Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Activity Advent

Advent is different to different people.  It's different between families.  Different between denominations.  And maybe even different between family members.  I still have a very basic, "Sunday School" education of the religious advent experience so I am not here to elaborate on that (although I will probably be diving into that for my own personal benefit).

This year I wanted to do an Advent Calendar for my kids.  I didn't want to give them candy everyday, because quite frankly we're still trying to get through that mess from Halloween.  I couldn't give them a gift everyday because that's expensive.  So, I decided to go with the idea of an activity advent.  This is not an original idea, but I did make up my own list.

There are a number of ways you could set yours up.  Martha has some great ideas that you could use and easily incorporate a written note with an activity.  I personally will be going with some simple, but cute envelopes.  That's just all I have time for right now, and it will be enough for my 1, 2, and 4 year olds.

We have made a real concerted effort this year to talk less about Santa and more about "Jesus' Birthday".  I don't mind sharing the spirit of Santa with my kids, but I don't want the real meaning of Christmas to be lost either.  We've been talking a lot about Jesus' Birthday and how we're going to have a party for Him on Christmas.  I have plans of decorations, cupcakes, etc.

So my list is more geared in this direction, with exceptions.  We have a few that are about doing for others (but we'll incorporate conversation about how Jesus did for others) and a few that are just about some of the fun things to do at Christmas.  Here is the list I came up with.  Feel free to make changes that suit your family.  AND FEEL FREE TO SHARE SOME OF YOUR ACTIVITY IDEAS.  We'd love to hear other things, too.

  1. Using your nativity set, share the story of Jesus' birth day with Daddy.  Then let Daddy read the story back to you from your Bible.  (I'm going to be on a short girl's trip the first 3 days, so I had to make ones Daddy could do.)
  2. SCAVENGER HUNT (I have a Hallmark series started for each of the kids from their birth year. I've bought these for this year, wrapped them, and hidden them.  They'll get to do a scavenger hunt for them, open them, and hang them on the tree.)
  3. Using our new nativity stamps (found these at Joann's; the foam ones you use with paint), paint a picture of Jesus' birth day to hang on the mantle for His party.
  4. Take a drive or walk tonight just to look at Christmas lights.  Don't forget to ask mommy and daddy for some hot chocolate!
  5. As we get ready for Jesus' Birthday Party, we will surely need some party garland.  Let's make lots of paper garland to string around the house.  (You know the kind.  Just strips of paper glued into circles interlocking with the next.  I got a book of Christmas paper at Hobby Lobby.)
  6. Just as each of your have for your Birthday Party, let's make Jesus a banner for his.  It should read, "Happy Birthday, Jesus".  (Much like this, but not in a pirate theme.)
  7. With help from mommy or daddy, come up with a Christmas prayer to pray each night.  Think of all the Christmas things you want to thank God for, and all the different people you want to pray for during this time of year.  Mommy or daddy will write it down and we can read it together every night.
  8. Make a special Christmas treat to deliver to a friend.  (Think simple.  Chocolate covered pretzels.  Chocolate covered marshmallows.  Etc.)
  9. Make a special Christmas card to mail to a friend.  Ask mommy to help you address it and stamp it, then put it in the mailbox outside.
  10. Make a special Christmas treat to take to your teachers.
  11. With mommy and daddy, make brown bag dinners to take and deliver to homeless people.  You may even have to go to the grocery store and help mommy shop!
  12. Make a birthday card for Jesus.  We'll put it in a special place for his birthday party!
  13. Make a Christmas card to send to a special family member. 
  14. Tonight's the big night!  We're all going to Clinton's Christmas Concert at church!  (Clearly, this is very specific to us.  Clinton was old enough this year to join the Angel Choir at our church...we can't wait to see him perform!)
  15. Make special gifts for your friends at school.  (We may do the same as last year, or we may come up with something different...like this adorableness.)
  16. Make a special doggy treat for Gracie.  Even dogs should get to celebrate Christmas with something yummy!
  17. Put on a Christmas play for mommy and daddy.  (Ha!  We'll see how this goes!)
  18. Make a gingerbread nativity.  (I thought this was a great alternative to a Christmas classic.  There's no tutorial here, but it didn't look like rocket science.  I'll post my own tutorial once we do ours.)
  19. Decorate gifts.  (Have I ever mentioned my love for wrapping everything in brown craft paper?  I'm going to let the kids paint with their nativity stamps.  Add old cards.  Add jingle bells.  Etc.  More to come on this.)
  20. Gather all the change you can find around the house.  Then mommy is going to drive you around until you find a red bucket with a bell ringer.  They are collecting money for kids and we're going to give them everything we found!
  21. Go see a movie!  ...at the big movie theater! ...with POPCORN!  ...and SPRITE!  (Probably Happy Feet 2.  Not a Christmas movie.  But we're all psyched about it and it will be a nice treat.)
  22. Make reindeer food for Santa's reindeer.  We want to make sure they find our yard and get a good snack!  (There are umpteen variations of this.  Here's just one.)
  23. Make cookies for Santa.  Mommy has all the special ingredients to make Santa's favorite cookies.  Let them get good and cool because tomorrow we'll be adding to them.  (BTW--if anyone has a wheat free sugar cookie recipe they'd like share, I'm in need!)
  24. Decorate Santa's cookies.  Mommy has lots of special supplies ready for you to make Santa's cookies extra special.  (This will include icings, sprinkles, gum drops, jelly beans, etc.  Things that will make their eyes light up.)
  25. Now today is such a special day because it is Jesus' birthday!  Before you open up this gifts for you, let's sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and remember he is the reason for Christmas!

*Notice to all readers.  Items on this list could change at any time without prior notification.  Items on this list may not work for everyone, so feel free make changes.  ;-)

Hope this gets you thinking about how to get your kids in the spirit!  I know I'm hoping to get Clinton talking about something other than NEW TOYS!  :-D

Let the Season Begin,

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