About a month ago, in casual conversation, a friend asked me what my plans were for decorating for Lent. I was taken aback. Decorate?…for Lent?
I normally think of myself as a fairly intentional homemaker. That is one of the reasons I started this blog: to encourage you to be intentional in your home as well as hold myself accountable for what goes on within the four walls of ours.
Anyways, that question about decorating for Lent stuck with me.
At first I thought, ‘I’m so behind! How come I haven’t thought about this!’
And then I thought ‘Decorate for Lent? That is just some Pinterest inspired non-sense. Lent is a time of less. You don’t decorate for Lent. It is about stripping away the excess not adding to it!’
I carried that self righteous attitude around for a few days, but then I starting reflecting on how I wanted to observe Lent in our domestic church and the pieces fell together. I know how little changes around the home make our little one’s minds perk up and take notice.
I didn’t really set about to decorate our home, but it just happened in the process of observing Lent within the context of our family culture.
So here is my answer for that friend. I share it with you as well in hopes it will inspire you in some way too!
The Lenten Feast Table
Of course, our feast table is decked out in the liturgical colors (thanks to an old scarf).
If you want to find out more about our Lenten feast table here are some helpful links:
- Devotions using our feast table
- A link to all our feast tables
- Our Lenten Devotional for feast table time
- The Lenten Edition of our Feast Table
Our Lent Activity Table
This little table is really the meat of our family Lenten journey.
On the left is our sacrifice bean jar. Each time the children do a good deed for Jesus, they drop a bean in the jar. They will wake up to find the bean jar filled with jelly beans on Easter morning.
In the middle of the table is our Lenten devotion – The Jesus Tree. We read a story from the life of Jesus and hang an ornament on the !@#$%^&* willow tree every day. This has been taking the place of our normal family devotions around the feast table.
At the foot of the Jesus Tree are our fasting rocks. Each family member got a rock and we each wrote in sharpie marker what we will be giving up or adding to our days during Lent. The little ones decided to join in and give up a stuffed animal too, so you’ll see the name of the stuffed animal on the rocks. (Here is a post all about helping our families with Lenten sacrifices.)
The prayer basket is to the right of the Jesus Tree. The basket is filled with pictures and cards we received during Christmas. We’ll pick a few everyday and pray for the people on the cards. It is so easy and a super tangible way to pray with little ones.
Last, but not least is the Alms jar. We’ve decided any money in the jar at the end of Lent will be used to support our local food pantry.
Each station has a label (sacrifice, prayer, and alms) with an appropriate Bible verse.
This may be totally made up, but I went ahead and did it anyway!
We’ll be doing a Lenten version of the Advent wreath, lighting a candle every week of Lent. We started on Ash Wednesday and then light a new candle every Sunday of Lent. Passion week we will light a red candle and on Easter morning we will light the middle white candle.
Our Booklist for Lent
AND, of course, no planning is complete until the book basket is filled with pages for our family to explore!
- The Tale of Three Trees
- The Story of the Cross: Stations of the Cross for Children
- My Path to Heaven (we use this throughout the year, but it is especially pertinent during Lent)
- Life of Our Lord for Children
- Through the Eyes of John
- Amon’s Adventure (our family adores the Advent series by the same author)
- Little Rose of Sharon: A Story of Self Sacrifice
- The Colt and the King
Other Ideas and Resources for Lent
General Lent Resources
- 66 Things to Give Up or Take on During Lent from Catholic All Year
- Stations of the Cross Box from A Knotted Life
- Lenten Sacrifices for the Young and Old from Elizabeth Clare
- Lent Activities for Kids from Catholic Icing
- Bury the Alleluia from Catholic Icing
- I Ain’t no Minnow Muncher from Elizabeth Clare
- Shower of Roses has a great Lent and Easter Booklist
- Picture Book List for Lent and Easter from The Kennedy Adventures
Decorating for Lent
- Can you Decorate for Lent from Kitchen Stewardship
- Cover religious art, crucifixes, and icons in purple cloth during Lent
- Salt Dough Crown of thorns
- How to make a Crown of Thorns by SewforSoul
And don’t forget to check out The Jesus Tree: A family Lent Devotion!
What are the things you do year after year in your home? Anything new you added this year your really liked or was a total flop?