What to give up for lent, non food suggestions


Okay first of all, I know it's still Christmas Season...but Lent is just 6 weeks away!

I so wish that the Christmas season and Lent had a little more space between the two. :oWhen lent starts in February it's so hard to have to go from happy to penitential in just a few weeks. One year there were literally only two weeks between the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of lent! :eek:

Okay, on to my question. What are some good non-food items to give up for lent? :confused:



:D I am too cruel! When you can't give up food think of other things that would be a serious sacrifice, maybe time surfing the internet is one.

Another way to prepare for Easter is to add something or do something you would not normally do. Go to daily mass, make an effort to befriend someone that is challenging for you, give alms sacrificially. Decide to give up complaining (especially if you enjoy it! :D), criticizing or judging. Make a very focussed effort to pray for help in overcoming an area of sin that you struggle with. For example, decide you will not gossip if that is a weakness. Pray about it everyday and watch your behavior closely. Perhaps buy a book about overcoming gossip and read a few pages everyday throughout Lent. Strengthen your virtue by deciding every day to find something kind or complementary to say to everyone you interact with.

If you won't be giving up food due to your care of small children growing in patience is always a needed virtue! ;)

God bless you, please pray for me during your Lenten observances!


Kindness, actually I gave up CAF for advent and I have to tell you it was very difficult!!! Now I'm trying to find a happy balance, it's hard though :p

Here are some ideas:

Do your find your self in a habitually sinful situation? Try giving up what is leading you into sin (this could even be something like CAF if, say, your over indulging at the office).

Not there? Don't worry, take another good look at your life, where could you use some improvement? 2 years ago I "gave up" being sedantary... i.e. I saw that I was in terrible personal shape, so I made a life change that includes more exercies (to great effect btw!)

The next year it was my diet, the goal with these was a more permenant life change.

Don't need to make changes here? How about "giving up" not being involved in any ministry or charity which helps your community (soup kitchen? other such things...).

Maybe if you can find good alternatives you might give up something like driving, help the environment by taking one more car off the road for a while (run your car for 15 min every couple days though to prevent damage from sitting there lol).

Give up TV

Give up trashy books.

Honestly most my idea's tend not to be traditional "give up" idea's as much as they really are "start doing" idea's... Like start studying the bible more (give up not reading the bible?), start studying the fathers or something lol :)


I was mulling over giving up Face book for lent.


Give up some of your free time to do something nice for someone else.


I am giving up free time to dedicate to Adoration.

I actually started this week. I hope it transforms into a regular habit :)


I plan to give up complaining. Since I’ll be in the last month and a half of pregnancy, I expect it’ll be tough!

But I often choose to add rather than give up things. It often helps a lot more, so that you’re focusing on the positive changes you’re making rather than the thing you want and can’t have. Adding an extra prayer time during the day or an extra time going to daily Mass each week are both resolutions that have worked well for me.


I'm a new revert. I was thinking of giving up alcohol for Lent. But my birthday is right in the middle of it and it's the Big 50. Argghh! I suppose I could give up alcohol except for my birthday dinners but that feels like cheating.

Giving up mindless TV watching would a good, healthy, thing to do. I waste a ton of time just having the TV on and watching endless news and meaningless TV. Plus I have a stack of movies that I have been meaning to watch, many of them that are good. I do work at a TV studio but it would be easy to not watch while at work.

Saying a daily rosary would be powerful.


Bassman 60, y'know St. Patrick's day usually falls in Lent (March 17) and in Ireland they take a day out of Lent to celebrate. Now I should say they celebrate St. Paddies differently in the Emerald Isle than in America. In my experience you won't find green beer and plastic shamrocks. If they wear a color it's not just green but green, gold (orange) and white in honor of the flag and they wear real shamrocks pinned like a buttonhole. It is also seen as a religious holiday mostly. (Irish CAF members please correct me if I'm off base :o) People will go to mass as it is a feast day. In America it seems to have become an ethnic holiday and excuse for a good knees-up (party).

Anyway I think it would be fine to celebrate your birthday, especially as it is such an important one ;). It is the spirit of the occasion that's important. You could also go to mass that day and one evening of drinking in honor of a 50th is fine in my book, I'd be surprised if any priest told you differently. Nothing to stop you staying away from TV and saying your rosary either.

God bless and Congratulations!!


I'm not Catholic, but do observe Lent; I came up with this idea one year when I was already eating such a strict diet that there was nothing left to give up!

I covered my hair. Now, I am basically a pretty down-to-Earth, low-maintenance type of woman, but I am absolutely anal about my hair. How I wash it, what to wash it with, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, hairstyles, accessories...you name it. So I decided I would cover my head, at least in public, during Lent--"giving up" my pride. It turned out to be one of the most meaningful things I've ever done, and it eventually led to me covering my hair full-time.

Another nice idea--a church that I belonged to at the time gave everyone Lenten calendars and a piggy bank (actually, just a mason jar with a slot cut in the lid). The calendar had a different blessing/privilege every day that you were to pay attention to, and a small amount of money to 'donate' in gratitude.

For example, one day might be "5 cents for every pair of shoes you own,"
another day might be "25 cents if you took a hot shower today,"
another day "$1 if you have electricity in your house,"
or--gulp!!--1 cent for every pound you weigh."

The amount of money to be donated any given day was always small, and the blessings/privileges were things that almost all of us would possess (food, shelter, the ability to read, owning a car, etc.). At the end of the Lenten season, piggy banks were collected and the money given to a worthy cause. Maybe you could do something like that? It really made me aware of how blessed I am.



One can certainly get rid of facebook, myspace, twitter, etc. For Lent. As a student, I can't very well give up internet altogether as I need it for research and email between professors and peers, but unecessary internet can go. Also, tv of all kinds can go. Eating out at fast food restaurants...eating out at all for that matter and giving the excess funds to the poor, the Church, etc.. Basically, find something that you use/do/enjoy a lot that isn't absolutely necessary for survival on this blue planet, and let it go for a few weeks. So many things one can do that matter when the things that don't matter are removed from the daily schedule and budget.



Last Lent was my first as a married woman. I had (already) fallen into the bad habit of staying up and sleeping in late (made possible by a sweet graduate class schedule) even as my hardworking husband was waking up at 5am to get ready for work. For Lent I decided to get on DH's work/sleep schedule by waking with him at 5 amd going to sleep at 9 when he did. It was tough, especially on Mondays, but I really felt like it helped our marriage, not only by enabling us to spend more time together, but by creating empathy and appreciation in me for my loving, generous husband.


I’m seriously considering covering my hair for Mass during Lent. For me, I feel like I should, but it’s also a sacrifice in pride and going against what is normal at my Parish.


Last year I gave up rolling my eyes. :rolleyes: It sounds silly, but it was a very difficult exercise in humility. It increased my respect for others and improved some relationships.



Here are some ideas. Remember Lent is not always about giving upi things. Sometimes it can involve taking on spiritual burdens. Some better than others. Some are serious, some meant for comic relief and some are actually both.

Burdens to take on:

*]Daily Mass
*]Pray all 20 mysteries of the Rosary daily.
*]Pray all seven offices of Liturgy of the Hours
*]Take an enemy at work to lunch, especially on a Friday
*]Go to a retreat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
*]Read the Bible for at least 30 minutes each day (indulgences attached).
*]Read the writings of great saints every day.
*]Daily Adoration.
*]Join 40 Days For Life vigils
*]Spend quality time with your mother-in-law (or child-in-law).
*]Exercise for 1 hour a day.
*]Stations of the Cross every Friday

Thing to give up:

*]Fast every day
*]Give up alcohol
*]Quit smoking
*]Go without sleep from the morning of Holy Thursday though evening of Good Friday (like our Lord was thought to have endured).
*]Give up relations with your spouse (must be a mutual decision!!!).
*]Invert your shaving routine (grow a beard if you are normally clean-shaven, shave if you have a mustache or beard). This is for ladies and men! :stuck_out_tongue:
*]Give up bathing.
*]Give up clean clothes.
*]Give up television
*]Donate more than usual (time, treasure or talent) to the needy.
*]Take down Christmas decorations.
*]Stop brushing your teeth.
Okay, enough for now. :slight_smile:


One year I decided to send a couple of postcards to people in my past to let them know how much they meant to me and that I appreciated the input they had on my life- old teachers, friends/acquaintances, relatives, & bosses.

It was a very meaningful Lent and I’m so glad I did it as some have passed on now.


I will try some of the suggestions during this Lent.


Lovely post Susan, thank you.


How about cooking every Friday some Lental meals for some elderly folks.My hubby and I did that for 2 home bound elderly folks during Lent. What a great blessing it was.


If you do the latter three the first one will take care of itself.

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