I usually write a post about toy options we suggest for your kids for Christmas. I looked back at some of my old ones and to be honest, I think those posts cover the options really well. You can find those options HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. THIS ONE is specific to books we like as gift options.
Instead, today I will write a little about traditions that would enrich young children’s (and your family’s) lives as we look forward to Jesus’ birthday.
The last couple of years I have prepared an advent calendar of activities for my grandkids. (This might be a great suggestion to your kid’s grandparents as it does take a little preparation.) I try to include activities that are very quick, days that give little treats, activities that encourage active play, activities that include art and finally activities that point to the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus birth!
I am including PDFs of the list of ideas I created to print for their calendar. Feel free to click on them to download them for your use if you like. Just an FYI, they are not in date order.
I also found this kindness activity list. Just double click on the image and you can download it.
(Unfortunately I’m not sure of my source for this. If anyone knows, please contact me so I can add it to this post.)
Light a candle at dinner time each night.
Have each person take a turn sharing something about them: favorite thing to play, something good they did that day, something they would wish for, say something they love about the other people at the table, sing a favorite song (or sing different Christmas songs – by the way, our songs we are learning at school will soon be on our website for your listening enjoyment. :), list people you love, a favorite memory, . . .
Read a Christmas book
This is something you could make a special time for each evening. Some of our favorites that focus on the story of Jesus’ birth include:
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
The Donkey’s Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri
The First Night by B.G. Hennessy
The Friendly Beast an Old English Christmas Carol, illustrated by Anna Vojtech
Mouse’s First Christmas by Lauren Thompson
The Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas
The Pinetree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs
The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene
That Special Starry Night by Jeff Carnehl
Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate, Ashley Wolff
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star pictures by Lesley Harker
The Giving Manger
This is an advent kit you can purchase. I’ve seen it advertised many different places this year. I love the idea of it. You put the empty wooden manger in a visible spot in your home. Through Advent you fill the manger with hay (placed with every act of service someone does) and finally you add baby Jesus on Christmas day. You can read more about it on their blog HERE. The menu bar will also take you to where you can order the set if you would like.
Celebrate with a pretty table
Your kids can take turns setting the table with whatever they decide makes it feel festive. Perhaps old birthday napkins, home-made napkin holders (just cut up a paper town tube and let the kids either draw on it or apply stickers), special dishes, . . .
Christmas Blessings to those we love
Each night (or once a week), call someone you love and have the whole family sing them a song.
Connect through KindCraft
This local group has ongoing project of service for others. They have a facebook group that you can find HERE. This is how they describe themselves on the group page: We have a heart for serving our community with our families. Our goal is to provide families with opportunities to serve once a month. We believe it is so important to teach our kids about compassion, empathy, & the importance of making a difference for someone else.
Hide Baby Jesus
Yes, I really suggested you hide Baby Jesus. I started this one day (a long time ago), just as a joke with my kids. I took the baby Jesus from our Nativity set and hid it in a little artificial tree that was nearby. This then lead to a pretty consistent thing we did for the following years. I liked to compare the kids to the Wisemen as they were searching for the Messiah – baby Jesus.
Thirty Handmade Days, a blog written by Mique, focuses on craft projects. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be too crafty for the blessing jar. Mique suggest putting toungue depressors with things we are blessed with into a jar. Each day you pull out a stick and then count how many of those things you have in your house. You can read more about it HERE.
Here is a beautiful video about all the blessings we have in our everyday lives.
Okay, so that is a lot of ideas. Some are very simple and others are more complex. Honestly, you can do none of these and still take moments to remember to true reason for the season. I don’t write this to put more pressure on you in this already busy time. It’s just about taking time to pause amidst the hub bub of the holiday and be mindful of the gift of Jesus and our many blessings.
I wish each of you a joy-filled Advent season and a beautiful Christmas.