Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now we have officially entered the Christmas season. This weekend is the first Sunday in Advent, and next week the month of December begins! Rather than focus on a character trait this month - although several appropriate ones came to mind - I decided to focus on the Christmas season. Here's a roundup of my ideas:

I love advent calendars! There are so many ideas out there, some of them simple and some quiet complicated. There are also many different ways to do Advent. Some use a piece of candy for each day, or a slip of paper with a verse of the Christmas story. Another idea is to have a Christmas-related activity for each day of advent.

Of course the simplest is a paper chain with 24 links, to count-down to Christmas.

I also found another cute one that can just be made with paper and string.

This idea uses an egg crate, with a small candy or a slip of paper for each day. You could use your own picture to make it nicer.

Here's an idea that uses an object paired with a Scripture each day to tell the Christmas story. You may not have all the objects needed, but be creative - maybe you could find pictures or make the objects you don't have?

This is a printable of twenty-four Bible verses telling the Christmas story. You could use them for Advent, or chose a few of the "best" to use as memory verses this month.

Here's a list of activities you can do, whether as part of your advent calendar or just for fun when you have time:

  • Serve a red and green themed meal
  • Make homemade caramel corn
  • Make gingerbread cookies
  • Make snickerdoodles
  • Make eggnog
  • Make hot chocolate - even if it is 100 degrees!
  • Decorate a gingerbread (or graham cracker) house.
  • Invite a few friends over for a cookie decorating party
  • Make a birthday cake for Jesus
  • Have a birthday party for Jesus
  • Use nativity figurines to act out the Christmas story
  • Write a letter to Jesus
  • Make paper crowns while talking about the wise men
  • String a popcorn garland
  • Make a paper chain garland
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Make thumbprint snowmen
  • Add food coloring to bubble solution, to blow red and green bubbles
  • Make red & green playdough - and use it to build a nativity scene
  • Make a video of your family singing favorite Christmas songs and reading and/or acting out the Christmas story. Then email this video to far away grandparents and friends.
  • Have a treasure hunt for anything red or green around the house & yard
  • Have a pajama party, eating special cookies and reading the Christmas story
  • Share homemade cookies or other goodies with all your expat friends
  • Write special letters and cards to family far away
  • Clean out your toys and give the extras away to neighbors or friends

If you're looking for nice nativity coloring pages, I found a few that aren't silly cartoons:

Nativity story

Christmas story

Baby Jesus

And lastly, two winter crafts that don't necessarily have anything to do with Christmas:

Make your own snow globes

Ice sculpture fun

Our boys are still young, and we haven't established any Christmas traditions with them yet, but I'm looking forward to doing some special things together this year! Let us know what you're doing as a Christmas countdown, or what kind of activities you're planning for this month!

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