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Youth Ministry Activities

Incorporating creative activities into youth ministry is vital to engage young people in their faith journey. By tapping into their inclination for self-expression, we deepen their understanding of Catholic teachings. Crafts, such as rosaries or prayer bracelets, provide hands-on approaches to express faith and spark conversations. Physical activities, like biblical-themed scavenger hunts or faith-based obstacle courses, reinforce lessons and encourage collaboration.

Engaging youth in interactive experiences brings their faith to life. Service projects, such as assembling care packages or creating personalized prayer cards, allow them to live out their faith practically. Promoting a spirit of service and gratitude, volunteer activities and creative expressions of appreciation cultivate a sense of thankfulness.

Organizing sessions around themes like love or forgiveness provides a focused exploration of faith through discussions, creative activities, and reflections. Advent and Lent activities, such as wreath-making workshops or Stations of the Cross art exhibits, help youth prepare their hearts and deepen their spiritual growth. Celebrating holy days, feast days, and holidays with creative projects, skits, or performances fosters appreciation for the richness of the Catholic faith.

Incorporating creative activities into youth ministry cultivates a vibrant and meaningful faith experience for young people. Through crafts, physical activities, hands-on experiences, and themed sessions, we engage their hearts and minds. By embracing creativity, we can nurture their spirituality, deepen their understanding of Catholic teachings, and foster a lifelong connection with God.

The ideas on this page tend to be a little more serious and reflective than the suggestions found on the games page. If you hare looking for an icebreaker or something more game like, check this list of over 100 games.

Unleashing Creativity: The Power of Creative Activities in Youth Ministry

In a world filled with distractions, creativity captures their attention and offers a meaningful connection to Catholic teachings. Crafts, music, drama, writing, and other creative outlets enable youth to delve deeper into their spirituality, fostering personal and transformative understandings of their faith. These activities promote self-expression, ownership, and a tangible relevance to their daily lives. By incorporating creativity, we create spaces where young people authentically engage with their faith, fostering a lifelong love for God and a passion for living out their Catholic identity.

General Ideas for Activities

  • Art Projects: Encourage youth to express their faith through various art forms such as painting, drawing, sculpture, or mixed media. They can create artwork based on biblical themes, saints, or religious symbols.
  • Drama and Skits: Organize skits or short plays that convey important messages or stories from the Bible. Youth can act out scenes or even write their own scripts to explore different aspects of faith.
  • Music and Song: Engage youth in singing and playing musical instruments to express their faith. They can learn and perform religious songs, hymns, or even write their own worship music.
  • Photography: Encourage youth to capture images that reflect their spirituality or the beauty of nature. They can create photo collages, slideshows, or exhibitions to share their unique perspectives.
  • Poetry and Creative Writing: Encourage youth to write poetry, reflections, or stories inspired by their faith. They can explore themes such as prayer, gratitude, forgiveness, or the lives of saints.
  • Journaling and Reflection: Provide prompts or themes for youth to reflect upon in their personal journals. They can write about their spiritual journey, moments of grace, or how they see God working in their lives.
  • Visual Presentations: Help youth create presentations using software or multimedia tools. They can incorporate images, videos, and text to share their understanding of religious concepts or important scripture passages.
  • Collages and Vision Boards: Encourage youth to create collages or vision boards that represent their hopes, dreams, and aspirations within the context of their faith. They can use images, words, and symbols to depict their spiritual journey.
  • Prayer Stations: Set up different prayer stations where youth can engage in various prayer practices such as meditation, contemplation, journaling, or art-based prayer. Each station can focus on a specific aspect of faith or a biblical theme.
  • Creative Reflections on Scripture: Assign youth a specific Bible passage or story and ask them to create a visual representation or written reflection based on their interpretation. This activity encourages them to dive deeper into scripture and explore its relevance in their lives.

Prayer and Reflection Activities

Youth Ministry Lesson Plans
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Lesson Plans

Lesson plans provide a structure for teaching youth, helping them explore concepts deeply. They include reflection questions for group sharing, aiding the application of lessons to everyday life. Besides, they usually feature games, relevant prayers, and a weekly challenge to promote engaging, practical learning.

Washed Away Prayer Service

This washed away prayer service makes a nice accompaniment to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It could also be used for a youth ministry meeting about forgiveness or baptism

Make a Prayer Table in Your Home

A prayer table is a small sacred space in your home or classroom. It can be a place to gather for prayer as a group or for individual prayer.

Start a Prayer Journal

A prayer journal is a good way to stay focused during prayer. I find this an especially helpful practice for teens who are trying to develop a deeper prayer life. But it is appropriate for all ages

paper airplane prayer
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Paper Airplane Prayer

Each person needs paper and writing materials. Write a prayer and fold it into a paper airplane. Read prayers aloud, unfold planes if needed. Then, fly them together. Perfect for groups like Bible School or youth groups. Can be done indoors, outdoors, or virtually. Prayer connects us and brings community.

Book Club

Book clubs are a great way for teens to discuss topics. Book suggestions include C. S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" and "The Screwtape Letters", J. R. R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit", Orson Scott Card’s "Ender’s Game", "I Choose God" with stories from teen Catholics, and "Tattoos on the Heart" about Fr. Greg Boyle's work with LA gang members.

keys to leadership activity
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Keys to Leadership

Leadership spans life's facets, from playgrounds to pulpits. Imagine a youth group planning a community project—leadership in action. Such scenes reflect Matthew 16:13-20, a core Catholic text, unraveling leadership through interactive Keys to Leadership activity. This passage features Jesus questioning disciples, Peter's pivotal response, and his role as the Church's foundation, emphasizing leadership in faith communities and beyond. Envision a session where youth decode Matthew 16:13-20 for leadership insights. This workshop melds scripture with practical skills, inspiring impactful community change.

The Watchman Being Guardians of Truth
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The Watchman: Being Guardians of Truth

This activity stems from Ezekiel 33:7-9, translating the watchman's duty through role-play and discussion for modern youth. Small groups deliberate scenarios akin to the watchman's task—decisions involving warning others for their benefit. Linking these to personal experiences promotes introspection and practical application of watchman principles. This bridges ancient teachings and present challenges, empowering young Catholics as truth guardians. It's about practical insights, urging youth to embody this role with reflection and action.

Vineyard Values Activity Cultivating Fairness and Grace
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Vineyard Values Activity: Cultivating Fairness and Grace

Drawing inspiration from the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Vineyard Values engages young hearts through practical tasks mirroring the laborers' diverse hours. Guided discussions on fairness and grace connect these experiences to the parable's themes. By intertwining tangible tasks with profound teachings, the activity offers a relatable approach to understanding that God's grace transcends personal effort. It becomes a conduit for young minds to embrace the idea that worth is woven not solely from labor, but from the generosity of divine love.

Humble Hearts Prayer Station
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Humble Hearts Prayer Station

Activities like the Humble Hearts Prayer Station are aimed at teaching kids about humility. Inspired by Philippians 2:1-11, children write down a specific, achievable action to practice humility on a heart-shaped template. These hearts are then collected and prayed over as a group. The activity is simple to set up, requiring minimal materials like heart templates and writing supplies. It offers a practical way for kids to connect scripture to their daily lives, encouraging them to actively live out Christian virtues. Suitable for various age groups, it can easily be adapted to fit different educational settings.

Who Has Authority Lesson Plan on Authority
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Authority in Action: a Creative Role-Play Challenge

Authority in Action is an interactive role-play game designed for youth ministry, aiming to elucidate the concept of authority from both secular and religious perspectives. Participants enact various scenarios like managing classroom disputes or leading a parish council, each highlighting different facets of authority. Post-role-play discussions encourage reflection on the source and effectiveness of authority, paralleling these insights with the Church's teachings and Jesus' leadership. This engaging approach not only aids in comprehending complex theological concepts but also fosters critical thinking and empathy, making it a valuable tool in religious education and personal spiritual development.

Craft Activities

Forgiveness Flowers
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Forgiveness Flowers Craft

The Forgiveness Flowers craft is a hands-on activity for children that emphasizes the principles of forgiveness taught in Matthew 18:21-35. Participants create a flower, with each petal symbolizing a way to show or seek forgiveness. By cutting and decorating the petals, writing messages, and discussing the meanings, children explore how to both forgive others and ask for forgiveness.

Make Votive Candle Holders
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Make Votive Candle Holders

These votive candle holders are easy enough to make that all of the members of your family can help, no matter what their age. Add this to your list of youth ministry activities.

Paper Chain
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Make a Good Deeds Chain

A good deeds chain is a simple paper chain, but you must do a good deed for each piece of paper you add. Make a long chain!

Cork Ship in a Bottle Craft

This is a simple ship in a bottle craft, not the type that takes days and days. It is easy to make. The kids can take it home and use it as a centerpiece for any nautical themed Vacation Bible School or youth group meeting.

Friendship Bracelets Affirmation Bracelet
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Friendship Bracelets

Making friendship bracelets can be both a craft and an affirmation activity. The bracelets are made by sharing a bead with a friend and saying what unique quality you like about that person.

Rosary Slide Keychain
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Rosary Slide Bracelet or Key-Chain

The rosary slide bracelet or keychain serves as a thoughtful craft, gently encouraging young ones to engage in prayer. Crafting the keychain is particularly appealing for teenagers, as it can double as a functional item for their keys. Alternatively, they may opt to attach it to their backpack or carry it in their pocket, serving as a constant reminder to dedicate moments to prayerful activities.

Make a Prayer Rock

Prayer rocks, serving as daily reminders for individuals of all ages to embrace prayer, can be integrated into various activities. Parents subtly leave them on children's pillows, while teenagers store them in lockers or backpacks.

paper plate dove craft 1
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Paper Plate Dove Craft

The paper plate dove craft is a simple yet meaningful addition to Vacation Bible School or Children’s Liturgy activities. Perfectly complementing lessons related to the Holy Spirit, Our Lord's Baptism, Confirmation, or Noah's Ark, these crafting activities add a touch of creativity to spiritual teachings.

Sea Slime

Preparing a batch of sea-themed slime becomes one of the enjoyable activities for kids attending an ocean-themed Vacation Bible School or youth group meeting. This easy-to-make playful substance adds a fun element to their gathering.

Coffee Filter Candle Holder

These colorful candle holders are fun for kids to make. Little children will need more help than older ones. Once finished, add a battery operated tea light and place on your prayer table. Then you have a colorful votive candle holder.

Mini Raft Craft

In these activities, young participants construct miniature rafts, an engaging task well-suited for lessons involving boats. It perfectly complements biblical stories like Jesus walking on water or St. Paul's shipwreck, making learning more interactive.

Parable Garden Parable of the Sower Activity
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Parable Garden

In the Parable of the Sower activity, we use a "Parable Garden" to explore the different types of soil mentioned in Matthew 13:1-23, helping children reflect on their own spiritual growth.

Get Up and Move Activities

Sacrament Scavenger Hunt
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Sacrament Scavenger Hunt

This sacrament scavenger hunt introduces some of the symbols and concepts of the sacraments in a fun way. Hide various sacrament related items around your meeting space or grounds. Here is a list and some tips. Some of the items are directly related to sacraments. Others are more “fun” to start up a conversation.

The Holy Spirit Is Like the Wind Kite Activity
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The Holy Spirit Is Like the Wind (Kite Activity)

This activity is to show children how the Holy Spirit is like the wind. We can’t see the Holy Spirit directly, but we can see the work of the Spirit. You will need one or more kites and an outdoor location to fly them.

Privilege Walk
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Privilege Walk

A Privilege Walk is an exercise where participants consider how circumstances in their lives can be benefits or detriments. These are circumstances which are beyond their control, largely related to the families they were born into and the resources they have.

Bible Scavenger Hunt
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Bible Scavenger Hunt

The Bible Scavenger Hunt, one of the dynamic activities for youth, encourages children's familiarity with their Bibles. This game, designed to keep them active and engaged, allows for a fun-filled exploration of biblical texts.

People Sort Activity 1
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People Sort

People sort is an activity which can be used as an icebreaker or opening activity for a youth group meeting focused on human dignity, immigration, or institutional racism. Use the debrief time to have an honest discussion about why we group people by race rather than other characteristics.

Hands On Activities

Homemade Model Magic
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Homemade Model Magic

Considering the potential messiness of homemade play-dough in carpeted youth ministry rooms, it's advisable to create a homemade variant of model magic dough. Store-bought model magic can be costly, making this economical alternative perfect for numerous activities, offering both affordability and cleanliness.

Recycled Raingutter Regatta

Recycling activities, such as the recycled raingutter regatta held at a middle school VBS, resonate with kids, teaching them about caring for God's creation. Such activities, often dubbed the week's highlight by many students, make learning about environmental responsibility fun and memorable.

Ten Commandments Activity

This simple Ten Commandments activity will help children who already have some knowledge of the Ten Commandments learn how to order them correctly.

Toothpick Sculptures Models or Constructions
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Toothpick Sculptures, Models, or Constructions

Hands on activities are fun for youth ministry or Vacation Bible School (VBS). One way to incorporate a fun activity is to have students make toothpick sculptures or models to represent your theme. Here are some ideas for items which can be used as materials.

life line reflection activity
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Life Line Reflection

Life Line activity helps youth reflect on important memories. Write on paper, attach to rope, and share. Discuss value of each moment and how they shape us. Reflect on sharing and hearing memories. Explore importance of every moment and positive outcomes from negative events. Encourage meaningful discussion.

Glow in the Dark Sidewalk Chalk
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Glow in the Dark Sidewalk Chalk

Glow in the dark sidewalk chalk is a fun addition to an nighttime activity. You can use it to welcome youth to the event, write inspirational messages, or let your participants have a creative outlet.

Cornerstone Connection Activity
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Cornerstone Connection Activity

Cornerstone Connection is an interactive activity designed to teach kids the importance of a cornerstone in both architectural and biblical contexts. Through building a structure with one blindfolded team member, participants also learn key life skills such as teamwork, trust, and communication.

Service and Thankfulness

Make an Appreciation List
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Make an Appreciation List

In youth ministry activities, one encouraging task could involve prompting youngsters to compile a list of possessions they're grateful for. This activity fosters gratitude and introspection, helping them appreciate their blessings.

Blessing bags for the homeless
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Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless

These care packages can be given to a local homeless shelter or outreach program to be distributed to their clients. You can also keep blessing bags in your car to distribute to any homeless members of the community you encounter in your daily life.

Inspired By You Letters
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Inspired By You Letters

Inspired By You letters give teens an opportunity to reflect on a person who has inspired them. They are also an opportunity to inspire themselves! This activity goes well with a meeting focused on the Holy Spirit or on Scripture as the inspired Word of God. It could also be used as part of a Confirmation program.

Do Something Nice for the Environment

In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis urges us to be better stewards of the Earth, our common home. All Catholics are called to practice environmental justice. So do something nice for the environment.

Reaching Out to the Home bound
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Reaching Out to Home-Bound Individuals

Isolation affects mental health, so support others. A greeting, smile, or card can help. Parish offices find home-bound people to greet. Nursing homes appreciate letters for residents. Small gestures matter and show they're not alone. Connect with home-bound people for relationships and new perspectives.

Do Yardwork for the Elderly in Your Neighborhood
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Do Yardwork for the Elderly in Your Neighborhood

There might be some leaves left from the fall. Or fallen branches from winter storms. Or just some spring cleanup needed. An elderly neighbor will appreciate any help you can give.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Visit-the-Elderly-1200x130.jpg
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Tips for When You Visit the Elderly

Visiting elderly relatives can be awkward for kids, as they feel they have little in common. However, with patience and understanding, these visits can be rewarding. Despite potential memory issues, seniors hold valuable wisdom and insights. Approaches to ease the communication gap are suggested, helping youth appreciate the treasure of shared memories.

Puzzles and Other Printables

sacred things crossword puzzle
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Sacred Things Crossword Puzzle

This puzzle will help youth become familiar with the sacred things used during the celebration of Mass – the vestments, vessels, and places in the church.

beatitudes cryptogram puzzle
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Beatitudes Cryptogram

This printable beatitudes puzzle gives the eight beatitudes in random order. Children can figure out the key and substitute the letters to solve the puzzle and complete the beatitudes.

love your enemies activity sheet
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Love Your Enemies Activity Sheet

This Love Your Enemies activity sheet can be used for religious education or Children’s Liturgy of the Word. It is a fill in the blank sheet.

Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit Cryptogram
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Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit Cryptogram

This worksheet introduces the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. A definition of each gift or fruit is given along with the encrypted answer. Each letter actually represents a different letter. So every time a youth decrypts a word, they get more clues for how to decrypt the remaining word.

baptism word search puzzle
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Baptism Word Search Puzzle

This word search puzzle includes words typically associated with baptism. It is suitable for use with your Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Vacation Bible School (VBS), or Youth Ministry.

The Ten Commandments Lesson and Cryptogram
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Ten Commandments Cryptogram

This is is a printable puzzle of the Ten Commandments. A key is also provided, in case you are not an expert in cryptography. 🙂

presentation of the Lord crossword puzzle 1
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Presentation of the Lord Crossword Puzzle

The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorates when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to be consecrated. There they met Simeon and Anna who blessed the child and prophesied about him. Use this crossword puzzle to reinforce the main characters and ideas in the gospel for this day. The printable crossword can be used with youth ministry or children’s Liturgy of the Word or a Sunday School lesson.

Holy Spirit Coloring Page
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A Holy Spirit Coloring Page

This Holy Spirit page shows a dove in the clouds, representing power and glory. It's simple and captures kids' imaginations. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity. The page quotes John 3:8, showing the Spirit's mystery and guidance. Use it in Liturgy, catechesis, or Sunday School. Reflect on the Spirit's role while coloring.

I am the way truth life coloring page
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The Way and the Truth and the Life Coloring Page

Reflect on faith in Jesus while coloring. What does a personal relationship with Jesus mean? How can we show our faith? Why did Jesus say He's the Way, Truth, and Life? Encourage prayer and guidance. Help children understand their faith journey. Based on John 14:6.

good shepherd maze
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A Good Shepherd Maze Puzzle

The Good Shepherd maze puzzle teaches children about God's love while developing problem-solving skills. It reinforces the message of guidance and care, reminding us we're not alone. Children navigate twists, making choices to find the Good Shepherd. The quote emphasizes God's knowledge and care. Reflect on His guidance and trust His unfailing love.

Christ the King Word Search Puzzle
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Christ the King Word Search Puzzle

Christ the King word search puzzle includes words related to Jesus' passion and reign. Words: Christ, Chosen, Cross, Crown of Thorns, Forgive, Good Thief, Jesus, King, Paradise, Purple, Remember, Savior, Soldiers.

Themes and Seasons

birthday party for jesus
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Have a Birthday Party for Jesus

Teach your young friends about Christmas by having a birthday party for Jesus! You can do this as a Christmas or Epiphany activity. We had our high school students plan and run the party for their young siblings, nieces, nephews, and neighbors.

Create an Escape Room
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Create an Escape Room for Youth Ministry

Learn how to create an escape room in this article. It involves several steps: playing an escape room yourself to understand how they work, choosing an engaging theme often based on a Bible story, and creating puzzles that are both fun and educational. Starting with a smaller scale, maybe three puzzles, is advised for your first attempt. It's also important to test your escape room with a small group before launching it. Escape rooms are activities which make the material more relatable and memorable for young people, ultimately enriching their learning experience.

Stellar VBS Ideas

Engaging kids in a cosmic quest, the focus on space and astronauts becomes a captivating part of faith-building activities. They're set to radiate Jesus' light to the world through games, crafts, and snacks, transforming religious learning into an exciting adventure.

Lent
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Ideas for Lent

Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, is a period of self-reflection and penance, mirroring Jesus's 40 days in the desert. Catholics observe Lent through three main practices: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Regardless of age, all Catholics can engage in these practices. Many ideas for activities are provided.

Advent
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Ideas for Advent

Advent, beginning four Sundays before Christmas, is a time to prepare for Christ's birth and future coming. Amid worldly distractions and commercialization, it's challenging but crucial to prepare our hearts for Jesus. Common Advent practices involve more prayer and acts of charity. Suggestions for Advent traditions and activities are available.

Christmas Activities

To keep Jesus the focus at Christmas, some Catholic families choose religious activities. Popular ideas include a Birthday Party for Jesus, watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for its faith message, and viewing Christmas lights with religious themes.

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