30 Ways to Nurture your ‘Advent Spirit’


1. Wear purple (except during Gaudete Sunday…that’s rose).

2. Use violent violet (thanks for the catch, Theresa!/ rose-colored items in your home and/or office —

  • Home: towels, placemats, tablecloths, vases, flowers, blankets, pillows, sheets, coasters, aprons, dishes, cups…
  • Office: Pencil/pen holder, folders, paper, pens/pencils, sticky notes, thumbtacks, paperclips…

You could even make your own decorations.

3. Make an Advent wreath, and at least ‘use it’ when you eat meals and/or pray. If fire frightens you, it doesn’t have to include real candles. My husband and I have LED candles due to apartment complex restrictions…I wrap the bottoms of them in appropriately-colored tissue paper.

4. Read something from Scripture daily or at least on Sundays. (I mean, go above and beyond hearing it at Mass.)

5. Read the Pope’s homily daily or at least on Sundays. Download the free Missio app for this, if you’re mobile-y inclined.

6. Make a spiritual goal for yourself each day. For example: I’m working on my self-discipline so that it’s easier for me to fight temptation toward laziness, gluttony, wasting time, speaking without thinking, etc., so one of my goals was to put away all my dirty dishes that day before doing anything else. Simple.

7. Use an Advent calendar. Don’t got one? Make one or use XT3’s online Advent calendar.

8. Make a Jesse tree. Similar to an Advent calendar, but a little more proactive and engaging. Danielle Bean gathers some related links here. Here’s a great Pinterest board of Jesse tree inspiration.

9. Place an empty manger in your home or in your office. It can be as simple as cutting a flap off a cardboard box and sticking something hay-like inside (ex: grass, yellow construction paper, gold tinsel).

10. Pray an Advent prayer.

11. Learn about Bethlehem and its holy sites from its caretakers, the Franciscans.

12. Bake or cook something liturgically-seasonal. Catholic Cuisine blog has a fantastic collection of recipes and suggestions.

13. Go to Confession. Advent is a time of preparation not just for Christmas, but for the Second Coming of Christ. Are you ready?

14. Clean out your closet and donate — especially warm clothes and blankets — to a local charity for the homeless. Remember that Mary and Joseph had no place to stay when Jesus was born.

15. Donate food to a local food bank; or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Many such charities lack manpower during this time of year, when people are busy shopping, partying or staying home. Can you give just an hour? Try it.

16. Listen to Advent hymns like this one:

17. Schedule quiet time. That means taking time away from busy or noisy activities — TV, Facebook, Pinterest, shopping, etc.

18. Create a visual reminder of Heaven. Gather up all your holy cards with images of saints/angels and display them somewhere in your home or office. Let this remind you to prepare your heart for the Second Coming of Christ.

19. Pray for gift recipients as you wrap Christmas presents.

20. Anticipate conflicts or uncomfortable situations you may have with relatives or acquaintances whom you’ll see at Christmas parties, and pray for the grace to treat them with love and respect as Christ would.

21. Give to a crisis pregnancy center in memory of the Pregnant Blessed Mother.

22. Teach your children about how a baby grows inside his mother, and relate the lesson to the baby Jesus/Advent.

23. Participate in an ‘Angel Tree’ project within your parish or community, which encourages participants to purchase a gift for a local child in need.

24. Watch an Old Testament movie as a reminder of how God prepared humanity for a Savior. Check your local library system or favorite streaming video service.
Suggestions from me and my social media circles:

  • The Ten Commandments (1956)
  • Prince of Egypt (1998)
  • Joseph in Egypt (1995)
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1999)
  • One Night with the King (2006)
  • The Book of Esther (2013)
  • The Book of Ruth (2009)

25. Bake bread. Remember, and teach your family, that Jesus was born in Beth-Lehem (House of Bread) in a stable and laid in a feeding trough. He is the Bread of Life. Here’s a simple recipe for olive oil matzah.

26. Meditate on pregnant Mary singing to unborn baby Jesus. Imagine her feelings, her mindset, her union with God’s will, and her anticipation. Listen to this ancient Aramaic lullaby as you meditate.

27. Pray a Rosary and unite your heart with Mary and Joseph’s.

28. Pray as a family in imitation of the Holy Family. Daily family prayer is ideal, but if that sounds intimidating, try just once a week. Keep it simple; praying together is what matters.

29. Educate yourself about Advent, and pass your knowledge on to family and friends. Here’s a summary of 10 things to know about Advent.

30. Cultivate joy in your life. Don’t let our money-hungry, noisy, busy society pressure you so much that you cave into stress. Advent is a time for healthy preparation and prayerfulness. Remind yourself daily that God loves you so much that He sent you His Son—to be your Savior, Friend, Teacher, Comforter, Healer, and King. Let Advent be a time to renew your friendship with Jesus…and in the process, renew your joy.

Well, that’s my brainstorm. How are you celebrating Advent?



      • We are doing well. I am having a bit of rough time with not having my mom around. Not sure if you knew but she died last year on Nov 3,2012 at the age of 50 from a heart attack in her sleep. I have my family, friends, and the entire Catholic community both online and offline that will help me get through this rough patch.

      • Joe, sorry to hear that you’re having to re-experience a lot of those difficult feelings and missing your mom. I have learned that being with family, visiting with friends, and prayer are so important in the grieving. I will remember you in prayer.

  1. Angela…this was a great post. GREAT ideas. Do you mind if I chuckle at the *violent* towels? Do they attack you when you go to dry your hands : )

    Thank you for all these reminders. So good to remember it’s Advent…not Christmas.

  2. Very helpful post. Many things I wouldn’t have thought of. I’m definitely inspired to try some of these things in the next few weeks of Advent.

    Also I’m so happy I found your blog! I attended the CWC in San Antonio a few months ago and loved your talk. Thank you for sharing and I’m looking forward to reading your future posts. If you have any time, please check out my humble blog. I’m just getting started but I’m very excited for the posts I have planned for the next few weeks. Take care and God bless you, Angela! 🙂

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