Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Advent Calendar: Making Christmas about Christ

For the last few years, I’ve been organising Advent Wreath candle-lighting evenings for Zach and his friends – a small way of ensuring that Christmas remains about Christ, not the tree, not the presents, not the food. We’d meet on every Sunday of Advent (the period of preparation before Christmas; this year, the first Sunday of Advent was November 27) and light candles on an Advent Wreath, praying together and singing Christmas hymns like Silent Night and O Come, All Ye Faithful. The children would talk about what intangible things they would offer Baby Jesus that Christmas – good deeds (“Is not hitting your sister a good deed?”), new resolutions (“I will eat my food!”, “I will try not to hit someone”), great revelations to us parents and always heart-warming... This year, I have not been able to make it happen... too busy, too tired... But, because I refuse to let Christmas go to just the gifts, I’ve made an Advent Calendar for Zach, and for a few of his friends.

A little Bible passage alongside a treat or a Christmas ornament
An Advent Calendar counts down the days from December 1 to Christmas Day, and each day, the child gets to open a little box/ envelope/ stocking and receive some reminder that Christ is coming. Although Advent Calendars often just feature chocolate and other small gifts, Zach is now 12 and ours will also feature little Bible passages that I found on Sweeter than Sweets. I went to that old haunt of mine – Crawford Market – to look for 25 suitable receptacles and discovered I didn’t have much choice finally worked out that little foil takeaway boxes were my best bet. I used the gorgeous numbers from Makoodle, and Zach, Suchita and I spent two evenings filling the little boxes with a Bible passage and a treat (candy or lyrics to a carol or a little decoration). And last night, so awfully late, we delivered them to Zach’s friends.
Wish them – and all of us, their parents – the joy of a prayerful Christmas.
PS: I know it's late, tomorrow is December 1, but you would like to make this Advent Calendar and would like a Word file of the Bible passages with pictures (the original file does not have them), please email me or leave a comment and I will send it to you. Remember, you do not need to use foil boxes, you can use anything - even brown paper bags - as long as you have 25 of them!


  1. What a lovely idea Prima. Wonder if I can modify that for my young adults.

  2. Hey Prima,
    Just like you, my parish of St. Thomas More, Scarborough has a similar advent wreath lighting with 4 candles on the wreath for each Sunday of Advent. Before Mass, the priest says a prayer and blesses the wreath while the candle is lit. Also there is an Angel Christmas tree at the Altar for the poor children of the parish. There are a number of angel cut-outs hanging on the tree with the age and gender of the child. Parishioners are asked to pick an Angel and bring a Christmas gift for the Angel child. I have given my children an XBOX 360 for Christmas as the old one became obsolete (not on the Angel tree). I had given them one (XBOX 360) 7 years ago at its launch.


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