Great Lent and Children

As Lent approaches, I have been trying to make a plan for nightly devotions with my children. My children love doing this during Advent, and so I’ve been looking for resources to continue this practice. As much as I love handmade, creative ideas, my life is not conducive to creating right now! It’s either beautiful, handmade crafts or school work and a clean house!

Thankfully, I’ve been able to find some easy ways to incorporate nightly readings, and hands-on activities that will capture the interest of my children. Here are a few ideas:

Paidea Classics sells a wonderful Lenten calendar. It has numbered doors for each Sunday of the Triodion, and then each day during Great Lent. It also comes with a booklet that contains short readings for each day.

We will also be using our Advent wreath, just redecorated! There are 7 Sundays in Lent, so we have 7 purple candles, plus a white candle for Pascha.

The highlight of our nightly devotions during Advent was our Jesse Tree. Paidea also sells shrink plastic ornaments for Lent! There is a pack for the seven Sundays in Lent, and another that has an ornament for each day of Holy Week. We will be using our Jesse Tree, with a spring-time tree skirt.

I’m so happy that with just a few clicks we have something tangible for our family to embrace Great Lent at home!


If you’re like me, you already miss the nightly readings and ornaments of the Jesse Tree. my 2 year-old embraced our devotions fully this year, and still asks to “do Advent” every night! Today I heard about a wonderful way to integrate daily family readings during Lent, which will be here before we know it! This Orthodox Mom is developing the readings and posting them as she finishes them. I am inspired, and would love to eventually come up with ornaments to go along with the readings.

There are now several sources for readings for the Jesse Tree.  Fr. Joshua and Mat. Jenny Mosher have graciously updated and shared readings, which you can download:

Updated Readings for Jesse Tree

Shortened Readings for Jesse Tree (for smaller attention spans!)

Also, you can download a list of readings from the Children’s Bible Reader.  Thank you to Mat. Emily for providing this option!

Children’s Bible Reader schedule

2009 Jesse Tree Project

Please visit the following site to see the ornaments from the 2009 Jesse Tree Project!  What a wonderful job these families did!

Please click on the image to view all the ornaments from this year.

Thank you to Victoria, who took the time to take these pictures!

A New Chapter

For all of the faithful vistors to the Festal Celebrations’ Gallery, I’d  like to announce that this site is under new ownership. With God’s help, I hope to continue the good work that the previous owner started, and continue to share ideas to help families bring the Church’s  feasts into their homes. I hope to have several individuals contribute to the site, and make it a true community effort. Please be patient and forgive me as I take some time to organize thoughts and ideas, and please realize that first, and foremost, I am a mother of young children, and that comes first! I invite you to get to know me a little better at my personal blog, The One Thing Needful.
Expect to see a post in the next few days on the latest addition to the Jesse Tree Project!

This was contributed by the Papademetris family. Thank you!


How to decorate an icon with flowers: Icon_Flowers

Here are some lovely pictures of the Camptaylor family’s  work with glass plate painting and candle decorating: