The Christmas season is a busy one! Celebrating German Advent will help you slow down and enjoy the real reason for the season.
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The Advent of Christmas
I learned a lot while I was a nanny in Germany for a year, but some of my favorite things I came away with were new Christmas traditions. Did you know that Germany is home to many familiar Christmas traditions we celebrate? Some of the most popular traditions that we celebrate that come from Germany include: the wreath, advent calendar, and Christmas tree.
One of the lesser-known German traditions that we celebrate is German Advent.
What is Advent?
Advent is celebrated on the 4 Sundays before Christmas. So usually, the first Advent Sunday is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Advent is a simple tradition the focuses on the advent, or coming of Christ.
On the first Sunday, one candle is lit. On the 2nd Sunday, the first candle and another candle is lit. On the 3rd Sunday, the first 2 candles are lit in addition to the third. And so on.
Advent Wreath Ideas
If you’re going to celebrate Advent, you’ll definitely want some kind of advent wreath.
I scored this advent wreath at a thrift store a few years ago and add new wax candles each year.
DIY Advent Wreath
However, if you aren’t as lucky to find one at a thrift store, you could easily make your own wreath.
What You Need:
- 4 candles
- some type of wreath or container to arrange them in.
Here’s a few examples from the web:
Just remember: your advent wreath doesn’t have to be fancy to celebrate this simple Christmas tradition.
What To Do On Advent Sundays
There is no specific way you have to celebrate Advent Sundays. Typically it is time set aside to gather as friends and family and sing Christmas songs, read poems or stories and enjoy some Christmas goodies.
Here’s a few ideas:
Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared how his family celebrated the advent of Christmas:
“Starting on the 4th Sunday before Christmas, we would get together on Sunday afternoons, light wax candles on a pine advent wreath, enjoy delicious homemade cookies, and read passages of scriptures that center the Christ.
We read accounts of ancient prophets who yearned for the coming of the Messiah. We read scriptures that proclaim the wondrous story of His birth. Each week by singing beautiful Christmas songs and having a fun time together, our family tried to focus on the true meaning of the season. I must admit that delicious hot choocolate, hot apple cider, and tasty homemade cookies helped a lot to catch the joyful feeling of the Christmas season.”
This is what we typically do on the 4 Advent Sundays:
- 1st Advent Sunday- read Christmas stories and drink hot chocolate
- 2nd Advent Sunday- watch a Christmas Devotional with the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square
- 3rd Advent Sunday- have a Christmas sing & share with friends and family. Each person plays, reads, or shares something that reflects the true meaning of Christmas
- 4th Advent Sunday- sing Christmas songs, read scriptures, watch a special Christmas film like this
How to Involve Kids in This Advent Sunday Tradition
Involve kids, too!
We’ve always dressed up my little boy and had him play a piece on the piano. (Okay, so maybe it was an automatic song on the keyboard, but still. )
Play Hand bells
We invested in an inexpensive hand bell set years ago and have our children help us play Christmas hymns on the hand bells. The color-coded song hand bell song sheets made it easy for even our little ones to participate. Of course, we are no professional hand bell choir, but we all love it anyway.
Have a Sing-Along
Another fun way to involve kids is having a sing a-long. I ordered a cheap ukulele off Amazon and this awesome Christmas book. The ukulele is really easy to play. And I’m serious. I have very little musical talent and I can play Christmas songs without much trouble.
I love playing Christmas songs as my children sit around and sing or look at Christmas books or eat festive goodies.
Don’t forget the Christmas goodies!
Serve some special Christmas goodies at your advent night. I like to pull out my cookie press and make some German kipfel. After all, German cookies are perfect for a German Christmas Advent Night!
Advent Treat Ideas
- hot chocolate bar
- cookie press cookies
- sweet chocolate chip cheese ball and vanilla wafers
- The Best English Toffee
Even if you don’t have a connection to Germany/Europe like I do, but you can still celebrate Advent! It’s a great Christmas tradition to help you slow down, enjoy the company of family and friends, and celebrate Christ!
If you have any specific questions or need more ideas, leave a comment below! I’d love to help you start this festive and meaningful tradition with your family.