Thursday, September 18, 2014

Advent Calendar

Advent begins the countdown to Christmas and for Christians it actually starts on November 30 and ends on December 24. To keep things simple, I start ours on December 1 and end on the 25. I like opening the last one Christmas morning before opening presents. It's just a nice way to put our hearts in the right place and remembering why we celebrate Christmas versus it just being a day where we rip open presents and throw paper all over the floor.

This year, I'm using the verses from Focus on the Family. They have it all laid out nicely for you and, like it says, if you are going to have a short Advent season then just double up on some of the verses.

Last year, I made the toilet paper roll Advent calendar:

I haven't been saving toilet paper rolls this year, so I'll be doing something that doesn't take as much architectural work. All you'll need is a printer, scissors, some type of string, and possibly two thumbtacks or however you want to hang it on the wall.

I went with simple, but kept the brown-paper color because I just really enjoy the natural colors for Christmas. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the holiday and stick with green, red, brown, and little bit of shimmer - the numbers are glittery gold!

Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus' birth - yes, I know, I know Jesus wasn't really born in December, but does it really matter? As long as His birth is truly celebrated by us and within our hearts, I think that's what matters. It's a time to anticipate His arrival so it should be filled with excitement! Add some fun things to do with the kiddos during this season. I don't add too many activities that go outside of the home because Christmas is a super busy time at the church. So, we do a lot of at-home activities, such as, baking, having hot chocolate, watching a movie, a craft - easy stuff - and then deliver those baked goods or crafts to our neighbors.

Also, by having the Christmas season focused on Jesus by going through the calendar and scripture AND focused on others by delivering gifts to them it keeps the focus off of the "I want that", "I want this" mentality. It provides that almost-always-needed reminder that we are to love Jesus and love others all the time, no matter what the circumstances.

To show my love for you, my fellow readers, I'm giving you the Advent stars as a free printable! The stars are 9"x 10" each and the numbers (the circles) are 3.7" x 4" if you choose to cut the numbers out and paste them onto something else. I plan to just write the verse reference on the back of the stars and 1-2 activities per week.

I hope you like them and that your kiddos have fun...Thank you!

Click on the star for your free printable!

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