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Let's Celebrate Advent

December 04, 2013

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’ anticipation.

(These Advent activity ideas are from Amanda White, a mom of two who blogs at and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands.)

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