I just love celebrating Advent, and focusing on the coming of Christ over the weeks before Christmas! It's not just "pre-Christmas" or some countdown to Santa coming, but a lovely celebration of Christ spread out over several weeks. I've started planning for our Advent celebrations already, and wanted to post some of my ideas to help you plan a Christ-focused holiday season!
First, on the 4 Sundays of Advent, I'm giving my kids their "new" Christmas books. I've chosen some really good children's books about CHRISTmas -- not Santa, Frosty, Christmas trees, or anything else -- and I'm going to wrap them up and let Susie open one each week (Chip just isn't old enough to care yet -- but I do have one specifically for him -- more about that later). I will also wrap up the 2 books Susie got the past 2 years during Advent to let her open. Also on those Sundays we will do Advent candles around our Nativity set. Haven't quite decided where we are going to put that yet, but I do want to reinstate that tradition this year -- I think Susie is old enough to enjoy this and be careful as well.
Second, I'm planning something (even a small something) special to do each day during Advent. For instance -- put up the tree/decorate for Christmas (what makes a celebration more celebratory than decorations?), get out the Little People nativity to play with, go caroling, shop for an Angel tree child, crafts, etc. I'm not saying that there will NEVER be anything Santa/Frosty/Reindeer in our Christmas season, but the things I am planning are not along those lines. They are focused on Christ's coming (and 2nd coming) and serving others and enjoying time together as a family. I've actually pulled out my planner and written in things to do. I still have more days to fill, but the point is that I'm planning now. When I remember being a child, and anticipating Christmas, I honestly have such warm memories for some of those days leading up to the Holiday where we did these things as a family. I want to help Susie create a category in her mind for Advent being special.
Third, Scripture memory and Christmas songs -- Susie has a quick memory and does well learning her verses for Sunday School and LOVES to learn songs. I'm going to do a little better capitalizing on this this year and work with her on memorizing portions of Luke 2 and as many carols as we can! We will sing around the tree before bed at night again . . . I'm not sure if we will ever get Susie to go to bed this year!
Fourth, we will use our new Advent calendar! My mother in law sent us this from Fisher Price last year, and I'm thinking Susie will be ALL ABOUT IT this year! I'm going to try to use this along with the words Noel Piper used with her Advent Calendar, since I LOST MINE!! :(
In the next several days, I will be posting some ideas for Christ-centered children's Christmas books and maybe some craft ideas I come across (on Pinterest, of course!).
The first Sunday of Advent this year is at the end of this month -- just 3+ weeks away -- so start planning now! What will you do?