Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas cards are decks of cards the size of playing cards that help families mark and celebrate days of the Advent and Christmas season, from the first Sunday in Advent (November 29, 2020) through Epiphany (January 6, 2021). Some of the cards focus on saints whose saint days occur during this time period, or an Advent or Christmas tradition that may be unfamiliar to Americans; other cards quote a hymn that’s appropriate for the Advent or Christmas season, and still others suggest activities or practices for families to try.
The cards are dated so that you don’t need to count how many days there are until Christmas or keep track of which week of Advent it is. Most days have one card each, but Sundays in Advent have three: one card for the week, letting you know how many candles to light on your Advent wreath and suggesting a prayer to say while lighting the candles; one card for the Sunday, reflecting on a passage from that day’s lectionary readings; and one card for the date, celebrating an event or saint connected with that date. Sundays during the season of Christmas have two cards per Sunday: one with the reflection on the lectionary reading and one for the date.
To have fun with the cards, you can play games such as looking through the cards to find each card with the color blue, or each card with a star, or each card with images of children. You can also punch holes in cards you’ve already used and string them up with yarn or ribbon in order to make a garland. If you want, you can shuffle the cards and then re-sort them to be in order. Following the suggestions on the cards is also part of the fun! Some cards suggest singing a hymn or trying something new. If your family doesn’t have a hymnal, you can ask to borrow one from your church, or you can look into buying one here.
It’s hard to celebrate Advent and Christmas as a family during this pandemic. Many beloved traditions, from church services to visiting a department store’s Santa to cookie exchanges to spending time with friends and family, have been canceled or modified this year. It’s hard to cope with so much disruption, and it may not feel like Christmas in the way that we’re used to. This isn’t the Christmas parents wanted to give their children. These cards can’t replace all the events lost to the pandemic, but they can become a new tradition, which may be exactly what we need this year.