 13th celebrates the Feast of St. Lucy, and both days offer fun traditions. On the evening of December 5th, children often leave out their shoes or stockings, eagerly anticipating the arrival of St. Nicholas, who leaves candy or small gifts. Then, on December 13th, families can honor St. Lucy by having the oldest daughter (or a willing participant) serve a sweet treat to the entire family. Sharing the stories of these saints with your family is a wonderful way to learn about the inspiring individuals who came before us, embraced their faith and left lasting legacies.

Celebrate These Feast Days

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4. Sing Christmas Carols

Did you know that some Christmas carols, like The Twelve Days of Christmas, actually have Catholic roots? Gather together and listen to songs that depict the birth of Jesus. Explore the rich imagery presented in these carols and talk about their symbolism and significance. Consider timeless classics like "O Holy Night," which portrays the profound love and redemption brought by Jesus' birth. Reflect on the peacefulness and serenity captured in "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger." And embrace the longing and anticipation expressed in "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." Through these songs, you can deepen your family's understanding and appreciation of the true meaning of Christmas.

5. Give God Time Every Day

Prayer is an essential practice to prepare your hearts for the Advent season. Set aside dedicated time as a family to come together and pray. Use the Advent Prayer for the Family, allowing its words to guide your intentions and foster a spirit of anticipation. You can also use the daily BEST ADVENT EVER video as a prompt for reflection and discussion. By uniting in prayer, your family can create the space for spiritual growth, deepening your connection to each other and discover the true meaning of Advent.

6. Did Someone Say Candy Cane?

The candy cane holds beautiful symbolism related to Jesus' birth and sacrifice on the cross. Shaped like a shepherd's crook, it signifies Jesus as the Good Shepherd who guides and protects his flock. The white color represents the purity and innocence of his birth, while the red stripes symbolize the blood shed on the cross for our redemption. When inverted, the candy cane forms the letter "J" for Jesus. Hang candy canes on your Christmas tree as a visual reminder of these meaningful messages. Then gather as a family and read the Nativity Story from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Luke's Gospel highlights the role of the shepherds and their encounter with the newborn Jesus!

7. DIY Jesse Tree

The Jesse Tree, named after King David's father, is a wonderful tool to help children delve into the stories of the Old Testament. Through the use of stories and accompanying pictures, kids can gain a deeper understanding of the prophecies the foretold the birth of Jesus.

Start on December 1st and hang an ornament each day. These ornaments serve as visual representations of significant biblical events and characters, connecting the family to the rich Biblical history. As the Jesse Tree unfolds, children can witness the unfolding plan of salvation and appreciate the continuity between the Old and New Testaments

Download the Jesse Tree Instructions

Download Printable Ornaments

8. The Advent of Christmas

Introduce seasonally appropriate books about Advent and Christmas! Reading together as a family creates cherished memories, instills a love for literature, and nurtures a child's spiritual growth during this special time of year.

One book to consider is The Advent of Christmas by Matt Maher. This book is filled with memorable rhymes and vibrant illustrations, captivating young readers and immersing them in the atmosphere of peace and joy that accompanies the holiday season.

Buy The Advent of Christmas

9. Share the Season

During the Christmas season it's important to remember those who may feel lonely or grieve the loss of a loved one. Organize a visit to a nursing home where you can share the joy of Christmas by singing carols and spending time with the residents. Extend kindness to an elderly neighbor by preparing homemade cookies and heartfelt cards to brighten their day. These acts of compassion and thoughtfulness can bring comfort and warmth to those who may be experiencing a challenging time during the holiday season. By reaching out and showing care, you can help spread the spirit of love and goodwill that Christmas represents.

10. Dedicate One Night for Family

It's easy for December to disappear amidst the hustle and bustle. Designate at least one night for a meaningful at-home family gathering. Set aside time to watch a favorite Christmas movie together, drink hot cups of eggnog or other festive treats.Talk about the season, reminisce about Christmas memories from the past and share your favorite part of the Advent season thus far.

11. Play with a Nativity Scene

Harness the power of play to engage children in the story of Jesus' birth during the Advent season. Create a small nativity scene that is easy for your kids to play and interact with. Through this hands-on approach, children can develop a deeper understanding and connection to the nativity story, bringing it to life in their own unique way. Additionally, consider visiting a Live Nativity at a local church, where your family can witness a live enactment of the Christmas story. These interactive experiences help children grasp the significance of Jesus' birth in a tangible and memorable way.

12. Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus

Celebrate the birth of Jesus by hosting a birthday party in his honor on Christmas Day! Gather your family and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Indulge in a sweet treat, such as angel food cake, symbolizing the heavenly significance of the occasion. Through this simple yet meaningful tradition, you can instill in your family the joyous recognition of Jesus' central role in Christmas.

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