Celebrating Advent

I know, I know!! It’s still hot outside, the kids are JUST NOW going back to school, and you haven’t even started planning for the fall yet; it’s waaaaaay too early to think about Christmas. UNLESS, you’re a major planner like me. In that case, I wanted to give you plenty of time to plan ahead to celebrate Advent this year with your kiddos. Yaaaaaaay for Advent!! It’s totally my favorite, you guys, and it’s my mission to make it your favorite too.

Christmas used to sneak up on me. I’d have gifts bought and the house decorated, but Christmas day would come around and I’d feel like I had missed an incredible opportunity to really focus on Jesus and what His coming to earth as a tiny baby meant. I was celebrating His birth, but hadn’t really meditated on or spent any time with Him. When my husband and I got married, I was determined to celebrate Jesus all December long so I started learning more about Advent. Advent is celebrated by Christians all over the world; it’s where we take time, in the weeks leading up to Christmas – to look back on Christ’s first coming and to look forward to his second coming. Our version of celebrating Advent has taken many forms over the years and it changed considerably once we had kids.

I want to make it easier for you to celebrate Advent with your kids so I’ve spent the last year putting together an outline of what we do for Advent with our kiddos each night leading up to Christmas, starting on December 1st. We would love it if you would join us this year!

I have made a detailed Outline of what we do each night of December. Each night there is a short reading from either the Jesus Storybook Bible, a nativity based storybook, or a story straight from scripture. I have included a short scripture verse for each night that supports the main idea of each reading and also a craft that ties in to the teaching. You and your kids will also take a ‘journey to the nativity’, using peg dolls and a salt dough path, as a meaningful way to count down the days until Christmas.

I have listed below some information to help you make heads and tales of my Outline.

  1. Download the Outline here > Nordean Advent_compressed
  2. I chose very specific readings from the Jesus Storybook Bible and edited them down to be a bit more directly focused on why Christ came. I’ve listed the edits on the Outline with the page numbers and the starting sentence to the ending sentence. In some instances I have left out big chunks of the JSB to keep the reading simple and to the point. I recommend going through your JSB and underlining in pencil what you’ll be reading each night so you don’t have to take time searching as you read. Below is a portion of the Outline (from day 5) so you can see how it works.
Ouline Example

Day 5 Outline

And here are a few pages of the JSB where I underlined what we would read that night. I hope the outline makes sense; feel free to ask if you have any questions!

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I’ve pre -underlined what we will be reading that night.

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3) For the days leading up to Christmas you and your child will be taking a journey to the nativity. You will need a small nativity stable of some sort; this can be store bought or homemade out of cardboard, craft sticks or whatever is available (check my Pinterest Advent board for help). The first night’s craft is making a salt dough path to the nativity. On the second night, your child will make a peg doll of himself/herself and place the peg doll on the path. Every night, after the Advent reading and craft, your child will move their peg doll one place closer to the nativity. This is a meaningful way of counting down the days until Christmas. As the days pass your child will add the different characters of Christ’s birth story to the nativity.

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The salt dough path to the nativity. Our peg dolls are ready for their journey.

4) I have included instructions for each craft on the Outline, but I have also pinned each craft to my Advent board on Pinterest. Find me, Afton Nordean, on Pinterest to see how each craft looks and to get more detailed instructions. There are also different ideas for making a homemade nativity stable. There are a lot of crafts which can get pricey; team up with a friend to share craft supplies or get creative and use things you already have on hand. You don’t have to do the crafts exactly as we do; get creative!

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Find me on Pinterest!

5) Be sure to figure out your crafts ahead of time so you know what supplies to buy. If you live in a small town, like me, you may have to order some of the supplies (like the peg dolls). You will need at least 11+ peg dolls total, more if you have multiple kiddos.

6) Make it your own! If you’re not crafty, skip the crafts. If you’d rather not narrow down the JSB readings the way I have done, do it your way. Add different nativity or Christmas picture books if you have them. Do random acts of kindness instead of crafts. Instead of a salt dough path use pebbles or a paper chain; take away one pebble or chain link each night. Make it work for your family and have fun!

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Paper chain countdown to Christmas.

6) Share photos of you crafts on Instagram and tag me @aftonjanelle. I’d love to see your journey to the nativity!

7) Christmas picture books that we use are:

“What is Christmas?” by Michelle Medlock Adams

“The Christmas Story – The brick Bible for Kids” by Brendan Powell Smith

“The Nativity” illustrated by Julie Vivas

“Song of the Stars” by Sally Lloyd-Jones

I’m so excited for you to join us this year in celebrating Advent! Let me know if you have any questions.

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