I love advent. I think it might be my favourite time of year. There are so many fun things you can do in the run up to Christmas. In fact there are SO many things you could do that it can become a bit overwhelming deciding what to do!
Last year we started our own advent calendar, taking the favourite ideas I have seen and putting them together for something that works for us. (When I say us I mean me – in some ways the kids are still a bit little for some of it, but I figured I would start as I mean to go on!)
We use paper bags pegged on string for each day of our calendar. I like using the bags as they aren’t sealed so I can just move things around if I need to!
We start with the paper chain piece which has the name of that days story on it. We use the Jesus storybook reading plan. I love the Jesus storybook bible and there are 24 days up to the end of the Christmas story so it works great for advent. The only downside to the Jesus storybook bible is that the stories are quite long for little ones, so in our bag each day their is a chocolate coin for each person to eat as we read (and I keep some extra snacks nearby for when the coin is gone!)
After we have read our story we colour in the corresponding paper bauble I printed from All These Things and hang it on our advent tree.
We also hang our heart ornament on our tree. Each heart ornament has the name of a different family from our church on and we pray for God to bless them this Christmas as we add it to our tree. (I stole this idea from a lovely lady at church who does a similar thing with her family)
Also in the bag each day is a character to add to our nativity. We made our ‘stable’ last year as one of our activities out of a shoebox.
The characters are cut out from the paper nativity on Made by Joel (I love his drawings), stuck onto cardboard and then attached to wooden blocks to help them stand. I printed out extra animals etc to make enough for 24 days!
The final item in the bag is an activity card. These vary from things we would be doing anyway (wrapping presents, going to the nativity service, etc) to Christmas crafts and activities (making cards, Christmas cookies, etc) These generally get moved round lots as different events get added to the calendar, and some days we just need something simple (watch a Christmas DVD, read the Christmas story).
Our highlights so far have been…