Last year, we began a new tradition in our home to try to keep the real meaning of Christmas the focus of the season. "Christmas isn't about gettin'", as Veggietales correctly points out. With the hustle and bustle and push to shop, shop, shop... Jesus' birth, and its significance, is often lost. We struggle with this as adults. Why wouldn't our children have an even more difficult time then? Without intentionality, Christmas' focus shifts to an attitude of "what am I going to get?" instead of "what am I thankful for". Being intentional for the sake of our children's hearts, and our own, provides a very satisfying Christmas season - and that satisfaction doesn't come from things.
To create your own Christmas Advent, you'll need a place for your daily activity slips. We found small, colorful envelopes at our dollar store. I put a decorative slip around them and numbered them - 1 through 25. I then hang the envelopes on a string in our downstairs hallway. Some families use a wooden advent tree but anything will do. Then, write an activity (be creative) for every day between December 1 and December 25. Make them specific and meaningful for your family. Some days, we do more than one.
This is what we'll be doing this season:
* Serve a meal at Union Gospel Mission
* Snuggle up and watch The Nativity Story!
* Go Christmas Caroling at the Convalescent Home with Cub Scouts
* Make snowflakes to hang around the house!
* Make a list of 10 things you are thankful for and hang it where you can see it daily
* Make Christmas cookies. Some to enjoy tonight and others to give to neighbors
* Stargaze tonight with the telescope and learn about the star that led the wise men to Jesus
* Family worship night tonight! Celebrate Jesus’ birthday by worshiping him! Have a cupcake for dessert too!
* Family game night tonight!
* Write a letter to one of your family members telling them how much you love and appreciate them. Tell them WHY you love them . Tell them what you like about them. Pray a prayer of thankfulness for that person.
* Write a ‘thankful’ letter to ANOTHER family member telling them how much you love and appreciate them. Tell them WHY you love them and what you like about them. Pray a prayer of thankfulness for that person, together.
* It's Christmas Day! Happy Birthday, Jesus! Remember, on this day we celebrate Jesus' birth! His coming to save us is the greatest gift of all!
* Go to Christmas Eve Service tonight!
* Tonight, we go to the old Crest theater to watch the old movie, “White Christmas”, with popcorn and a drink! Bundle up!
* Check out Christmas lights around town! Don't forget the snacks, Christmas music for the car ride and make sure to wear your jammies!
* Snuggle up and watch another Christmas movie together tonight!
* Play some games as a family tonight. Enjoy our time together!
* Read a Christmas story together with hot chocolate and a cookie!
* Go through our books and donate the books we no longer want to kids in need.
* Read the story of Jesus’ birth and discuss how important his birth is to us today. Why do we celebrate his birth? Watch Veggietale’s “The Toy That Saved Christmas”
* Make a paper chain and write on the back of the papers what you are thankful for!
* Write your last ‘thankful’ letter to the other family member. Tell them that you love them and WHY you love them. Tell them what it is you like about them. Pray a prayer of thankfulness for that person, together.
* Dance and sing to Christmas music!
* Bundle up and grab your beanies because we’re going on a flashlight walk! Notice the beauty of winter and God’s creation! See what makes winter different from other seasons! Come back to warm up with hot chocolate and the Veggie Tale movie, “It’s a Meaningful Life”!
* Make Christmas ornaments!
* Make Christmas popcorn balls!
* Bake with mom today!
* Make Uncle Paul’s famous truffles!
What will you do to make Christmas meaningful?