One of the things I like best about having my little one in Catholic school is that she comes home and tells me how they celebrated a saint's feast day, or a Holy Day of Obligation, or Advent or Lent. Still, we all know that if it doesn't start at home it doesn't go very far. My older kids didn't go to Catholic school when they were little so I was always on the lookout for good child-friendly religious activities, especially to use during Advent and Lent.
Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family is a handy easy-to-use Advent guide aimed at parents of young children. Basically the author, Kathleen Basi (who is a regular Sunday Snippets contributor) suggests that families begin their Advent days by checking an Advent calendar, and then, at dinner, use an Advent Wreath and a Jesse Tree. She also recommends a manger for baby Jesus, a manager the kids fill with straw as they do good deeds. Basi includes several lists of activities that can be done during Advent, from caroling to attending daily mass to baking Christmas cookies.
While Basi herself admits that her ideas are not original, what she is "selling" is the plan, the organized way of approaching the days before Christmas so you can truly celebrate Advent rather than just Christmas Shopping Season. Personally, I can tell you that our family will be using her version of the Jesse Tree. We do it yearly, and while a Google search will give you any number of different sets of ornaments to make or color, what I always have trouble finding is a story to go with each that is short, understandable to young children, and faithful to the scripture. Kathleen's version is all of these.
I'd like to thank Kathleen Basi and First Wildcard for my complimentary review copy.
First Wildcard will be touring this book November 4. Check back then to read the first chapter.