Advent Guide: Top 5 Ways We’re Focusing More on Jesus This Christmas Season

Whether you start celebrating Christmas early or “late”, there’s no denying that the holidays are in full swing. Cool, cloudy days, a peppermint latte, the River Walk draped in lights; it’s such an enchanting and beautiful time of year. But amidst all the beauty around us comes the materialistic side of Christmas.

Between Black Friday and the massive amount of holiday shopping emails hitting out inboxes, it feels like everyone is scrambling to get the perfect gift for all the people on their list. And I am no exception. The more I focus on my lists, the less it feels that I am focusing on Jesus. Sure, I go to church every Sunday and on Christmas Eve, but it never really felt like enough because I was still too caught up in the commercial side of things. Last year, I found some very helpful resources that helped us get excited about the birth of Jesus and really focus on the meaning of the season. So, here are the top five ways we’re focusing more on Jesus this Christmas season.

The Advent Wreath

Advent wreathAdvent begins December 3rd this year! Buy or craft an Advent wreath with 3 purple candles and one pink, a new one to be lit each Sunday before Christmas. We like to light a candle during dinner and say a special prayer, that you can find here. Get the kids involved by letting them light a candle (with your help or supervision), read the prayer, or blow the candles out. My four year old absolutely loves blowing candles out (soon after they’re lit), so the Advent wreath is a firm family favorite in our house. Plus you get a special, candle lit dinner to look forward to once a week. You can’t go wrong!

The Jesse Tree

Catholic Family Crate Jesse Tree Ornaments Activity PackThe Jesse Tree was new to me, but it’s a fun, quick, daily activity for kids who are excitedly counting down the days until Christmas (linked below). Each day of Advent, your child can color a new ornament with a coordinating bible verse, which recounts how God prepared for Jesus to be born throughout the generations. (Faithward, 2023). My favorite Jesse Tree is this free printable from Catholic Family Crate; it includes a 28 ornaments, a Christmas tree tracker, and a Bible reading log. Simply print and cut out each ornament for your child to color and hang on the tree. This is a very meaningful take on a toy or candy filled advent calendar, and helps get you and your family excited about the birth of Jesus!

Jesse Tree Ornaments Activity Pack

The Giving Manger

The first time I read this book, I cried. The ending really caught me off guard and brought me to tears, and that has continued each year! It’s a great way to get the family involved with performing acts of kindness, which are ultimately for Jesus. This is how it works: set up the wooden manger, and hide baby Jesus until Christmas. Take a piece of straw and place it in the manger for each good deed you do. The idea is that by Christmas, you will have provided a bed for Jesus to lay in. Bring baby Jesus out on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. This is a great visual reminder of how many acts of kindness we are actually doing, and a way of encouraging ourselves to find more ways to give in a season full of receiving. 

St. Andrew’s Novena

For my fellow Catholics who are familiar with Novenas, this one is a bit different. Instead of praying one prayer a day for nine days, this one is prayed fifteen times a day, for 25 days. Beginning November 30th and ending on Christmas Eve, it is also called the Christmas Anticipation Novena. This prayer helps us visualize the coming nativity, and praying it each day helps us stay focused on Jesus, while also asking God for our specific prayer intentions. I like to post the prayer on the fridge so I can say it while I’m washing dishes or preparing food. Or, if you have a quiet prayer corner, this Novena makes an excellent prayer meditation! Try using a rosary to help you keep count. 

Liturgical Sticker Advent Calendar

Liturgical Advent Sticker CalendarBe a Heart has released a really fun take on an Advent calendar, and it may be one of our new favorite resources for the season (linked below). It comes with an empty living room scene and a booklet of stickers, one to be applied each day of Advent. Each sticker comes with information and activities based on the day, whether it’s celebrating a Saint’s feast day or a Sunday in Advent. This a great way to keep every day centered on Christ, while providing activities for the kids and different ways to give this holiday season.

Liturgical Sticker Advent Calendar

For extra freebies, check out the Little Rose Shop. She has beautiful advent coloring/activity pages, plus a super cute St. Nicolas printable.

We all love a good sale, and I love giving gifts, but it’s very easy to get caught up in the commercial side of things these days. And no matter how much I love seeing the joy on my child’s face on Christmas morning, Christmas is about more than toys. Incorporating these resources has made our Advent so much more fulfilling. So whether you add more prayer to your daily life, or Advent activities for the kids, I hope these resources help you and your family stay more focused on Jesus this Christmas season. And on that note, I can officially say, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Miranda Martin
A true south Texas native with a brief stint in Lubbock and DFW, Miranda is happily settled just outside of San Antonio. Not one to sit around at home, she is constantly on the go, with a coffee in hand! No matter where her daily activities take her, her two boys Nash (2019) and Lochlan (2022) are usually in tow. She is happily married to a wonderful, dad-joke-filled husband, who she runs a Landscape Architecture firm with. Miranda and her husband, Jordan, both have bachelors degrees in Landscape Architecture from Texas Tech University, go Red Raiders! When she is home, she spends her time tending to the small farm they’ve accumulated, coming up with more projects for the to do list, and all things homemaking. She lives for an evening escape to La Frite, loves the Floresville Peanut Festival, and is absolutely fascinated by the rich history of the San Antonio Missions.