100 Resources for Advent
It’s no secret that we love Advent in our family! A Gentle Advent has propelled our family into so many wonderful holiday traditions that truly keep our focus on the One who we are celebrating!
I didn’t always know much about Advent.
It seems a lifetime ago (and in some ways it was), but as I was growing up, all I ever knew of Advent was a wilted looking artificial wreath that sat atop the organ in our small Southern Baptist church for 4 weeks a year. The candles seemingly random and lit before services held no meaning at all for me.
But when I became a mother and the pressing in of the bustling Christmas season that is the “norm” of our culture made me feel withered and worn, I knew there was a better way to celebrate the remembrance of the birth of our Lord and the anticipation of His return as King.
The study and research and reflection that stemmed from those early days of searching have become an Ebenezer stone in my life. I look forward to our season of stillness and wonder, the hospitality we are blessed to offer and receive, the study of Scripture and saying of prayers, and the simple act of rejoicing in the Word that became flesh as a family.
It has truly become our most treasured time of the year.
And to help get you started on your own family traditions, we have 100 awesome resources for you right here! Simply choose a book, carol, service project, or craft for each day to get going.
25 Books for Advent and Christmas
- A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens – Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited miser, is visited by a series of ghosts who help him discover the true meaning of Christmas.
- A Song for Young King Wenceslas – Cecil Maiden – In 10th century Bohemia, 14-year-old Wenceslas has to fight for his throne against the pagan forces led by his mother and brother. This book is a bit harder to find but well worth the effort!
- Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters – A Coretta Scott King Award winning holiday book that describes Christmas on a plantation in the pre-Civil War era. This book describes Christmas from the viewpoints of both the big house family and those living in the slave quarters.
- Christmas in the Country – Cynthia Rylant – This delightful story describes a snowy Christmas in the country. This book is a reminder that sometimes simpler is better when it comes to enjoying the holidays.
- I Saw Three Ships – Elizabeth Gouge – Polly is sure that something special is going to happen this Christmas so she leaves her bedroom window open on Christmas Eve. When she wakes up the next morning, she discovers that more than one miracle has taken place.
- Letters from Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien – Every December, Tolkien’s children would receive a letter from Father Christmas. They told tales of life at the North Pole. Children are sure to delight in these stories involving reindeer on the loose, clumsy polar bears, goblins, and more.
- One Wintry Night – Ruth Bell Graham – This unique version of the Christmas story takes readers on a journey from Creation to Resurrection as they listen to the story unfold with a young mountain boy who is hearing it for the first time.
- Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce (for older children) – Stanley Weintraub – Early on in World War I, troops on both sides laid down their weapons in order to celebrate Christmas together.
- Tailor of Gloucester – Poor tailor mouse is freezing in his workshop during a hard winter. He has a very important job to complete, but he is running out of thread – and out of time. Luckily, his friends pitch in to help save the day.
- The Candle in the Window – Grace Johnson – It’s Christmas Eve, and Gunther misses his wife and son when a stranger appears and encourages him to place a candle in his window. She says this candle will light the way for a visit from the Christ Child.
- The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the village, and he is lonely. No one knows of the sadness he has hidden away. One day, a stranger approaches him and what happens next is a Christmas miracle.
- The Crippled Lamb – Max Lucado – Joshua is a young, crippled lamb who can’t run and play with the others. Though Joshua feels sad, God shows him that HE has a purpose for everyone’s life.
- The Gift of the Magi – Henry – Della and Jim long to give each other Christmas gifts, but they can’t afford it. Each makes a sacrifice to get the other what they really want. While the gifts are useless, the couple’s love grows stronger through these acts of love.
- The Glorious Impossible – Madeleine L’Engle – The birth of Jesus was a glorious impossible. Celebrate the miracle of God’s love in this beautifully illustrated picture book.
- The Legend of Saint Nicholas – Anselm Grun – This picture book tells the story of the life and miracles of Saint Nicholas. He was well-known for his acts of kindness and generosity and is celebrated with a feast on December 6.
- The Legend of the Poinsettia – Tomie dePaola – This Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be a symbol of Christmas. It’s also a gentle reminder that it truly is the thought that counts when it comes to giving gifts.
- The Story of the Other Wise Man – Henry van Dyke – During the time of Jesus’ birth, a fourth wise man sells all he owns to buy a gift he wants to present to Jesus. Though he doesn’t get to journey with the rest of the wise men, he sets out on a quest that has an unexpected ending.
- The Tale of Three Trees – Angela Hunt – Three trees growing on a mountain dream of what they want to become when they’re grown. Their wishes come true in the most unexpected of ways.
- Uncle Vova’s Tree – Patricia Polacco – Take a look at the Russian Orthodox holiday of Epiphany. Explore the traditions, costumes, and decorations that are associated with this special day.
- Jotham’s Journey (A Family Story for Advent Series) – This exciting story follows Jotham as he journeys across Israel to find his family. He encounters thieves and robbers as well as wise men and shepherds before ultimately finding his way to the Savior who was born in Bethlehem.
- Bartholomew’s Passage (A Family Story for Advent Series) – This exciting story follows Bartholomew after Roman soldiers destroy his village and his family has to run. He is enslaved but manages to escape and makes his way back to his family in Bethlehem. Along the way Bartholomew befriends Jotham!
- Tabitha’s Travels (A Family Story for Advent Series) – This exciting story follows Tabitha as she journeys with her family to her father’s birthplace. Along the way, she befriends Jotham and Bartholomew, meets and assists Mary and Joseph just before Christ’s birth, and ends her travels at the stable in Bethlehem.
- Ishtar’s Odyssey (A Family Story for Advent Series) – This exciting story follows Ishtar, the son of a wise man, as his caravan follows the Star of Bethlehem. He eventually meets up with Jotham, Bartholomew, and Tabitha who have been having their own adventures as well.
- The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree – This book is inspired by the true story of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and tells the story of Depression-era eight-year-old Henry and his father, who sells Christmas trees. It is a heart-warming tale about kindness, community, and generosity.
- Twas the Evening of Christmas – The biblical story of Jesus’ birth is told in the style of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
25 Family Service Projects for Advent
- Bake Christmas goody baskets and deliver them to neighbors, family, or friends.
- Clean up litter in your neighborhood or around your community.
- Collect grocery coupons to give to a local food bank.
- Create blessing bags for the homeless with non-perishable foods and supplies.
- Do yard work for a neighbor like weeding, shoveling snow, or raking leaves.
- Donate canned or boxed goods to your local food pantry.
- Donate school supplies to a local classroom.
- Help out at an animal shelter by feeding the animals, playing with them, or taking them on walks. Make some easy DIY toys to take with you and leave for the animals.
- Leave water and snacks on your porch for delivery drivers.
- Make first aid kits for homeless shelters.
- Offer to create family trees for friends, family, and the elderly at nursing homes. Listen to their stories and ask them questions.
- Offer to go shopping for a sick or elderly neighbor or family member.
- Participate in Operation Christmas Child.
- Pay for someone’s meal in a restaurant or send them dessert before you leave.
- Pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru.
- Put dollar bills on shelves around a dollar store. The best place to hide them is in the toy or candy aisles!
- Read books to children at the library.
- Send a care package to a service member overseas.
- Start a butterfly garden in your neighborhood or community.
- Start a Little Free Library in your neighborhood. (https://littlefreelibrary.org/)
- Take treats and thank you cards to your town’s fire fighters or police officers.
- Take treats to your librarians.
- Tape change to a parking meter.
- Tutor children during or after school.
- Work on a Citizen Science project. (https://www.citizenscience.gov/)
25 Handmade Family Gifts for Advent and Christmas
- Gingerbread body butter made with shea butter, coconut oil, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla extract
- DIY kitchen utensils painted to match your kitchen or favorite colors
- DIY animal planter, which can be made using a dinosaur, elephant, or any animal with a large back
- Funny socks with sayings on the bottom, displayed to all when you sit down and prop your feet up
- Beaded bracelets, with a variety of stones and even letters to spell out the recipient’s name
- Hand-painted mugs, using dishwasher safe Sharpie markers
- Glass pebble magnets to hang on your fridge. You can make these with a variety of background images.
- Edible gifts in a jar, such as homemade hot chocolate mix or chocolate chip cookie mix
- Personalized pillowcases, painted with fabric paint or decorated with iron-on vinyl
- Quirky t-shirts, painted with fabric paint or decorated with iron-on vinyl
- Tin can lanterns punctured with a design, complete with a tea light inside
- Heart-shaped lotion bars made with beeswax, coconut oil, and essential oils
- Mason jar full of brown sugar scrub for your face and body
- Fizzy, scented bath bombs
- Homemade apple butter, made in the crockpot
- A log of frozen cookie dough
- A mason jar of cinnamon honey butter
- A container of stove top potpourri, with candy canes, cinnamon, and other holiday scents
- No-sew fleece blanket to keep you toasty in winter
- Pinecone fire starters for your fireplace
- Coffee mug mixers in a variety of yummy flavors
- Quilled paper Snowflake ornaments
- A personalized wall clock
- Fabric journals to use as diaries, planners, and more
- Tiered jewelry organizer to keep your everyday jewelry handy and organized
25 Hymns and Songs for Advent and Christmas
- “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” sung by Mormon Tabernacle Choir https://youtu.be/XITVY4boYGA
- “A Wondrous Christmas” sung by David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir https://youtu.be/IgqmyimVlfU
- “Away in a Manger” sung by The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral Nelson https://youtu.be/5z2M7H_Zxi8
- “Be Merry” sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/hbdSdIbAEVs
- “Carol of the Bells” https://youtu.be/ZmzOpLLdbzY
- Christmas carols sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/e5SK6olIYcY
- “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” sung by Libera https://youtu.be/ir1hyp_uQ4Y
- “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” https://youtu.be/Qj3_loBrbEQ
- Handel’s Messiah sung by London Symphony Orchestra https://youtu.be/MS3vpAWW2Zc
- “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/shr4O1qGXB4
- “Immanuel – Songs of Praise” sung by Cheshire and the Wirral Children’s Choir https://youtu.be/iE_tuMpIOho
- “In Dulci Jubilo” sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/iXze_TLUTqM
- “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” sung by Celtic Woman https://youtu.be/iPeVIuRjUi4
- “Joy to the World” sung by Mormon Tabernacle Choir https://youtu.be/cLFVZBURSLc
- “Love Came Down at Christmas” sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/FAjB0GVpleg
- “Mary’s Boy Child” sung by Libera https://youtu.be/ZOmup_7G9jA
- “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” sung by Enya https://youtu.be/DPHh3nMMu-I
- “O Holy Night” sung by Celtic Woman/Chloe Agnew https://youtu.be/cZ-8jYpa1-o
- “Once in Royal David’s City” sung by Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols https://youtu.be/1RC34N1TfCQ
- “Rejoice and Be Merry” sung by Mormon Tabernacle Choir https://youtu.be/s7fp3X3w7Os
- “Sussex Carol” sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/yZm2NsZnJHE
- “Te Deum Laudamus” sung by Monks of the Grande Chartreuse https://youtu.be/eR93p23gIwE
- “The Angel Gabriel” sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/xKQIomtXXkc
- “The Holly and the Ivy” sung by The Choir of King’s College https://youtu.be/l7eHtDtZ7hs
- ”Wexford Carol” https://youtu.be/z1NQRklP5Ug
Lara is a saved-by-grace encourager, wife to a wonderful man, and the mama to two precious and precocious boys. Lara believes you are the gate-keeper, grace-giver, and cultivator of your home – a sacred space – and when you step into your God-given capacity you are capable of providing a delightful and life-giving education to your children. Lara has been homeschooling her own children for 6 years, and was blessed to be a homeschool mother’s helper to a Charlotte Mason mama for 3 years before having her own family. You can find her sharing resources and encouragement at Everyday Graces Homeschool.