Yes, I’m already planning for NEXT Christmas. Well, sorta. What happened was… in researching (er, falling down the rabbit hole) for this year’s Advent/Christmas season, I came across so many wonderful things that a.) overwhelmed me, and b.) my kids aren’t quite old enough for. So, I decided to gather them all in one place both to share with my readers, and to earmark for my planning purposes next Fall.
But first, our plan for THIS year, with my Preschool Bookworm (almost 4yo) and Toddler Bookworm (brand new 2yo):
- Paper Chain Countdown. So simple, and with a little twist, an easy way to focus on Jesus during Advent. I picked up a paper chain kit in the dollar spot at Target, just to glitter things up a bit. But, this could easily be done with basic construction paper, obviously. On the back of each strip I’m writing in the 25 names of Jesus with scripture references from SpellOutLoud (you can download & print the whole thing from her site). I think Preschool Bookworm will LOVE tearing off a chain each day and having a visual, tangible way of understanding how many days till Christmas. I love that it’ll get us talking about Jesus every day, and it’s a “fix it and forget it” type of activity for me with no daily prep work!
- The Donkey in the Living Room. I stumbled upon this when I was looking for an “elf on the shelf” alternative. It’s a simple plan (I think I’ve been using that word simple a lot in this post! I hope you don’t mind). Basically, in the 9 days leading up to Christmas, you wrap and hide one figure from a nativity scene (one you already own or you can purchase theirs.) When they wake up each morning, the kids hunt for the figure of the day, and then read a page from the book The Donkey in the Living Room, describing the Christmas story from that character’s perspective. By Christmas Eve, your nativity set is full and awaiting the arrival of Baby Jesus on Christmas morning!
- Read. A lot. I considered doing one of those adorable book countdowns where you wrap 25 books and the kids open one per day. I love the idea, but it didn’t quite jive with my budget combined with our library’s “4 holiday books at a time” policy. Instead, we’ll be reading a variety of books, including a mix from my lists Christmas Books About Jesus, Christmas Books for a Two Minute Attention Span, and Christmas Books with Meat on the Bones. We’ll definitely include some Gingerbread stories near our cookie baking (our fave is Gingerbread Pirates, among a few others I blogged about here), The Nutcracker before our outing, and The Night Before Christmas (blog post here).
For Mama & Daddy Bookworm: I convinced the hubs (a “bah humbug” character) to do a devotional with me this year! Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas came highly recommended. It’s an anthology of advent readings from olden theologians (Spurgeon, Luther, Augustine) and more modern voices (Piper, Sproul), 22 in all.
I’m tucking these ideas away for years to come: (no affiliate links here, just things that’ve caught my eye from around the internet).
Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. Includes daily “Read it Together”(scripture passage), “Make it Together” (craft), “Talk About it Together” (devotional/discussion guide), and “Do More Together” (extension activity).
Cradle-to-Cross Wreath. My, this is beautiful. And not just for Advent, but also for Lent and Easter.
Nativity Advent Calendar. Pattern. For that year when I’m feeling ambitious and crafty.
Family Nativity Scavenger Hunt. When we bundle up to view Christmas lights, this scavenger hunt encourages searching for aspects of the nativity.
How are you celebrating Advent with your family? I’d love your ideas! Connect on our Facebook page or in the comments below.