Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Catholic Company Review: A Catholic Family Advent

A Catholic Family Advent: Prayers and Activities
by Susan Hines-Brigger

This little book is wonderfully designed. Much too often I find great content marred by poor design in Christian and Catholic publishing. Kudos to Ms. Hines-Brigger and Franciscan Media.

In this book, you'll find a two-page spread for each possible day of Advent (the length of Advent depending on the day of the week of Christmas). The pages are color-coded by week. Each spread includes an excerpt from the readings for the day, a short reflection, a discussion topic suggestion, a very brief prayer, and a recommended family activity.

The reflections are written more for mothers, I think, than families. I don't think they would really work if I tried to read them aloud to my little ones (8, 6, 4, and 2), but I do see how I could take the reflection and modify it to best fit our family. Most of the reflections are common themes of the Advent season (slowing down, spending time together as a family, recognizing our material and other blessings, and so on).

The discussion topics ("talk together") were often my favorite parts. While not all of these topics are profound, a great many of them could be marvelous conversation starters.

The family activities are mainly those you would find recommended by any number of books, sites, or articles for the holiday season: snuggle together and watch a Christmas movie, go through closets for clothes to donate to those less fortunate, take a drive together to view holiday light displays. Other than an Advent wreath, most of these were not specifically Catholic. Despite the title of the book, I would think any Christian family could find activities and prayers in this book.

It would have been nice to have a publisher- or author-maintained webpage or Pinterest page with links for Christmas ornaments, crafts, and other resources. In the book, actual web addresses are listed, but I think Internet pages are too unreliable over time for these kinds of links to be published in a book. Plus, the author has missed the chance to create something really beautiful and compelling in a well-done page that would keep people coming back. Of course, it would also require some maintenance, which would be a distinct disadvantage.

Overall, this is a nicely done little book, though I would have liked to see more distinctly Catholic activities.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an objective review. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on A Catholic Family Advent. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your family Advent activities and supplies this year, such as Advent wreaths and calendars for kids, as well as Christmas decorations such as nativity scene sets and religious Christmas gifts for the whole family.

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