The 3 Best Family Advent Calendars

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Are you looking for a fun way to integrate family time, scripture, the Christmas story, and the gospel message into a family tradition? Family advent calendars are a wonderful way to do this during the holiday season. Yet, that is a lot to pack into one tradition! Is it even possible?

I’m here to say that it is completely possible! There are amazing creators across the world that has embarked on bringing family advent calendars that are not only fun but teach truths that can make an eternal impact.

family advent calendars

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Why Have a Family Advent Calendar Tradition?

The top reason I like to cite as a reason to have an advent calendar tradition is that it adds consistency to your holiday schedule. We all know it; the Christmas season is busy. Teaching your children, the true meaning of Christmas should always take priority during the commercialized holiday season, yet it’s easy to let it slide down the line of ‘to-dos’.

An intentional family advent calendar allows you to have a consistent teaching tool that will walk your family through bible verse advent cards, the story of Christmas, and the true message of Jesus.

Ideas for Family Advent Calendars Activities

Growing up, my favorite part of our advent calendar was when we got to do something! The calendar was red and green with pockets for each day leading up to December 25th. It looked something like this one.

Reading a Bible verse or getting a small trinket was fun, but my mother made sure most of the calendar was filled with activities. Depending on what type of advent calendar you use, you can make your own activities and traditions up as you go. That is certainly what my mother did, and the advent calendar, to this day, still remains one of my favorite Christmas memories.

Here are a few ideas if you customize your own advent calendar!

  1. Bake cookies as a family.
  2. Take cookies to a neighbor or friend.
  3. Create homemade Christmas cards and deliver them to a nursing home.
  4. Ring Christmas bells with Salvation Army as a family.
  5. Shop for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and then pack at a distribution center.
  6. Go caroling with friends and family.
  7. Create gift bags for your teachers at your local school.

The Top 3 Family Advent Calendars

There are three family advent calendars that stick out in my mind as the best of the best. They do not stick to the traditional advent calendar where you just lift a lid or read a Bible verse. These are specifically created to form tradition and teaching in your home.

The Shepherds Treasures – A Elf on the Shelf Alternative

The Shepherds Treasure is the family advent calendar tradition that we have used over the last couple of years. It is an Elf on the Shelf alternative with an advent calendar element. Similar to Elf on the Shelf, children will find their shepherd every morning from December 1st-25th. On Christmas day the shepherd finds baby Jesus, and so do your children!

The unique thing about this tradition is the book that accompanies the shepherd. It goes into great detail about the birth of Christ, how to receive Christ as your Savior, and an intriguing story that will have your kids coming back for more!

It also comes with a pack of advent cards. These advent cards are meant to add the ‘action step’ element to this tradition.

Sometimes they use advent cards to mark a Christmas story scripture verse. Others focus on giving, doing an act of service as a family, or doing something fun like making Christmas cookies.

Replacement cards are available, or you can download my own printable advent cards to use from year to year!

advent cards

The Giving Manger – A Kindness Tradition

This tradition is aimed at spreading true generosity and kindness throughout your family and friends. The Giving Manger book will walk you through the tradition and how to incorporate it into your family’s daily routine. It does not come with advent cards, so you will need to get your own, or you can print some off through my Advent Calendar Bible verses post.

This is a perfect family advent calendar tradition for those with younger children. The task of doing something kind is a simple enough concept for little ones to grasp, and they love making Jesus’ manger bed softer each day!

You could even use Bible Study Printables kindness countdown calendar for those little ones that need help with ideas!

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift – The Story of Christmas

This tends to be the most complicated family advent calendar tradition of the three. However, I think it has some of the best rewards. The family companion book is what has the advent calendar and traditions. It has daily family devotions, scriptures, activities, and beautiful illustrations.

Original Book – Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

There is also a pop-up tree calendar that you can get to hang the ornaments on from your daily advent/devotional lesson.

Other Family Advent Calendar Ideas

  • If you are looking for something simple, try a wood nativity advent calendar. These are beautiful and can be customized however you wish! This one is very reasonably priced and is from Kurt Alder.
  • A twist on the wood feature is this adorable Christmas truck with boxes in the back! How original and cute!
  • Still another simple family advent calendar is the toy one! I do love these for the joy that they bring children. 25 days of toys leading up to one of the greatest gift occasion days of the year. A child will love it! There are all sorts of different options like this truck one or a Lego Christmas calendar.
  • This nativity calendar is another fun way to do advent as a family.

Using Family Advent Calendars

Finding the perfect family advent calendar is the first step. The real trick comes with committing and remembering to use them throughout the holiday season.

Advent calendars can be an intentional way to teach the gospel to your children thought-out the holiday season. Find your perfect calendar and start a tradition!

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