I know lots of people are doing “my favorite Christmas gift posts”. I like to look at them on pinterest but probably are things that I would never get. So I thought that I would do a different sort of favorite list. I’m going to share our favorite Christmas School/Advent things that we do during December. Things that are now traditions, and some new things we have tried so far.
- Play Nativities: We have the little People Set we got a few years ago and every year it is a favorite. We also have the Beginners Bible nativity set I picked up at Hobby Lobby one year. We have also made fun people for our Nativity out of Popsicle sticks and clothes pins. They all get jumbled around and other animals join their sets. But you get to hear the best play when you have nativities setting out for kids to play with. I overheard Norah saying this the other day, “Oh boy, Baby Jesus is crying again.” and “Angles can watch over sheep too in case the shepherds are gone.” I also like to see what other characters end up over by the manger. On this day Mary is talking with Elsa, and Dora is visiting the stable.
- Christmas books– For the last 3 or 4 years I have wrapped up Christmas Children’s books for the kids to unwrap each day leading up to Christmas. This is totally a tradition that we have now and the kids love. I have a crazy amount of books, but most of them I have picked up on rummages or kids consignment stores. This year I brought down a book shelf from Leeland’s room to keep them all in for December. These books are special because they are only out once a year and they all love looking at them throughout the day.
- Why do they Call it Christmas DVD– We Have been watching the What’s in the bible DVD this year and loving them. They have a Christmas one that we just finished watching. I can’t tell you how great it was and how much we all learned. It answers these questions and probably more:
- Where do we get the word Christmas?
- When was Jesus born?
- What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?
- Who is St. Nicholas?
- What is Hanukkah?
- Who is Emmanuel?
- Luke 2 Story
Chris asked, ” and the video was how long?” The girls even asked Chris questions to see if he would tell us the answers that they learned. We also have the book, Why do they call it Christmas? (Which is a condensed version of the video). If you are going to get any Christmas DVD this should be at the top of your list.
- Advent Devotional– I have struggled to find a kid appropriate advent devotional to read with the kids when we light our advent wreath. They are often too long or just over their heads. When we bought our What’s in the bible pack we also got the Everyday Emmanuel book. This is perfect for our family this year. Every week the kids get to color an ornament word that the candle represents. Lillian made a paper advent wreath and had been adding her ornaments to that each week and Norah and Leeland put them on their Jesse Tree. We light the candle and there is a prayer, things to talk about, short scripture, and a song all in one lesson. Then there is also lessons about Big questions about Christmas. This books hits it all, so good and will definitely use it next year.
Christmas Countdown– This year we made Christmas countdowns for JUMP. The girls got to make theirs first so I would have examples. We used lick and stick paper chains. Lillian could do this by herself and Norah and I worked on them together. When they were done each girl hung them by their bed. They get to rip off one chain each day until Christmas. This has seriously cut down on the “When is Christmas?” question.
- Daily Advent Lessons– For the last three year we have been doing the ebook, Truth in the Tinsel . We loved this program. It was perfect for the girls. There are lessons, crafts and printable ornaments for each day in December. We were looking for a chance this year and decided to do the Jesse Tree. I had picked up the Jesse Tree book by Geraldine McCaughrean 5 years ago at an after Christmas clearance sale. One of my go to blogs had a printable ornament that go along with the book that we have been coloring each day. Lillian has been sticking them to the wall and Leeland and Norah both wanted trees so they could put their ornaments on. This has been perfect this year.
Discussion sticks- Were were given the A Night Like No Other cup and discussion sticks from our church. They have been sitting on our table for the month of December. Each meal we pick a stick out and read what is on there. The Hearts had us focus on others and praying, the Crosses had us reading scripture from the bible to bring our hearts back the story of Christ, the Trees asked questions about the Christmas story , and the Stars give us little ways to touch others with the love of Christ. This was something new this year. The kids like pulling the stick out of the cup and we all liked answering the questions.
- Advent Countdown– For two years we had the toilet paper tube countdown that I lovenly made. I sewed the ends shut of a toilet paper tube, covered them with scrapbook paper, put a sticker number on the front, and hung them from ribbon. This advent set is still near and dear to my heart and is currently at my sisters Molly’s house. I’m glad that her kids get to enjoy it! Last year our friend Janet brought a hanging advent set with little felt pockets. She had gotten it in Germany and we have used that one, last year and this year. I put some m&ms in each pocket, and their ornament they are going to color that day. This year I stepped it up a bit and had the kids graph their m&ms they got that day on their own graph. It was a fun teachery addition this year. I wasn’t going to make one for Leeland but the first day we brought them out he said , “Mine?” So I printed one off for him as well.