There are so many ideas that you can use for Advent & Christmas.
And one size does not fit all!
We’ve done the hard work of finding and collating the ideas for you, so that you can choose what is going to work for your congregation and households. We’ll continue to add to these resources as we find more or more are updated.
Below you’ll find a selection of resources. There are resources for intergenerational worship & events. Plus there are resources that you can share with households of all types & ages.
If you’re looking for something that you don’t find here, email Jill – firstname.lastname@example.org We might be able to help you find what you’re looking for.
Here’s a few of the resources that are linked in the table below.
Advent/Christmas Resources …
Some of the links are still for 2020 resources. They’ll be updated as the new 2021 resources are released. We’ve tried to note which resources are new or updated.
Faith At Home
If you’re looking for ideas for each week of advent there are some extra ideas in the At Home ideas – Year C accordion file on the Faith At Home page of this website.
Advent in a Box
Make up a box or pack for advent, including a number of resources in a box for households. You can use others ideas or make up your own box or provide a sample of a range of resources that households can choose from. Here some ideas sent to Building Faith of what some churches did in 2020.
- Building Faith Advent in a Box
- Faithful Families Advent and Christmas in a Box – Give the book along with materials for a few of the activities
- Advent LiFE Pack - Hope, Peace, Joy Love - This special Advent/Christmas LiFE Pack contains resources for 6 family sessions. Purchase a physical pack which contains most of the needed resoureces or a digital download & make your own packs. (updated)
- Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas 2021-2022 - a colourful deck of cards full of rituals, prayers and reflections. Flexible to use in many ways for even the busiest of families.
- Drawing God for Advent Idea Kit – Can be used with or without the Drawing God book
- M&M Christmas Story - Poem to give with some M&M's
- Christmas @Home 1 & 2 now only $1 each (Australian) - Great booklets - include resources for some of the ideas in the booklet
You can buy or make an advent wreath for households to use. One simple idea is to use a green plastic plate for the "wreath"with candles in little candle holders or even battery operated candles. Below are a few more Advent Wreath ideas, many also include weekly devotions.
- For Us, A Child is Born - devotional & instructions to make your own advent wreath in a box (new)
- The Songs of Christmas Advent Worship Guide 2021 (new)
- Advent 2020 Downloadable Resource
- Handout for Advent at Home
- A Journey Through Advent
- Simple Advent Wreath Devotional – great for all reading levels, for individuals or families
- Family Advent Devotional – make mason advent candles and use the family devotional – Devotional
- Advent Wreath using playdough
- 25 Ways to be Thankful - Light a candle each day in Advent and spend a minute or two taking it in turns to complete the "thankful" sentence for that day. (new)
- Advent Wreath Prayers - A short prayer for each week of advent (new)
- Or make an advent spiral - saltdough with Mary on a donkey (new)
There are many advent calendar ideas available that individuals and families can use. Here's just a few:
- Names of Jesus Advent Calendar (Australian) - beautiful boxed set $35
- 25 Days of Christmas - Scripture and Activities for Advent
- Advent: A Calendar of Devotions for 2021 (updated)
- Simple Stone Advent Calendar
- Flexagon Advent Calendar
- Advent Calendar from SALT - Every day leading up to Christmas Eve has its own hand-illustrated card (new)
- A Mason Jar Advent - printable illustrated gift tags with an Advent prayer, activity, conversation starter, or social media prompt
- Praying in Color Advent Calendars - Different designs available each year. Here's the 2021 designs - Choose from candle dated or undated, star or calendar grid templates. These are great for children and adults. (updated)
- More ideas from Building Faith
Or instead of a calendar use paper chains:
- Christmas Family Faith Trail - This Australian resource is designed to support families to grow in faith in the home through Bible reading, conversations and activities such as crafts and games. Families can pick and choose activities that are most useful for their particular family. Print the booklet off to give to each family in your congregation & ministry programs. This letter has information for ministry leaders. (updated)
- Advent 2021 Downloadable Resource - A family resource with a page for each week of Advent & a page each for Christmas & Epiphany. From Candle Press - this site is closing on the 17 Dec so check out their other resources while they are still available.
- Use FAITH5 for Advent - Using the formula of Share, Read, Talk, Pray, Bless; families gather around the table or before bed, light a candle and engage in a 5-minute daily check in.
- The Songs of Christmas Advent Worship Guide 2021
- Advent Reading Plan - A free Advent reading plan based on the 4 Advent candle themes of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love in the Discovery Bible Study format.
- "Less is More" Christmas Poster & Devotional - fun-filled, faith-filled way to help families dial back the more & get closer to the heart of Advent & Christmas.
- Naming Jesus: A Family-Friendly Advent Devotional - about the many names we give to Jesus, & the life-changing names he gives to us. Simple home-based weekly ideas around the themes hope, peace, joy & love.
- Redeeming Advent - 24 Days - Each day starts with an anecdote or familiar activity from the ‘secular’ preparations for Christmas, leading in from that to a Bible passage and punchy commentary.
- Creation to Crib: An All Age, Intergenerational Advent Journey - this beautiful, hand illustrated devotional gives you opportunities to pray, discuss, think, and journal your way from Creation to Crib
- Tracing Glory: The Christmas Story Through the Bible - 25 days - From the creation of the world in the book of Genesis, to the new creation in the book of Revelation. In each day’s reading, there is a key Scripture to look up, a devotional commentary to read, and a helpful summary highlighting the key point and showing how that particular Bible passage points to Jesus, and questions to prompt discussion with your family.
- The Adventure of Christmas: 25 Simple Family Devotions for December - simple 10-minute family devotions for Advent, with graphic-novel-style illustrations. Different sets of questions for 3-4s, 5-7s, 7-12s, teens and even parents.
- The Advent Creative Retreat Activity Book - 5 sections - offers a combination of meditations, prayers and activities.
A Jesse Tree is a tree branch decorated with symbols representing the stories of people in Jesus' family tree. In Isaiah 11:1 we read, "A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Jesse was the father of David, Israel's greatest king. And it was from David's lineage that Jesus came. That's where the idea of using a Jesse Tree to celebrate Advent came from.
- The Jesse Tree: Printable Pictures, Questions and Activities for Each Day of Advent from Flame Creative
- Let's Make a Jesse Tree - Easy step-by-step instructions for making a Jesse Tree Advent calender, plus 25 Bible readings for family use.
- Jesse Tree: God's Big Advent Story
- The Jesse Tree: An Advent Activity and Story Book
- The Ultimate Guide to Making a Jesse Tree
- Advent Jesse Tree - Let your tree tell the story
- SUNZ Jesse Tree
- Digital Jesse Tree - click on the image each day to hear about the symbol & reflect on "I wonder" questions (new)
Advent Prayer Beads - Prayer beads give you something to hold on to and help you focus as you pray. These prayer beads are a tool you can use to help guide your prayers during the season of Advent. Includes instructions for making the prayer beads, along with devotions for adults and children.
God's Big Rescue Family Time Activity - add to a bracelet or key ring as each part of the story is told
Books for Ideas:
The Season of the Nativity by Sybil MacBeth
Books to read a chapter of each night:
This series by Arnold Ytreeide has a different main character in each book but they all end up in Bethlehem at the time of the birth of Jesus. Each chapter ends on a cliffhanger so you want to find out what happens. Great for age 4 - 18+.
More Books to Read
Illustrated Ministry Colouring pages (updated)
Praying in Colour Advent Sheets - Mark of each day as we journey to Christmas by drawing or doodling a section on the calendar each day as you pray & reflect. Includes a calendar template with ideas of how to use it. A great resource for children and adults.
- 21 Free Nativity Printables
- Play with your Nativity Set & more ideas
- Paper City Nativity Scene
- Lego Nativity & more Lego Nativity ideas & even more (this one includes how to make lego camels) (new)
- Make your own Christmas Window Nativity Scene - read a short bit of the nativity story together, listen to the podcast, and put together your own Christmas Window with downloadable templates. (updated)
- The Wandering Wisemen - "The wise men wander through the night, to find the Light that shines so bright. So, look and find the wise men, three. You never know where they might be." This resource includes a picture book, a family devotional (Dec 1 - Jan 6) & 3 plush toy wise men to hide. (new)
- Messy Christmas - This Messy Church at Home session focuses on the true meaning of Christmas and explores the theme of God’s gift to us in Jesus.
- Christmas Family Time - This minibook aims to transfer the core values of Messy Church to the home and family context, encouraging families to talk together, be creative, be hospitable, be Christ-centred and celebratory, and including activities for all ages.
- DIY Christmas Play -
- Retell the story with a Nativity set -
- Explore Nativity Art - Search online for nativity art, and look at how the same stories have been depicted differently by different artists.
- Explore the Story with old Christmas Cards
- Outdoor Nativity Trail for children & families (new)
- The Adventure - Download a trail pack or QR codes for a fresh wander through the advent story (new)
- 5 Household Rituals for Christmas Eve
- Chocolate Christmas - Use chocolate bars to tell the Christmas Story & The Chocolate Christmas Story Bookmark
- 12 Days of Christmas Devotion Kit - Use 12 everyday household items to explore faith (updated)
- Christmas Eve for the Christian Household - ring bells, light candles & place baby Jesus in the manger (new)
- New - a simple 4 part trail to reflect on new starts (new)
- Chalking the Door Ritual
- Epiphany King Cake
- A 3 Spice Epiphany Cake Recipe
- Star of Wonder - an epiphany story with ideas to use at home
- Epiphany Playdough mat - from Flame Creative
- Journey of the Kings - an Epiphany trail to journey like kings and find the treasures around us and within us
- And still more ideas ...
Intergenerational Worship & Events
- Engage Together – Intergenerational UCA Worship Resource for Advent 2020
- A few complete service ideas from UCA Synod of SA
- Something is Coming! is a brand new Advent resource that uses the starting point of the 'stump of Jesse' to build a collaborative Advent display. Each week, add a new dimension to the Nativity (angels, shepherds, wise people). Adapt to suit your needs, includes ideas for small and large gatherings. (New) Advent: Something is Coming! - FB live explaining the resource.
- Free Christmas Resources from Mainly Ministries - an interactive, intergenerational Christmas resource. It will be suitable for sermons in the four weeks leading up to Christmas and includes something to do on Christmas eve. (New)
- The Beginning & the End - moves through the whole story from Creation to Revelation
- My Worship Notes Advent - Here's an Advent Worship Notes page that you can download and give to children during any Advent or Christmas service.
- Balloon Christmas Prayers -
- Christmas Participation Story - words for different parts of the congregation to say/sing during the story when certain words are said (new)
- Rags to Riches - an all age service from NZ to explore the lives of the shepherds & their rags to riches story. (new)
- Christmas for the Whole Church - Socially Distanced and Virtual Options
- Tumbuh Kids
- God is with Us – Everywhere! – A COVID Safe Natvity Play
- A Community Christmas Event
- Christmas Pageants 2020: recorded, Zoomed, live outside
- Outdoor Worship
- The Certainty of Christmas
- Advent Prayer Stations - use during an interactive service or as an event on its own (new)
- Interactive Prayer Stations for Advent III - designed to be intergenerational but also stations designed for ages 2-4. (new)
- Outdoor Nativity Trail for children & families (new)
- Illuminated Advent Path - and intergenerational event (new)
- Joseph's Christmas Story - 100 short Tweets that Joseph might have shared from his perspective
- The New Beginning - This story links Christmas to Easter
- An Intergen Christmas Service - using "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr Suess
- Chocolate Christmas - Tell the Christmas story using chocolate bars
- Christmas songs from God Gives 4 - Nine Christmas songs from the classic 1990's songbook God Gives 4 have been rereleased for free with the permission of the publisher (UCA Assembly) and the songwriters.
- Christmas Songs from David MacGregor - Minister and Songwriter David MacGregor has made 3 of his child-friendly Christmas Songs downloadable and with permission for streaming in worship/educational contexts.
- Messy Christmas – This book has 3 Complete Sessions and a Treasure Trove of Ideas for Advent, Christmas & Epiphany
- Messy Isaiah - Messy Church Outline based on the Isaiah propheries that are often used in our Advent & Christmas services
- Messy Church at Home - Good News - Ideas from Beth Nicholls
- The Gingerbread Man's Christmas Adventure - A Christmas Play (new)
- A couple of ideas from Messy Church Australia - reflection on the faces of Jesus & Star Prayers (new)
Books to read in worship:
- The Nativity - Words from Luke 2 with illustrations by Julie Vivas
- Wombat Divine by Mem Fox, illustrated by Kerry Argent
- Twas the Evening of Christmas by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Elena Selivanova
- And here's a list of more ...
Books to help with worship preparation:
- The Season of the Nativity by Sybil MacBeth - Ideas for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany
- Ideas for including children/families in the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service
- A Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols
- Chocolate Christmas Talk - Use chocolate bars to tell the Christmas Story & The Chocolate Christmas Story Bookmark