#Advent is celebrated the month before Christmas, by Catholic, Orthodox and some protestant Christian denominations. Many people think of it as a time for Advent calendars with candies and treats. But that, like a commercial #Christmas, is miles from the real purpose.

Advent wreaths, Christmas calendar activities

Advent is a lesser penitential season, a minor Lent. Christians observe spiritual acts of prayer, fasting and charity. They follow a Bible-based Advent calendar and count down to Christmas reflecting on Jesus. Another practice is the lighting of candles on the Advent wreath. The four candles, three purple or blue, one pink represent expectation of, hope in, joy, and love unending, from the Christ's child's birth.

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The center white one is the Christkindl (Christ candle). Here are free printable Advent wreath crafts children can make to explore those themes. Children might color and make their own Advent wreaths to use as mother and father light the family advent wreath.

Free Advent wreath crafts to make at home

Parenting.leehansen.com has a simple red and green free printable Advent wreath coloring pages with paper candles to affix. CatholicMom.com/faith/advent/, a one-stop resource for family liturgical crafts, has free printable wreath activities, puzzles, games, Bible lesson plans, mass readings, games and Christmas coloring pages. First-School.ws is another go-to source for Christian crafts. Look here for preschool holiday printables. There are two sizes of Advent wreaths to print. Freefunchristmas.com has an Advent wreath coloring page to print.

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Use this for the baby to color in her high chair during prayer time.

Free Advent crafts, religious Christmas activities

Activityvillage.co.uk/advent-printables has a plethora of free Christian activities, printables and crafts, including several Advent calendars and wreaths. TheToymaker.com has free printable Advent crafts too. Use wreaths and calendars together. You might also make a Jesse Tree with free printable ornaments. To follow the Bible Jesse Tree, read the scripture passage about the lineage of Jesus each day. The Jesse Tree is St. Joseph (and Jesus') family tree. It connects familiar Bible stories and characters to show how Jesus is at the center of it all. Children color ornaments with pictures representing each person (Adam and Eve--apple, Joseph--coat, King David--sheep). These activities give kids hands-on activities to explore the holy season.

Free printable Christmas ornaments, crafts, activities and greeting cards

The cool thing about these links is that along with Advent activities, you can get free printable Christmas crafts too. Print holiday coloring pages, greeting cards, ornaments, wrapping paper, gift tags, paper toys, even Christmas gifts. Kids will love making these and giving them as presents. #freeprintable