An Advent calendar doesn’t require fancy paper or a pretty system. You can jot a plan on notebook paper or scribble it down on the back of an envelope. Living a joyful life doesn’t require much money. It requires a heart willing to live this one life!
There’s room at the table for those of us jotting ideas on scrap paper and there’s room for those who delight in pin-worthy crafts. I’ll just meet you somewhere in the middle of those options. Alright?
I do joy. I do love. I don’t always do fancy, and yet sometimes I do! With that disclaimer aside, may I suggest some ideas to spread joy and to love others well this Advent season?
Can we join together, those with the scribbled notebooks and those with the Pinterest crafts, and prepare Him room together?
Let’s celebrate the birthday of our King with great joy!
Christmas isn’t about what you can craft or create, sweet sisters. It’s about our need for a Messiah and our celebration that He has come!
Advent is a celebration that looks back and rejoices that He has come while simultaneously looking forward and rejoicing that He is coming back again!
This is Christmas. Christmas is our Savior. Christmas is worthy of celebration!
And listen, friends. A few years ago, I made a crafty calendar to hold my Advent ideas. Please know that this is not necessary. Just celebrate Jesus.
With that aside, I’d love to share a list of 25 Ideas for your Advent calendar. I’m certain that it will spark your own creativity! Your ideas may be even more exciting than mine, in which case I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Just to get us started, here are 25 ideas to prepare Him room as we celebrate His birth. Make it your own! Add whatever works well for your crew and use any or all of my ideas that you might enjoy!
1) Set up a nativity scene in your home as a family. If your children are small, you might find a kid-friendly manger scene with figurines that can be moved about. Little hands are magnets to manger animals, I tell you. We love this Fisher Price nativity scene and also Star from Afar!
2) Visit a senior adult, a widow, maybe even your own grandmother and decorate her Christmas tree as a family. Be sure to enjoy Christmas music while you decorate!
3) Watch a favorite Christmas movie as a family. The entire family may enjoy A Charlie Brown Christmas!
4) Make gingerbread houses or gingerbread men as a family. Friends, you don’t have to begin from scratch. Buy a kit. You’re welcome!
5) Write a Christmas letter to a soldier, a missionary, or a sponsored child if your family sponsors a child in another country.
6) Mail the letter to the soldier, missionary, or child as a family. Be sure to warmly greet the postmaster or clerk at the mail counter. Model kindness, joy, and patience for your children.
7) Make paper snowflakes from white paper or coffee filters as a reminder of God’s creativity and goodness. Tell children that every snowflake is different and created by God, just as every person is a precious and unique creation!
8) Be a part of your community’s festivities with a smiling face and kindness. Your family might choose to visit the town Christmas tree or a live nativity! Your family might visit the local Santa Claus or you may choose an evening drive to see the decorations of local churches and businesses! Wherever you go on this day, be intentionally warm and loving to those in your own town.
9) Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas activity like a pioneer in the 1800s. String popcorn or cranberries to add decor to your home while watching The Little House on the Prairie: Christmas at Plum Creek as a family.
10) Mail Christmas cards together and pray for the stack of friends and family members with your children just before you arrive at the Post Office. Pray that each recipient will experience the love of Jesus this Christmas.
11) Create a family Christmas craft like a homemade snow globe, reindeer food, or a bird feeder to place outside. Have fun as a family while listening to worshipful Christmas music! I like the Hillsong Holiday station on Pandora radio. (I use the free app. A few ads never hurt anyone.)
12) Volunteer as a family to ring the bell for a local charity at a grocery store or shopping center. You may choose to sing carols as a family. If not, try to wish every individual a Merry Christmas! Let light shine!
13)Gather family friends and carol around the neighborhood!
14) Visit a local nursing home or retirement home. If your family is musical, sing Christmas carols! If your family is creative, take homemade cards to deliver to residents. If your family enjoys reading, sit with a new senior adult friend to read Christmas books and the Christmas story from the Bible. If you are unsure where to begin, use the yellow pages of your phone book to contact a nursing home and ask to speak to the activity director or the volunteer coordinator!
15) Find a Christmas cantata, concert, or pageant at a local church to visit as a family. Pencil it on the calendar for a future evening and spend this evening with cups of apple cider and a few Christmas books! Blankets or fuzzy socks are a must!
16) Visit the dollar store to allow siblings to pick out simple gifts for one another or to pick out special $1 gifts for grandparents just from them. These are always so special!
17) Wrap presents together while listening to a favorite Christmas CD as a family. I really love this Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas CD for worshipful music the whole family will enjoy! My mom really loves this one by Point of Grace.
18) Read a favorite Christmas book together as a family. My friend, Haley reads The Crippled Lamb with her children. I also like The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. I also love The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, but I suppose that’s a bit off topic in this particular list.
19) Bake Christmas cookies. Deliver them to senior adult neighbors, widows and widowers from your church, community helpers, and church volunteers.
20) Make hot cocoa and watch The Nativity movie as a family.
21) Drive through a Christmas in Lights display and linger a bit at the manger scene. A frugal alternative that we also enjoy: Drive around local neighborhoods and subdivisions to see how many nativities you can find! Note also the beautiful variety of white lights, colored bulbs, icicles, candles in windows, wreaths, and reindeer on the lawn!
22) Stop by the dollar store for disposable Christmas plates and napkins. Deliver these disposable dishes to neighbors with a warm smile or hug. Merry Christmas, neighbors!
23) Read the account of Jesus’ birth in the Bible as a family. You might enjoy looking at both Matthew and John to see how the different Gospels share different details of His birth! Remind your children that mom and dad both remember different details of a child’s birth. It’s much the same with the Gospel books: same occasion, different details remembered and shared making a beautiful, whole story together.
24) Attend a Christmas Eve church service to focus your heart on Him! Sing the hymns loudly and smile warmly while you worship Messiah, our God with us!
25) Wake your children on Christmas morning by singing, “Joy to the World!”
Let every heart prepare Him room and Heaven and nature sing!
From my heart to yours,