Do you have an Advent calendar? I didn’t grow up with one, but since having children, I love the idea of not only counting down the days until Christmas, but also of instilling the idea of anticipating something wonderful (for example, waiting and preparing for Christ’s return, or looking forward to the celebration of His birth).
Last year, our first experience with anything “Advent” was a simple Advent poem. Each night we’d open a window of a nativity scene to reveal a line of a poem. By the end of the 25 days, even our 3 year old had memorized quite a lengthy poem! It was such a joy to do together. In the last year, I have sought out ideas to add to the Advent countdown for us for this year. I’d like to share a few with you!
Here is a really cute idea for a large Advent pocket calendar, a tree-shaped version, and an Advent train (which I’ll HAVE to do one year with my 2 boys). But it could even be as simple as a paper chain. Family Fun also has a few simple, printable calendars. This year, I took the easy way out; I found a felt pocket calendar for $2.50 at Target. Next year, though, I hope to have made one myself.
Although you could simply use the activity as a countdown only, I plan to do different holiday activities, have small gifts for the boys, read special Christmas books or watch videos, or do a special good deed for a friend/neighbor each day as part of our Advent celebration. Here is a link with ideas of how to fill your calendar http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/filling_home-made_advent_calendars.htm. Chasing Cheerios has some great activities. (I’m planning on making the jingle bell bracelets, a gingerbread train (kit), the adorable handprint Christmas tree shirt, and homemade Christmasy playdoh.) I like Whimsy Love’s snowman soup. This tree would be a fun and easy activity. For older children or adults, find an Advent book (like this one I discovered by reading littlesanctuary.com) or Advent poetry (I read Jars of Clay’s Charlie Lowell’s Advent poetry last year on this blog - http://adventpoetry.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html).
It’s December 1st, so hopefully you have time to get some ideas together for your little ones. It will bring so much excitement for them and for you, and it will open up the door for you to talk to them about things we can anticipate. You could really use this season as a chance to talk about how we should be busy doing things for God before His Son appears for us!
Enjoy this season!