18 Great Ideas For Celebrating Lent As a Family

celebrating lent as a family

It seems like the holidays season was just here. I put a lot of time and effort into planning family activities for Advent, but really never thought to do the same for celebrating Lent as a family. I know that Lent is a much more somber season. It is still a celebration though – and an important one at that – but considered a more solemn occasion. Lent comes from the Old English “lencten”, which means spring – an appropriate name for an occasion that typically begins today on Ash Wednesday (after Mardi Gras) and culminates in spring.

What is Lent and How Long Does It Last?

Lent is celebrated in observance of the Christian liturgical calendar starting on Ash Wednesday. From this period, the observance lasts for 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. Lent is a season of preparation for the Holy Week, which marks the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The 40 days (except Sundays) before Easter Sunday commemorates the time that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. In honor of this sacrifice, Christians live a life of simplicity, often marked by fasting or abstinence. The Lenten season is also a time for prayer, charitable giving and atonement.

Lenten Activities For Families

As an occasion that prepares us for Easter, Lent is also a wonderful time to spend with your family. Here are some great ideas for celebrating Lent as a family and enjoying the best Lent ever with your loved ones:

Celebrate With a Bang
In earlier times, people used to raid their pantries to get rid of stuff that could tempt them into eating more and breaking their fast during Lent. To avoid throwing away food, they simply put together a feast made from whatever you already have. If you like, start the Lenten season New Orleans style and bake a king cake – pastry filled with beans, apples, pears, chocolate or almond and topped with a glaze. A tiny baby figurine is usually placed inside the cake and whoever gets it in his/her slice receives certain privileges.

Choose 40 People to Pray For.
Write down the names of 40 people you would like to pray for. You can do this as a family or each person can have his or her own list. Dedicate one day to pray for one person.

Go Meat-Free for 40 Days.
Traditionally, people avoid eating meat on Fridays during Lent and instead eat fish. Why not try fasting from all types of meat for the season. It will be good for your health and help you explore new ways to modify your diet.

Go on a Pilgrimage.
You could travel if you like but a short pilgrimage to a local shrine or church will do. Make it a mini pilgrimage especially for young kids. Spend a few hours praying and learning about the shrine, when it was built and why.

Create a Journal For 40 Days.
Give each family member a personal journal for use exclusively during Lent. Encourage one another to write an entry everyday. A journal can be an excellent meditative tool and help you celebrate a special time as a family.

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Spend 40 Days Getting Rid of a Nasty Habit.
Lent is a great time to finally kick a bad habit and start fresh. The unwanted habit can be anything – maybe you procrastinate, think negative thoughts, smoke, wake up late in the morning, gossip, eat junk food or complain a lot. It’s time to get rid of unwanted things and become a better version of yourself.

Give Away 40 Things.
Raid your closets and pick 40 things you can give away, then give away one thing a day for 40 days.

Put Up a Charity Jar.
Give each member of the family a small jar they can use to save loose change. By Easter Sunday, you will have a nice chunk of cash you can then donate to your favorite charity.

Be Nicer Each Day, Everyday.
Let go of the meanness and the grumpiness gradually. By Easter Sunday, you will all wake up refreshed and reinvigorated as newer, better versions of yourselves.

Make Home-Cooked Meals for 40 Days…
Without repeating the same recipe twice.

Give Up Digital/TV Time for Prayer Time.
Everyday, give up 40 minutes of the time you spend in front of the TV, computer or smartphone and use it to pray or actually interact with each other instead.

Share the Life of a Saint.
Pick a saint for a week and share his or her life story with the family. Discuss the significant trait and contributions of this saint to the world in general and try to apply his or her teachings to your daily lives.

Make a List of Things to Be Thankful For.
Everyday, before going to bed, list one thing you feel grateful about for that day and do this for 40 days.

Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter.
Share a little bit of your time with people who have less and you will feel more blessed each day.

Volunteer at a Nursing Home.
The folks at the local nursing home will love seeing and hearing young children smile and laugh again. Share your time and let your kids appreciate life at different stages.

Build a Family Reflections Board.
Put up a large board in the living room or den and ask each family member to post notes, pictures and drawings about what they feel and what they have learned during Lent.

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter.
Animals who live in shelters do not enjoy as much human companionship as they should, so a few hours spent with them can make a lot of difference in their lives. Sign up as family volunteers and help out.

Write 40 Notes of Gratitude to Each Other.
Show your appreciation for each other and thank your family for the things they have done for you. Lent is a wonderful time to reflect on your relationship as a family and what you mean to each other.

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About the author


Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 13-year old boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Contact her at dianenassy@gmail.com

18 Great Ideas For Celebrating Lent As a Family

by Diane time to read: 4 min