Today for our Home for the Holidays celebration each Simple Living Media channel is featuring some of our favorite links to help you with this year’s holiday preparations. I’m talking about Advent and some simple ways to count the days before Christmas.
It doesn’t take too many days of using an Advent calendar for even young kids to start to understand the idea of a count-down. The simple, repeated act – be it opening a drawer on an heirloom calendar to reveal a surprise or tearing the next link on a paper chain every day – is a fun way for kids to mark the passage of time.
Are you looking for some ideas for observing Advent this year? I’ve rounded up 20 of my favorite ideas for you to choose from.
20 Ideas for Advent
- Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar printable ::: Christmas Your Way
- Christmas Street: Printable Christmas Advent Calendar ::: Mr. Printables
- Christmas Countdown for Slackers ::: Filth Wizardry
- Seeking the Light and the Warmth with Advent (and instructions for a neat Advent calendar) ::: Our Big Earth
- Adverbs of Advent: Daily Devotions for Children and Their Families ::: Kindle edition by David Mead
- Wall Pocket Advent Calendar Tutorial ::: The Crafty Crow
- Printable Christmas Activity Chain ::: Life As Mom
- Santa’s Beard Christmas Count Down printable ::: Inviting Printables
- Books (and more books!) for Advent and Christmas ::: In the Heart of My Home
- Envelope Advent Calendar ::: Martha Stewart
- The Truth is in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands
- An Easy No Frills Advent Calendar ::: Simple Mom
- A Child in Winter: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany with Caryll Houselander
- Ali Edwards’ December Daily Project
- Advent: Lighting a Path to Christmas ebook ::: Seasons of Joy
- 24 Christmas Books and Activities to Go With Them ::: The Crafty Crow
- Advent Spiral ::: In these Hills
- An Artful Advent Calendar ::: The Artful Parent
- 25 Christmas Books for Kids ::: Here Come the Girls
- An Advent Reading Plan with The Jesus Storybook Bible ::: The Mommyhood Memos
And if you’re looking for some more ideas for sharing this season with your children, but the idea of a daily activity is a bit daunting this year, I have a few suggestions for that as well …
Simple yet sweet seasonal ideas
- #Blog4Cause In a collaborative effort from Not Just Cute, Teach Mama, and No Time for Flashcards Blog4Cause is asking you and your kids to think of ways that small hands can make a big difference this holiday season. Find a cause that is near and dear to you and figure out a way that you and your kids can help. I especially loved Amanda’s recent suggestion to put together Cupcake Playdough kits for your local children’s hospital.
- My kids and I have printed out this Nativity Set from Christmas Your Way to color.
- I really love this Christmas Eve Surprise Box from The Imagination Tree. What a neat holiday tradition!
- Speaking of simple holiday traditions, why not begin to write your child a letter every year at Christmas time? Life as Mom has a printable you can use.
If the thought of coming up with 24 different ideas or activities is overwhelming just pick one thing, like reading a book together or eating dinner by candlelight, and do that one thing for 24 days. Keep it simple. Being mindful of your time with your child, being grateful for the season isn’t something that needs bells and whistles. It just calls for mindfulness and your presence. Let the rest just be the icing on the Christmas cake.
Keep it simple, make it personal
Every year how our family observes Advent seems to vary depending upon what season of life we’re in.
Have a new baby in the house and zero free time on my hands? Those years usually find our family with a purchased Advent calendar.
Have a little extra time and energy on my hands? Then we have a pretty crafty Advent. (Hello, Pinterest!)
In a year with a super tight budget? Or feeling a bit convicted about the amount of “stuff” associated with the holidays? Then I shift the focus away from things and more toward experiences: simple, but fun things that I would like to do with my kids during the holiday season.
This year I’m creating a simple paper bag Advent calendar for the children. I am using brown paper lunch sacks and doodling the days with a green felt tipped marker. Inside of each bag is going to be either a small treat (x4) or a piece of paper with a little note suggesting an activity.
My list has things on it like:
- make paper snowflakes
- drink cocoa from our Christmas mugs
- read The Tomten and the Fox
- bake cookies
- participate in our local charity toy drive
- call Grandma and Grandpa and sing Jingle Bells
- go for a drive to look at holiday lights
- take a picture in our Santa hats (the sillier, the better!)
- make real eggnog
- feed the birds
- color a picture using only red and green crayons
- watch A Charlie Brown Christmas
We’re also going to be doing the Elf on the Shelf this year. My oldest daughter Jillian is my only Santa’s Helper and she’s really excited at the prospect of creating different scenarios for her younger siblings to find. How could I resist? I love that she’s so excited about being on this side of the holiday magic, even though I am a bit sentimental about it, too.
Does your family have any Advent traditions? If you observe Advent, what will these days look like for you and your kids?