I love Advent! It’s such a wonderful time of preparation for Christmas, and such a great chance to teach my children why we celebrate Christ’s birth. I’m a little more on top of Advent preparations this year than last, and it has made a difference in how excited my 4yo is to celebrate! Two years ago, when he was 2 1/2, we did our first “real” Advent celebration, as he was old enough to understand. Here’s what we did in 2008:
We colored, cut out, and glued one picture per day onto our Advent poster. We also glued on a verse for the day, and wrote how many days left until Christmas in glitter glue. He really loved this! And it was so simple. I chose to break the Christmas story into very small pieces, and talk about one each day, so he could really soak it in and understand the entire story of Jesus’ birth. It must have been effective, because as we celebrate this year, the exact words we used to talk about each event are coming back to him! I really simplified it, without leaving out any important details, and we had so much fun! And by Christmas, he could look at the poster and, alone, tell the entire Christmas story.
Interested in doing something like this? I’m going to include a link to the document that has all the picture and verse references at the end of this post!
Last year, I wasn’t as organized. We were making a banner for Advent, gluing our drawings and verses to small pieces of cardstock and then hanging them over a wide doorway. I didn’t have it ready to go every day, and he wasn’t excited enough to wait for me to find and print everything. We just talked about it a lot last year, which was good, but I wished I had done a little more.
This year, we’re making little Advent books! We might have done the posters again, but we’ll be traveling for two entire weeks of Advent, so our celebration needed to be portable! Check out our little books:
(sorry you have to turn your head sideways to get a good look at this one; blog isn’t being cooperative at the moment in turning it!)
Don’t you love this tree, also? This is the children’s tree, and they decorated it as they wanted! I remember always hating it as a child when adults came behind me and fixed everything I did, so I really try not to do that! Sometimes it’s difficult…but this tree just makes me smile every time I see it!
These books were oh so simple to make: glue scrapbook paper to cardstock to make the cover; place the desired number of pages of copy paper on top of the inside of the cover; fold the top piece of paper in half and trace the line (with a crayon, if you’re me and have one handy…); then sew right down the center fold, remembering to backstitch at the beginning and end; and you have your book! I saw these first at Lilla.A., and thought they would be wonderful; and they really are!
The other project I’m working on for Advent (yes, still working on, though this is the fourth day of Advent already!) is this Advent Notebook:
I made a notebook cover from an old pair of jeans, mostly because I really don’t have a fabric stash yet but I do have a pile of old jeans I had saved! I sewed the 28 stars onto the insides of the cover, to hold the pictures and verses for each day that will be added to our little Advent books. At first I had planned to stitch down the bottom halves of the stars, but realized I was going to have to fold my papers REALLY small to make them fit, and they still might fall out. Then I decided to stitch the sides; more work, as it meant two separate stitching patterns for each star, but now my papers can be rolled up length-wise and inserted through the star! Putting the papers in is the project for tonight, so I’ll add a picture of this with the papers tomorrow! I’m also going to add felt activity pages in the rings of the notebook, to allow my children to interact with the Christmas story. I’ll have one for Zechariah in the temple, one of Mary’s house, one of Elizabeth’s house, one of Joseph’s house, one of Bethlehem, one of the cave (it wasn’t a stable, you know), one of the fields with the shepherds and sheep, and one of Jesus’ house for the wise men to visit him (they didn’t make it for the birth; he was probably about 2 when they arrived!). It will essentially be a Christmas story quiet book, and I hope it will be perfect for our train ride and down time during our travels!
I wish I had been able to post all of this prior to Advent, in case you wanted to use any of my ideas this year! However, it’s not too late to start, if you haven’t! I’m going to share with you my file with each day’s verse and drawing to color; tomorrow is day 5 (they’re dated, so you’ll be able to tell), but the story is broken up so much that you could easily cover days 1-5 all at once! I found all of the images on the internet, and I do not know that any copyrights are being infringed, but it is certainly possible to do so inadvertently. I would not sell this to you just in case, and am sharing it only for your personal home usage! If you follow along with us this Advent, I’d love to hear about it, and find out about your traditions!
Link to Advent Verses and Pictures to Color: (it’s not a pretty link, but it works; WordPress doesn’t support this type of coding for security reasons, sorry! click the link, then click the document image, then click the large document image, and it will show up in your browser!)
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I had some of these pictures in gray scale so they could be colored, but they don’t appear to have shown up that way; I apologize! You can convert them to grayscale on your computer! I should also note that my verse references are in Spanish; but you can tell that Lucas is Luke, and Mateo is Matthew, right? Enjoy!
Happy Advent! May you find joy and peace in this season!