So I'm putting together our advent for the year...although I think this year's may stick forever. Usually I just give the kids a small treat, we read a Christmas story, do a little activity...things like that. This year I wanted to make Christmas bags from fabric and put a book in each one. I've been collecting Christmas books for the last couple years, some funny, some endearing, hopefully most will become childhood favorites. My idea was to have a different bag with a different book each day. However, I ran into a couple problems. 1. I don't have enough books yet. 2. I don't have enough money to buy all those books yet. 3. I wanted to incorporate our St. Nicholas lesson into our advent.
I mentioned how we discussed St. Nicholas and his heart for Jesus, and the true spirit of giving. And doing so in secret, to teach us how to be humble and meek in our giving, and always let the glory go to God, rather than ourselves. So we started drawing cards from our card basket and choosing a couple family's each week to whom to play St. Nick. I was starting to feel overwhelmed with keeping up with that, the advent, getting different activities in, etc. So I brainstormed how to combine it all. I'm still working out the kinks, but here's what I've got so far.
I decided to only make a few book bags, say eight, for this year. The rest of the advent countdown will just be in envelopes or a jar with cute Christmas tags all numbered. Then I sat down with the kids and we made a list of things that we would like to do during the season and I reminded them of our secret Santa project this year. I included some that are surprises for the kids, or things that I had already wanted to do together. But here's what our list is so far. We may change it up a little, we're still thinking. But this is what we've come up with, in no particular order.
* Have a candy cane...and share a couple too! (Pass out candy canes randomly)
* Go get a treat & treat the person behind us
* Handprint tree
* Give someone flowers
* Read and act out the Christmas Story (the real one)
* Make a gift for our teachers
* Buy a gift card for someone at the store, gas station, etc
* Game night
* Follow the map of Christmas lights in our town
* Take holiday treats to a nursing home
* Dress-up fancy for dinner
* Make ornaments
* Donate to charity
* Breakfast for dinner
* Give a Christmas book to a child (stranger)
* Hot Chocolate and Smores
* Leave treats for mailman and trash man
* Christmas movie night and picnic dinner by the tree
* Christmas parade
* Make gingerbread houses
* Mail letter to Santa
* Make and deliver dinner to a family in the neighborhood
* Bake cookies and deliver
I was so warmed by the thoughtful ideas that my kids kept coming up with...give all our stuff to someone else, go shopping for old people, etc. It was so lovely to watch their wheels turning, trying to figure out how we could bless someone else.
I will post pictures of the bags and all that when I get it all done. What are you doing for advent?