Anticipating Christmas

My friend made a very special advent calendar last year for her kids, and when I saw it I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate it into our family’s traditions!  She made little envelopes for each day from December 1st to Christmas Eve and inside she wrote something special that the family would do together on that day as they looked forward to Christmas Day… and the birth of Christ!

For example, on Day 1 she wrote: “Jesus is the light of the world!  We will have a surprise tonight to celebrate that!”  Then that evening they lit a special advent candle that counts down the days until Christmas.  She tried to include Bible verses as much as she could to go with the theme of the day.  She waited to put each insert into the next day’s envelope until the night before, in case plans changed.  She also incorporated things that they were already doing on many days (like a team Christmas party), so as not to make things stressful or crazy.  Her kids loved opening each day’s envelope, and it was a special way to count down the days until Christmas and to focus on Christ.

Here are a few ideas for things to do each day:
– invite over another family and make Christmas cookies together
– decorate the Christmas tree
– make thank you cards to use after Christmas
– watch a Christmas movie in bed as a family
– eat dessert before dinner
– open a present early
– do something kind for a neighbor
– see how many friends and family members you can skype with in a morning
– bathtime with green colored ice cubes
– ice skating or sledding
– visiting the city square to look at ice sculptures

I’m excited to begin this fun tradition this year with our family!!

Do you have any special ways of celebrating Advent?

(Post by: Jami)


10 Responses to “Anticipating Christmas”

  1. 1 Shilo November 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    We started doing the Jesse Tree two years ago. I just noticed this morning that Ann Voskamp of is giving away a free download of her devotional for this. Very excited to check it out.

  2. 2 Jen November 28, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    We love the book “Treasuring God in your Traditions” by Noel Piper. In her book, she talks about an advent calendar and last year made I one like it (as they don’t seem to sell them on Desiring God anymore). It looks like this one and I would be happy to send out the “what you say each day” to anyone interested. I think it’s fun for little ones.Here’s a picture of what it looks like

  3. 3 Miriam Christy November 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    We haven’t created any family Christmas traditions yet, but I would be interested in Jen’s offer of the readings that go along with her advent calendar.

  4. 4 Leslie November 30, 2010 at 3:20 am

    I am working starting a new advent tradition this year. I would be interested in the readings from Jen as well.

  5. 5 Phyllis December 1, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I’ll get a post about what we’re doing up on our blog soon. Until then, here’s some of what we did last year:
    It’s also an adaption from Noel Piper. 🙂

  6. 6 Addie December 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve always wanted to do an advent calendar with my kids. Last year we started it but it fell to the wayside because of my crazy schedule and procrastination. We are starting again this season. I am following this schedule loosely-

  7. 7 Jen December 2, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Ok.. I didn’t know how else to post this, but here’s my edited and revised version of what Noel’s advent calendar reading. You start at the beginning of each day, reading through the current day’s section. For example, on December 1, read only December 1. On December 2, read December 1-2 and so on. On December 25 you will read the whole story from beginning to end.

    The Christmas Story
    DEC. 1 Jesus is the greatest present of all. Long ago, God made a promise. He said “O Bethlehem… from you will come one who is to be ruler over all.” In Bethlehem, there was a stable for the animals and a MANGER, filled with hay…

    DEC. 2 … for the animals to eat. There were animals like a CALF…

    DEC. 3 …and other animals living in the stable like a PIG…

    DEC. 4 …and a DONKEY…

    DEC. 5 …maybe there was even a HEN looking after baby chicks…

    DEC. 6 … One day the animals had a big surprise. A woman came to stay in the stable. Her name was MARY, and she was going to have a baby – very soon!

    DEC. 7 Her husband JOSEPH was with her.

    DEC. 8 Out in the fields near Bethlehem, there was a SHEPHERD…

    DEC. 9 …taking care of his SHEEP.

    DEC. 10 Maybe he had a DOG to help him.

    DEC. 11 The dog would run round and round the SHEEP so they wouldn’t get lost

    DEC. 12 along with other SHEPHERDs to protect the sheep from wolves.

    DEC. 13 In the sky, there was a very special STAR

    DEC. 14 Far away, a WISE MAN saw the star and said “This is the sign that a special king has been born.

    DEC. 15 …I must find him and worship him. I’ll bring him a royal gift of GOLD.

    DEC. 16 So he quickly got on his CAMEL ready to travel

    DEC. 17 …and he brought along another WISE MAN.

    DEC. 18 …who had a gift of sweet smelling perfume called FRANKINCENSE, for the king

    DEC. 19 He came on his CAMEL

    DEC. 20 …and the third WISE MAN wanted to go with them too.

    DEC. 21 So, he prepared a gift of special oil, called MYRRH, to give to the king.

    DEC. 22 When he had packed his bags onto his CAMEL, all the wise men set out on the long, long journey to find the king that God had promised.

    DEC. 23 One night, an ANGEL of the Lord appeared to the shepherds. The angel said, “Fear not. I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord and lying in a manger.

    DEC. 24 Suddenly, there was a multitude of ANGELs, praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”

    DEC. 25 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the BABY JESUS lying in the manger. And when they saw it they went to tell people about the best Christmas gift ever. Since you and I are sinners, we were separated from God who is perfect. Jesus didn’t want us to hurt or strive to pay for our sins so, Jesus died and rose again to conquer sin and give us a clean heart. Jesus is the best Christmas gift that we could receive. Praise the Lord that He loves us and came as a baby in a manger on Christmas day.

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  1. 1 Preparing for Advent « Trackback on November 27, 2011 at 11:45 am

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