25 Days of Anticipation and Family Fun

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The days of December leading up to Christmas are traditionally filled with much anticipation. The season of Advent represents the long years that the Israelites awaited the coming Savior.

There are many different ways to observe the advent time. To my surprise the comments on this post have been a flurry of Advent ideas. I mentioned that our Jesus ornaments play a big part of our December days. “Advent calendars” are another great way to countdown the days.

When we were children, my mother made simple candy calendars that hung on the wall. Here’s a detailed post from one of my sisters explaining how to make one.

Another type of countdown is one I heard about from Lois. She has a great post about an advent calendar she created. I am not as ambitious as she – no sewing stockings for me!

But, I last year I created a list of activities, similar to hers, that I put on cards in festive envelopes. They’re “fun things,” not necessarily “spiritual,” but activities, that on a good day, give us sweet time and sweet memories together as a family.

Following Lois’ lead, I made up a list of 24 activities to do together as a family. I didn’t need to make a #25. Christmas Day is a party all in itself. I put them on cards with pictures for my non-readers and sealed them in envelopes.

This is definitely a project you could plan and put together long before Walmart rolls out the tinsel and lights.

Here’s are some of the activities on my list to help spark some ideas of your own:

* game nights – I made several cards for this.
* movie nights: It’s a Wonderful Life! A Christmas Carol, Charlie Brown Christmas, Homecoming (The Waltons), The Grinch, The Veggie Tales’ The Star of Christmas
* decorate cookies
* make fudge
* no school tomorrow – sleep in tent in living room (for vacation)
* backwards dinner – eat dinner first
* a crash supper – plan with another mom ahead of time that you are going to bring dinner and spend the evening with them. The kids will be so excited to suprise their friends!
* an “impromtpu” donut run – complete in jammies
* light looking
* a treasure hunt dinner – hide the different courses throughout the house and give the kids clues to go gather their dinner.
* make a nativity
* make salt dough christmas ornaments
* decorate the tree

Got another idea? How do you observe Advent? Share it in the comments section!

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  1. I love your list of ideas! I will be using some of these this year! I want to make Christmas this year as much fun as I can for my children (even though they are soo young) but of course as always I want to introduce more of Jesus and the Reason over Santa…

  2. I can add a few of our activities…puzzle night, red/green day (all our food and clothes are red and green), living nativity, decorate with paper crafts (one of my favorites cause its like the movie Elf. We make chains and snowflakes and cover the kitchen in it). Just a few more..

  3. A few years ago I bought a little advent box from Starbucks(after Christmas cheap) It is shaped like a Christmas tree with 25 little drawers in it. You can even use a plastic little tool drawer. I gave it to the grands and got it back after Christmas to refill it. I decided to be original and instead of candy did my own thing. I use strips of wrapping paper and write messages on them. Stories about me, them, their Dad (my son). If I want to include a treat to big for the little drawer I put it in a lunch sack with that days number on it(I have started putting those in a plastic tote). Somedays have a craft all ready to do and simple for their mom. Sometimes I tell them to go to a certian website. Like how to make paper snowflakes ect. Somedays might have things I got on clearance (Paper warehouse has lots of dodads for as little as 10 cents. Like Christmas paper plates and napkin). Well you get the idea. I always say personal things about them and my love for them. If they have a Grammy far away it is a fun way to feel connected. I always ask their mom what is ok, such as is this craft idea ok…will it be to much for you to mess with, that kind of thing. I use scriptures in a simple form..they are pretty young. This year it is an ABCs of Christmas theme. They love it. By the way, I start it right after Christmas and try to have it all ready by the end of Jan. If I want to include a snack I add it later to make sure it is fresh.

  4. I have a great advent tradition that a friend shared with me. It’s really neat for kids! Here’s what you do: take all your kids Christmas books (you’ll need at least 24) and you wrap them(have your kids help wrap, it’s good practice and it really doesn’t matter how pretty these look) and have them under the tree. Each night you unwrap one book and read it together by the Christmas tree. If you have more than one child have them take turns as to who unwraps a book. I like to add one or two new books to our collection each year, so I might wrap them beforehand so my son doesn’t see them. I usually hold back the story I want to read on Christmas Eve (I want it to be about the nativity story). My son loves this tradition. The first time we tried it he was four and it really helped him be a little more patient waiting for Christmas because he had something to unwrap every evening!