How often will your child ask, “How many more days until Christmas?” A good Advent calendar might be your best purchase for the holiday season. A friend just gave me a wonderful version that is hanging in my home now. A marker is attached to a string, and each day a child is able to move it and easily count the days left until the 25th!
In addition, each day is a small pocket. If I had young kids at home, I could write a verse or a fun idea and put it in each day’s pocket. Children could take turns removing the note before he or she put the marker in the pocket. Each day could be the beginning of a new family tradition.
Here are some of my thoughts for those daily Advent notes . . . I would love for you all to use the “Join the conversation” link below to send in yours.
- Take a favorite neighbor a poinsettia or loaf of pumpkin bread.
- Facetime with a grandparent and sing Joy To the World with inharmonious gusto.
- Write a note to a friend and tell them your favorite memory from the past year.
- Make or wrap a gift for a Sunday school teacher.
- Volunteer time at a mission or drop off a toy at a donation spot.
- Wrap up a gift or make a stocking for a pet. Fill a bird feeder or leave nuts for a squirrel.
- Have everyone find a piece of gently used, warm clothing or blanket to donate to a shelter.
- Write or make a Christmas card for a prison inmate and send it to a prison ministry.
- Make hot chocolate and popcorn and watch a favorite Christmas show together.
- Delete a Christmas party from your calendar and let the kids choose what to do with that free evening.
- Plan a puzzle night (which is likely to extend into the week).
- If you have teenagers, have a stocking shopping spree. Put money in envelopes marked with each family member’s name. Keep drawing until everyone has chosen someone besides his or her self. (Shhhh, keep the name secret!) Head to Walmart and give everyone one hour to spend the money and buy the things that will fill that person’s stocking. It is fun on Christmas morning to guess who did whose stocking! (Hint: People sneaking around the Walmart might draw the attention of the security guy. But, just show him the envelope, explain the story and it shouldn’t be a problem!) And yes, that is the voice of experience!
- Use the busy days of the season to share a Christmas verse or favorite Christmas quotes. Those are easy to “google” for and make a great carpool discussion topic.
With a little pre-planning the Advent calendar can become an important part of your Christmas holiday. The kids will be able to watch the days fly by and Christmas will become a time to think about and minister to other people as well.
Have a great time making Christmas memories with your kids. When they are thirty, they won’t remember very many of the gifts they received, but they will probably remember a lot of the gifts they gave away and the times your family spent together. Spend less time with the people you like and more time with the people you love—and it will be a memorable Christmas!