- Buy candles — I have waited too long in the past, and many stores will sell out of Advent candles. The past couple of years I have bought the beeswax kits to make our own (super quick and easy) from Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles. They have a variety of different sets you could purchase, and right now they are offering free shipping. We usually roll the beeswax sheets into candles with the kids over Thanksgiving weekend, and they are so excited to help get ready for Advent.
- Create (or update) Advent playlist — Don’t go into Advent without music for the season. It is so important. I usually have it playing at home throughout the day when we are just hanging out, and the music and lyrics help keep us fixed on preparing our hearts for Christ’s arrival at Christmas. It can be time-consuming to search for the best music, but I have a surprise — I’m going to share my playlist with you! I’m in the process of creating a new playlist on Spotify, and when I get it done (in the next couple of weeks) I will email it out. So if you want it, please sign-up, and I will send it your way! I will also include some great titles that aren’t available on Spotify that you can purchase elsewhere.
- Have a personal devotion plan — Ask the Holy Spirit to show you his plan for your Advent. Select a devotional plan or determine how you will set this season apart in your prayer life. I have signed-up for Bishop Robert Barron’s Advent reflections in the past. The Magnificat has an Advent booklet as well. There are lots of printed or digital options out there.
- Have a family plan — How will your family celebrate Advent together on a daily and weekly basis. Perhaps you will light Advent candles each night at the dinner table and sing “O Come Emmanuel.” Or perhaps you will recite the “O Antiphons” December 17 – December 23. Decide what will be meaningful and beautiful to your family and what will bring all of you closer to Christ and ready to celebrate his birth. Remember, it is always a good time to start a new tradition!
- Prepare some version of a Jesse Tree — the Jesse Tree tradition really highlights the whole meaning behind Advent. It traces the people and events in salvation history, and it reminds us of the long waiting that led up to Christ’s birth. Ann Voskamp’s book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, is a beautiful resource for families, and I plan to use it as my children get older. I currently use The Reason for the Season Jesse Tree ornaments with the Jesus Storybook Bible with my preschool-aged children.
It doesn’t take too much prep to have a beautiful and reflective Advent. It’s not about decorations and buying things. It’s about creating an atmosphere in your heart and home that is reflective of waiting on the Lord and anticipates Christ’s coming in our lives.