Free Advent Calendar Verse Printables & my two favorite Advent Traditions

Attending holiday parties, ornament exchanges, cookie swaps. Trimming the tree and decking the halls. Shopping for, wrapping, and hiding gifts.Not to mention finding a new unique place to make a mess with the Elf on the Shelf.  As much as I love Christmas time, the season can be overwhelming! Our calendars fill up quickly and it seems there isn’t a free weekend in sight. I really believe that when we get too caught up in the doing and worried about having the perfect Christmas holiday season, we forget about being in the moment, showing love to our children by being truly present with them and sharing sweet moments with family. I have two favorite Advent traditions that I would love for you to join me doing this year that encourage reflection, togetherness and love for each other.

Why do I call these my favorite “Advent” traditions?

The word Advent means “coming” and refers specifically to the coming of Christ. For most of us, Christmas is centered around one day but Advent is bigger than that. For the four Sundays preceding Christmas day, believers across the world focus their attention on Christ’s birth, and ultimately his Second Coming, when all things wrong will be made right.  There are lots of ways to highlight Advent in your home but my two favorite ways are with Advent calendars and wreaths.

Advent Calendars:


You probably took at least 1000 cute photos of your family this past year. I know I did. It’s hard to get those photos off of your devices and into your life especially when you start thinking about making a huge photo-book covering your entire year.

Keep it simple with a photo Advent calendar.

I choose 25 photos from our personal life in the past year that I love and combine them with Bible verses - one for each day leading up to Christmas. The joy is extended when you give a set to grandparents or other close family members, especially if they don’t live in town with you. I suggest making printing several sets  and hand them or mail them out around Thanksgiving. It’s a hit every. single. time.

Instruction for an Easy Envelope Photo Advent Calendar:

(1) print 25 photos of your year

(2) put them in numbered envelopes

(3) slip a printed verse into the envelope with each photo.

(4) package it and send off to be enjoyed by all who receive it!

The beauty of this calendar is that you can make it as simple or as fancy as you would like - the numbers on the front of the envelope can be shown with stickers, written in calligraphy or even by your kiddos with hand drawn photos to go along with them. They can be delivered tied with a simple ribbon or in a fancy box or with everything needed to make a home display (see more below) - It is all up to you.

Our Advent Calendar Cover for 2018!

Our Advent Calendar Cover for 2018!

If the compilation process sounds challenging to you, I have also done a book version of the photo advent calendar. I design and print an 8x8 photo-book - each facing page has a photo and a verse. Once it arrives, I simply mail or deliver it to family members as well as keep a copy of my own.

This year our verses come from Psalm 34 and I would love for you to do it with us! My amazingly talented sister, Binu, wrote out the verses and is generously sharing it will all of us. All you need to do is download and hit print to include them in your photo advent calendar. You can also use the verses as art in your home if you would like!

Calligraphy by Binu Thomas, Mockup from mockupfree

Calligraphy by Binu Thomas, Mockup from mockupfree

Seek-Peace.jpg

Here are more great advent calendar ideas - most of them can be easily adapted to include photos from the year as well! This is one of my favorite ways to savor the little moments during the busy busy busy holiday season and I highly encourage you to do this with me this year!

Photo from  Camille Styles

Photo from Camille Styles

Simple, and so easy--you could put this calendar together while the baby takes a nap! Print numbers on cardstock, add your verses on the back (or use ours!), and hang them on jute string attached to a chalkboard. You could even keep it low enough for older kids to help remind you to turn over each day and read together. Easy, inexpensive, and beautiful to look at.

photo from  Homespun With Love


Similar concept as the first example, except calendar is placed across a mantle. Decorate the number cards with Christmas themed washi tape for added color! *Be sure to have high enough from the flame!




Photo from  Thinking Closet

Photo from Thinking Closet

I LOVE this variation on our photo advent calendar, especially for grandparents (hint, hint). Make small prints of some of your favorite family photos through the year and attach them to numbered cards. Secure twine, jute or wire to the back of an empty picture frame—one from the thrift store will do just fine!—and clip the photos on with metal clips or clothespins. Check out Thinking Closet for more instructions!

Create an Advent Wreath


An Advent wreath traditionally consists of a wreath of evergreen (real or artificial) and four candles that represent hope, love, joy and peace. Some add a fifth candle, the “Christ candle” to be lit on Christmas Eve. Each Sunday a candle we light a candle and read a scripture corresponding with the week’s theme and maybe sing some Christmas carols.  When kids are little, they LOVE lighting and blowing out the candles and we often do it at the end of each day as a way to wind down.

My son lighting our VERY SIMPLE advent wreath.

My son lighting our VERY SIMPLE advent wreath.

Here are a few examples of other (prettier lol) advent wreaths than ours with links in the photo descriptions to learn more about how to make your own version :)

photo from the blog  "  Try Try Try"   For a more rustic feel, use a tree slice as your base, add some greenery, and place your candles on top. Go to your local craft store for string and letters or numbers to designate each candle. Tip: Using candles of different heights brings depth and creates a beautiful centerpiece for your dining room table.

photo from the blog "Try Try Try"

For a more rustic feel, use a tree slice as your base, add some greenery, and place your candles on top. Go to your local craft store for string and letters or numbers to designate each candle. Tip: Using candles of different heights brings depth and creates a beautiful centerpiece for your dining room table.

photo from  The Purposeful Mom . A more traditional style; often sets like this can be purchased all together at craft stores or Christian bookstores. No fuss, simple, and timeless, the long tapered candles will be seen by all who gather around your table this season.

photo from The Purposeful Mom. A more traditional style; often sets like this can be purchased all together at craft stores or Christian bookstores. No fuss, simple, and timeless, the long tapered candles will be seen by all who gather around your table this season.

photo from  E  mmaus Road Peg  s   Here is a fireproof option: peg candles! Purchase this set, with or without wreath at  Emmaus Road Pegs,  or make it a family craft and create your own!

photo from Emmaus Road Pegs

Here is a fireproof option: peg candles! Purchase this set, with or without wreath at Emmaus Road Pegs, or make it a family craft and create your own!

holly-mackle-little-hearts-prepare-him-room.jpg

If you are looking for a kid friendly version of what to say with when lighting the candles, I am so excited to be reading Little Hearts, Prepare Him Room by Holly Mackle (local writer!)with our kids this year.


Ok, Where Do I Start?

Whether Advent is a longstanding tradition in your family, or this year will be your first time observing, have fun and remember the reason for it all. Find ways to slow down, give thanks, and be present with the ones you love.

Oh, and you didn’t think I was going to let you go empty handed, did you?

Promised Freebies!

Click above for your own free Advent calendar download, custom designed by Binu Thomas (you can follow our instagram advent journey this year on @chaiyasisters).  They come in two sizes, 4x4 to slip in an envelope or 8x8 to use in a book. Each day read a verse of Psalm 34, giving thanks for the best gift of all—Jesus. Or, if you’d like to keep things simple, click here to download a pdf of printable Advent numbers.

A Few Other Resources

Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Save The World? by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, and Greg Holder. A good read to help refocus our hearts, minds, and intentions for the season.

We Light the Candles: Devotions Related to Family Use of the Advent Wreath: Family devotions for each day during the season of Advent

xoxo - Tanisha & Bindu!

Bindu Liangfreebie, advent