Begin a Family Advent Dinner Tradition This Year

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One of my favorite holiday memories in our Advent dinner tradition. This family tradition began years ago when my parents decided to host weekly Sunday dinners on each of the four Sundays of Advent. This meaningful tradition began in our family as I was finishing my college degree and I continue it to this day.

My parents begin this Advent dinner tradition as an intentional practice to slow down and celebrate the season in a meaningful way. For several hours on each Sunday of Advent, our family enjoyed an extended afternoon of relaxing together.

It was also a great excuse to gather their children and grandchildren together during the holiday season. But like many extended family traditions, our move to Raleigh changed everything. A five-hour drive was not going to be possible for our family each Sunday.

This meant that it was time for the Advent dinner tradition to continue in our own home.

Our family continues my parents weekly advent dinner tradition as one of our meainingful Christmas traditions.

Our Advent Dinner Tradition

As our first Christmas in Raleigh approached, my kids began to create guest lists for our Advent dinners. We were a bit surprised (and glad) that they never even questioned the continuation of this tradition.

Advent dinners had become an important part of the Christmas season for our kids, and we decided to continue them at our home in Raleigh.

Our first Advent dinner took place on foldable tables and a random assortment of chairs from around the house because we didn’t have a dining table.

Since then, we have purchased and painted a dining room table though we still have to gather lots of extra chairs. But the tradition continues each year.

Our Advent dinner table is set with our family China dishes and red napkins.

Each Sunday evening our family and friends gather around simple homecooked meals.  I don’t mind cooking, but I don’t love cooking so the food is typically kid-friendly and easy. Advent dinners menus are typically tacos, chili, pulled pork, or Italian.

Of course, we always enjoy our food on the fanciest of dishes and matching beverage glasses.

What I love most about this tradition is the gathering with friends throughout the busy month of December.

Celebrating the Advent Season

Before eating, we begin with scripture reading and the lighting of the Advent Candle.

Each week of Advent has a special focus represented by a candle on the wreath:

Week One – Hope – Purple Candle
Week Two – Peace – Purple Candle
Week Three – Joy – Pink Candle
Week Four – Love – Purple Candle
Christmas Day – Christ – White Candle

The kids present take part in reading and lighting the candles.

After dinner, we enjoy conversation and games followed by dessert. I hope this simple, but meaningful tradition continues as my children enter adulthood.

My parents with our kids at Advent dinner this year.

Resources for Advent

There are lots of choices when it comes to Advent Wreaths.

Advent candles come in packs of 4 or 5. We prefer to use 5 because it includes the Christ Candle.

Ann Voskamp releases a video each week of Advent and writes her thoughts on her blog.

Background information on Advent can be found in this post.

This Advent home worship guide can be modified for weekly Advent dinners.  Scriptures and thoughts are included and can be adapted for a shorter reading if needed.

Enjoy the Advent Season.  

Learn about our Weekly Advent Dinners as part of our meaningful christmas tradtions.

This post is Day One of the 5 Days of Meaningful Christmas Traditions.  Stay tuned for four more days and learn about four more of our family’s traditions.


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  1. We started these dinners almost 5 years ago, it was my hope to get the kids to slow down. We have 4 children so each Sunday one child picks the menu and guests. This is by far my children’s favorite tradition. This year we’re hosting one of our meals at church with about 8 families, ganna be lots of cooking but so excited to share this tradition with others!

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