Keeping the Christ in Christmas

Long time, no see. October was an insanely busy month for our family, and I am very glad to see it give way to November and fall. We have SIX birthdays in November, including family and friends, as well as Thanksgiving to celebrate so it is always a fantastic kick off to the holiday season for our family, and for us to refocus on being thankful, and making time for family.

This year I wanted to start a new tradition with our kids. Granted, they are very young, Bug won’t be 3 until January, and the twins are only 18 months, but I figured this year would be a great year to use them as my guinea pigs for our Advent Calendar. Celebrating and reading through any kind of Advent scriptures isn’t something that either myself or Jordan grew up doing, and so when I suggested making a calendar for the boys, he assumed I meant one with chocolate that helps count down the days until Christmas morning. However, my plan was slightly bigger than that. I wanted something to keep the kids, and let’s be real, myself, focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I wanted to go away from consumerism, and everything else we have turned Christmas into, and focus on why we celebrate, and also start a really fun (I HOPE!) tradition the kids can understand and look forward to.  So, without further ado, my plan to keep Christ in Christmas.

The first thing I did was find a calendar I could make. There were a few stipulations I had about this calendar: 1. It needed to be cheap to make (6 November bdays, and Christmas…and and and…) 2. It needed to  be EASY to make, because I think I have mentioned, I am not crafty. 3. I wanted it to  be cute, and part of the decorations, and something that could easily be reused. This is what I found. (credit to original poster, her blog can be found here)
advent-calendar

I will be making this on Friday with some girlfriends, I will blog on that later. Essentially though, I have a couple HUGE walnut trees in the yard which have the most perfect branches for this. I am getting muslin bags from Amazon, some mini clothes pins, and twine and ta da! Cute craft with a duel purpose. (I think my friend will also  be making it into a Christmas card holder since her kiddos are too little for advent. Just a thought)

After deciding on the craft, I went on the hunt for the Scriptures I would use, and ideas for object lessons of sorts. A friend of mine found this blog with an outline of ideas, and scriptures she used, and I went from there. And advent, is what I ended up with!  A dear friend of mine, Candace, is taking this journey with me too, and she gave me some of her ideas (hot cocoa, puzzles, and HOT WHEELS!) and we came up with some fantastically creative ideas. Here is the basic break down, but please, look at the word document for a better explanation and the full verses that I used. My goal for each of the days was to have a special time set aside where we could incorporate the Christmas story, or a Christmas theme (like giving, creation, or God’s provision) into a daily activity. Some of these days are more labor intensive (like making cookies), some are very simple (like opening stickers or watching a movie as a family), but ultimately I wanted to keep Christ in Christmas. Please also note, this “schedule” for Advent is based on activities our family already has set up. There are only 21 days because I know it will be easy to forget as we get closer to Christmas, also we have Christmas parties, and a day set up where we go Christmas tree hunting. If you decide to give this a try with your family, please feel free to add, change, or move whatever you need to make this successful with your kids.

Day 1: Peace Sign, Isaiah 9:6; Fisher price Nativity (p.s. I found it on Amazon, if you keep checking you can find it cheaper. I paid $27)
Day 2: Manger, Luke 2:6-7; Nativity
Day 3: Shepard’s Staff, Luke 8-11; Candy Cane Cocoa
~A candy cane is shaped like a shepard’s staff, God is the good shepard, and Shepards were used to tell the people that Jesus had been born!~
Day 4: Cross, Matthew 1:21; Ornaments
Day 5: Heart, Luke 2:19-20; Stickers Gifts
Day 6: Gifts, John 3:16; Letter to Santa*
Day 7: Music (Mary’s Song). Luke 1:46-55; Tree Lighting
Day 8: Travel to Bethlehem, Luke 2:5, Micah 5:2; Hot wheels
~This day was fun, and yes it’s a stretch, but that’s how we travel now. Micah tells us that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, that is why it’s so important that Joseph and Mary had to travel there, even when Mary was so pregnant! Too bad they didn’t have cars!~
Day 9: The name of Jesus, Luke 2:21, Isaiah 9:6; Name Craft
Day 10: Christmas Story, Luke 2:8;14; Movie Night (I should note, this is subject to change, as I haven’t picked a movie yet)
Day 11: God’s Provision, Luke 12:24; Christmas Tree hunting!
Day 12: Creation, John 1:3; Decorate the Tree
~Another day that is a bit of a stretch in a Christmas themed advent, but did you know that Jesus! is the one who created everything? A christmas tree is something he created, that lives throughout winter, showing how God will always provide life. A tree, and a beautifully decorated one, is a great way to remember Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, and the creation he provided for us~
Day 13: TBD, TBD; Puzzles
Day 14: Knowing the Scriptures, Matthew 2:1; Library
Day 15: Jesus’ geneaology, Luke 2:4, Micah 5:2; Family Portrait craft
Day 16: Angels, Luke 2:13-18; coooooookies!
Day 17: Star, Matthew 2:9-10; Luminaries
Day 18: Crown, Matthew 2:1-2; Crown craft
Day 19: Cheerful giving, 2 Corinthians 9:7; Make/Buy a gift
Day 20: Baby, Luke 2:6-7; Baby ornament
Day 21: Rocks, Bridge, Feathers, Hay; Luke 2:12, 22-24, 3:21-22, Matthew 1:22-23, Psalm 95:6; Scavenger/Nature Hunt**

BONUS DAY! Why we get gifts on Christmas, Matthew 2:11, Luke 2:8-14, John 3:16
The wise men brought gifts to Jesus, Jesus is the greatest gift and Christmas is his birthday!

*We are choosing to still incorporate Santa, when I included him in Advent, I did so by teaching that day that God gave us the perfect and best gift, Jesus, and that that is why on Christmas, Santa brings us gifts.
**This day is kind of abstract, I explain more in the word document

What Christmas traditions does your family have? What ways have you found that help our children remember the reason for the season, and to see God’s work in the everyday? I am so excited for my upcoming crafting night, and for the Christmas tradition we are starting this year. If this inspires you, please let me know! I would love to hear from you.