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I fondly remember tearing open the advent calendar to reveal a tiny, Santa-shaped trinket of chocolate as a child. I also remember sneaking ahead several days and the disappointment that ensued when I ate them all in one sitting and no longer had a fun surprise waiting for me. Have no fear: today I have five easy advent ideas to celebrate the countdown to Christmas with your family – no chocolate calendars included.
Serve this season
A few years ago, our church launched a new Christmas initiative called #LighttheWorld. Essentially, it’s a Christmas advent designed to encourage Christlike service to commemorate His birth. Every day, you choose a simple act of service, big or small, to carry out.
We love to follow along with the free calendar that offers lots of unique service ideas, and now you can also sign up for text alerts with prompts to serve. In the past, we’ve made blessing bags for the needy, brought dinner to neighbors, and signed up to be organ donors. There are so many ways to serve, and it really is the best way to get in the true Spirit of Christmas.
For little ones, I love doing an activity connected to Light the World, like this gorgeous giant coloring page by illustrator Alexa Zurcher. She creates fun-filled printables (this one is FREE!) available to download and print in a standard coloring page size or as a giant poster your kiddos can fill in over the course of the month!
Quality Time 25 Ways in 25 Days
Love is spelled T.I.M.E., especially for children. More than gifts or elaborate rituals, kids just want quality time spent together. This is my favorite way to do the advent – I surprise my girls every morning with a little note in their advent calendar with an invitation to spend some time together.
Everything from ‘Do a puzzle after lunch,’ ‘Go sledding,’ to ‘Family Movie Night,’ are great activities. The point is to make time together intentional and totally reasonable – set yourself up for success by working in things you may have already done and then really savoring the time together.
Become in tune
The ultimate advent for the lazy (no judgement here,) the musical advent is free and takes practically no prep time. I stumbled upon this by mistake by being a complete Christmas music fanatic. Just listen to a new Christmas song every day – over breakfast, on the ride to school, or during a dinnertime dance party – and you’ve got yourself a festive tradition to countdown to Christmas. We love The Christmas Classics station on Spotify or Dave Barnes Christmas on Pandora.
Are you a sucker for Christmas books? They are all so beautiful and whimsical, I love growing our collection every year. I just wrote a post with all of our favorite Christmas books from each category: best illustrations, favorite musical book, best Santa book, and so on, to give you a few great recommendations to start with.
To do a reading advent, just read a different holiday book each day. Some friends of mine wrap their books each year and leave a new one under the tree, which is a fun way to build anticipation into this easy tradition.
I love the nativity countdown, and you probably already have everything you need to do this with your family. It’s a fun, easy way to introduce the scriptures to your kids during Christmas that will keep their attention.
Just place the pieces in your nativity into small bags or boxes, and label them for each day leading up to Christmas – I really like this free printable. Then, you can have your kids open one bag a day and read the scriptures together as a family. Place the pieces, one by one, back into the nativity, ending with the baby Jesus on Christmas.
I hope you try some of these ideas to celebrate the advent with your family and countdown to Christmas! Happy Holidays, friends!