Growing up our family had one of the Avon Christmas Count-Down Calendars from 1987 with the mouse that moved from one day to the next. While not a true Advent calendar as it simply counts 1-24, the practice of building expectation by marking the days leading up to Christ’s coming is etched in my memory (as is the spirit of competition with my siblings to be the one to wake up and move the mouse first, complete with gloating, “I moved the mousey” song that sits squarely outside the spirit of Advent). Advent calendars and similar traditions can be helpful tools for faith formation at home. Here are a number of options, some of which are free and some require purchase or donations.
The Diocese of Arkansas has developed a free prayer supplement for the Lego City Advent Calendar. The prayers for each day of the calendar from December 1-24 connect with the brick builds and lift up various members of our wider communities, like musicians, farmers, grocery workers, and firefighters.
AdventWord is a global Advent Calendar offering images and meditations for reflection every day of Advent. You can download official #AdventWord graphics, find more resources, and sign up for a daily email here. AdventWord is great for concentrating on specific terms and practices pulled from the lectionary readings and Way of Love practices. Keep an eye out on social media for announcements about a 2022 edition as we get closer to the season!
Praying in Color
“Praying in Color” creator Sybil MacBeth regularly offers free printable Advent calendars for “doodling” prayers, as she describes it, each day of Advent at her website here. She also provides guidance on how to introduce “Praying in Color” as a practice. As of this article’s publication date, a template for 2022 is not yet available, but you can check out her designs from previous years.
Way of Love Calendar
“Journeying the Way of Love” Advent Calendar 2022 is free from The Episcopal Church via download. It is particularly good for older children, teens, and adults. There are prompts for reflection and potentially discussion together. Examples include “set a timer for three minutes to sit in silence and hear what God might be saying back to you” and “take a new or different route to work, or school, or out to run errands.” This could pair well with other Way of Love resources like the Advent Curriculum here. The calendar is available in English, Spanish, and French.
Advent Calendar Cards
The Advent Calendar from Salt* features cards with illustrations for each day of the season. The cards include activities to do on weekdays and scriptures and meditations to read on Sundays. You can put the cards in numbered envelopes, hang them up, or use them in another way. We love the beauty of these. The personal use download is $10, and they offer very reasonable increased costs for use on a larger scale. They have a handful of other Advent and Christmas resources, including “A Mason Jar Advent” calendar and “A ‘Less Is More’ Christmas Poster and Devotional” in their Printable Resources.
Rituals & Prayers Advent Calendar
Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas 2022-2023 contains cards for each day of the Advent and Christmas seasons with illustrations, short reflections, practices, and prayers. These are great for families to incorporate rituals or activities into their day-to-day lives during these seasons. The pack of cards is $9.99 and is published by Augsburg Fortress. You can also download a free promotional pack on their website with ideas for using the cards in your church and several coloring pages.
Advent Calendar Poster
Slow Down. Quiet. It’s Advent! is an Advent poster from Forward Movement. It includes illustrations, scriptures, and activities to do to prepare for Christmas. The cost of $15 per pack of 25 posters is even manageable on a large scale, and the price decreases to $12 per pack if you purchase 3 or more packs of 25.
Scripture Advent Calendar
Be on the lookout for the December 2022 Everyday Faith Calendar from Concordia Publishing House. This year they have been offering monthly calendars that include daily scripture passages to read and questions for reflection. These are great ways to start daily faith practices at home. The December calendar isn’t out yet, but you can see previous months to get an idea of what to expect.
BIPOC Leaders Advent Calendar
For Advent 2021, the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Massachusetts published a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Leaders Advent Calendar. Each day gave people an opportunity to learn about a different leader, and the church invited everyone who used the calendar to share what they learned. A 2022 edition has not been posted as of this article’s publication date, but you can check out their BIPOC Leaders Advent calendar website here to follow possible developments for Advent 2022.
What is your favorite Advent Calendar? Know of a new one to add to our list? Tell us in the comments!
Editor’s Note: This article was first published on November 2, 2020. It has been revised, updated, and republished for 2022 with the author’s permission.
Featured image is by Congerdesign on Pixabay
Jesse Tree: God’s Big Advent Story is a colorful, free, downloadable advent calendar from Faith Formation Ministries. You can access the devotional and the ornaments in the post: This Might Be the Best Jesse Tree Set Ever (https://network.crcna.org/faith-nurture/might-be-best-jesse-tree-set-ever).
And, if you’re looking for a 2020 idea for getting it to families via mailboxes and porch drop offs, check out Advent in an Envelope: A Wonderful Way to Help Families Form Faith (https://network.crcna.org/faith-nurture/advent-envelope-wonderful-way-help-families-form-faith).