Recently I was reading an article
about Christmas expectations and schedules. Very quickly one gets wrapped into
a giant package of must-dos for the holidays.
Soon you will find yourselves with long to-do lists… wrapping presents,
shopping, school parties, sending cards, wrapping more presents, baking
cookies… and there is no time to focus on what the celebration is all about in
the early days and weeks – Advent. It’s not just some stuffy, liturgical church
word. It simply means “arrival”. It’s the season to celebrate the arrival of
Christmas, the arrival of Jesus as a baby.
There are a million fun ideas for
Advent but it’s not about what you do or what you make or how you wow your
neighbors. It’s about spending time with your family to focus on the arrival
with Christmas, instead of letting the season get away from you.
Here are three simple Advent
activities that I came across in a mom’s magazine that I frequently read.
Get artistic! Grab a blank canvas from your lcal craft supply store
and use a marker to draw the outline of a Christmas tree or the wiggly lines of
a wreath. After your kids think of a special Christmas memory, or sing a
Christmas carol together or read a verse from the Christmas story in the Bible,
let everyone put their thumb in some green (or red) paint and put a fingerprint
on your Christmas tree or wreath. You’ll have a beautiful handmade piece of
artwork filled with memories!
Try a Serving Advent! Hang up 24 envelopes on a garland. Inside
each envelope write a way to serve someone else. Open one envelope per day
starting on December 1. Everyone in the family can participate in activities
like taking cookies to a teacher, wrapping a present for mom, making another
sibling’s bed or saying “Merry Christmas” to the guy who checks everyone in at
gymnastics. Focusing on others will help your kids develop empathy.
Pick 12 Days of Christmas! Instead of trying to do something for 24
days, shorten your celebration to the 12 Days of Christmas! Pick 12 books (or
cookies, or movies) and aim to read (or eat or watch) them during December. (My favorite Christmas book is “The
Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” which is also a movie we will be showing
on December 15. See elsewhere in the newsletter for more details about our
Family Movie Night.) Don’t have 12 Christmas books or DVDs? Then check them
out from the libarary. Set the books or movies out to increase your kids’
activity ideas are from Amanda White, a mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com
and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel:
An Advent Experience for Little Hands.)