The Macs

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

advent calendars

I have been thinking a lot about Advent calendars and Christmas traditions as December is quickly approaching. What traditions do Joel and I want to pass on to our kids that we grew up with? What new traditions would we like to start with our family? Levi won't be able to do very much this year, but we still want to be intentional with him. We want Levi to understand that only Jesus matters...He is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Do you use an Advent calendar with your kids as you anticipate Christmas?

How do you help your kids understand that only Jesus matters?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may sound a little extreme, but it is how I grew up ~ so it isn't strange for me... we don't do Santa. We talk about Saint Nicholas being a saint and a giving person, etc. but we only talk about Jesus. The only 'Santa' we allow in the house is the Santa who is kneeling to the baby Jesus.

It works for us and the kids really don't seem to miss a beat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2010 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Pilgrim Days said...

we do use advent calendars...more than one in fact. I didn't get a new one made this year but my plan is to make one for each child to have as their own to take with them when they have their own homes. With your craftiness you'd enjoy making one and sharing it with your family.

I love Nancy Guthrie's book of advent readings. It does such a great job of telling the whole story and giving the whole picture.

November 23, 2010 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Last year I wanted to make an advent calendar for our family - but I couldn't decide on one - and now you've added even more cute ones to my idea list! Are you going to make one - that could be what I work on at MM!!! I should probably decide.

November 23, 2010 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

I love the ones you posted! We've never used one but I really want to, for the same reason as you. I want my kids to daily focus on the real reason we celebrate.

November 23, 2010 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I've always enjoyed advent calendars, and plan to use one with our son this year (he is two). My Mom also passed along these Christmas traditions I hope to carry on in our home.

St Nicholas Day (Dec 6) - She taught us the real story of Santa, made a special dinner and gave us a new Christmas ornament for the tree. Christmas Eve - a birthday cake for Jesus (we usually ate it at 2am after returning home from midnight mass) Epiphany (12 days after Christmas) - celebrating with a small gift each day in our stocking after Christmas, and then a family dinner celebration on Jan 6.

November 23, 2010 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

We use advent calendars and I love them! We have a fisher price nativity for my son that we talk about a lot as well. We have lots of books about baby Jesus' birthday. I think this year we're going to have a cake on Christmas and sing to Jesus. I like santa and presents, but I love Jesus and want that to be the most important thing. I also read about giving people an advent basket...If there is someone going through a rough time it's a sweet idea to give them a basket of 25 things to open leading up to Christmas. It's a nice way to put the focus on others. As Avery gets older, I'd like to focus on a service project around the holidays. I want it to be important in his life to give back to others. Oh and one more thing, I had someone suggest only getting 3 presents because that is what Jesus got from the 3 wisemen. :)

November 24, 2010 at 5:51 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

I love advent calendars! I've read on a blog somewhere about having activities to do as a family in each day - reading scripture, taking a meal to someone who needs it, spending time together as a family etc.
maybe check out soule mama's blog?

November 24, 2010 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger L ~ S said...

I love the first and last ones you posted! I do not yet have kids, but as a child we 3 kids shared an advent calendar each year and we loved it! Something that I always thought was special about Christmas time was the generosity. We would try to make sure everyone had something to open on Christmas Day and when we were older, we kids would all adopt a few angels...

November 24, 2010 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger Heather @ Life Made Lovely said...

a few years ago we started to celebrate st. nicholas day as a way to start the season off right. there are some great websites out there that explain it and give tips on talking to kids about it. we talk about how st. nicholas loved Jesus so much that he wanted to be just like him and so one day each year he goes around sharing his love by leaving little treats to remind the kids that jesus loves them.

November 24, 2010 at 7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had an advent calendar that we did when I was little, but I haven't gotten one for my son, yet. Maybe I ought to do that? Also, we don't do the whole "Santa" thing, either. Granted, our son is only 3, but we've been sure to tell him he's just a story. My small siblings (I have siblings as young as my son) don't do Santa, either.

November 24, 2010 at 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a advent calendar that is filled with service projects (shop for toys for tots, take food to the food pantry, make cards/cookies for nursing home residents) or ideas for family time together (movie night, going to the living nativity in our town, etc). We have always done Santa but along with Santa we have an "elf" that communicates with my children in Dec. by leaving them notes at nighttime telling them all about the real reason for Christmas - the elf emphasizes that Santa only does what he does b/c he wants to be giving and loving like Jesus. He goes over parts of the first Christmas and gives my children pointers in order to behave more like Jesus. They understand that Jesus is the head of this whole operation and that without HIM there would be no Christmas. It's what works for us - I know you and Joel will find what works perfectly for your family as well : )

November 24, 2010 at 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa Whelchel wrote a book called, "The ADVENTure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions". She offers so many ways to incorporate Jesus into every part of Christmas. I have used several parts of her book for Sunday School lessons and have done even more with my son. Have fun!

November 24, 2010 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger k and c's mom said...

I always had a "kid friendly" nativity set by the fireplace that my children could play with. 25 years later, I'm saving it in hopes of grandchildren someday! They loved being about to touch and act out the nativity story. (Which you can't really do with some of the fancy, breakable nativity sets...) The only problem was, Jesus kept coming up missing because my children would take Him to bed with them like a well loved teddy bear. Jesus and the set are intact, but well worn. And well loved.

November 24, 2010 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

We have a musical christmas tree that has a tiny box for each day in december. We open one up each day and it has an itty bitty ornament to hang on the tree.

We love it & definitely look forward to it each year.

November 24, 2010 at 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We use The Advent Book by Jack Stockman. You can find it on amazon and some local Christian stores. It is beautiful! You read one page each day and the kids can open a door or pop-up as the Christmas story is told, all Biblically based. It is a tradition that can be passed down for many years to come. I love that. I also have the Fisher Price nativity set for the kids to play with too.

Hope your Thanksgiving is blessed!

November 24, 2010 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

We do advent calendars every year. Usually the cardboard ones from the grocery store that have a piece of chocolate inside. This year, however we have two new, very special advent calendars. I commissioned a dear friend (and my former youth pastor) to knit some slippers for my girls as surprise Christmas gifts. When she sent the package, she mentioned that there was a surprise inside. I opened the box and found two (very big and fancy) handmade advent calendars. I cried. Not just because of the advent calendars, but also the slippers (they hold special memories for me).

So this year will start a newish, even more special advent tradition.

Without a doubt, Levi will love the advent calendar tradition too.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Jess.


November 24, 2010 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Bridgette said...

I LOVE the socks!!! Saw that idea when I was researching. I plan on starting that next year. Thanks for your ideas!!!

November 24, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

We try to make Christmas about Jesus as much as we can and not the commercialism side of it too much. One of the things we do is give our children 3 presents from us (as oppose to a mound of presents that half of them they won't even care about or play with after a week....nor do they need) like Jesus getting 3 presents from the Wisemen. We do have Santa - at least until they figure out there is no Santa but Santa brings one educational gift and fills their stocking.

November 24, 2010 at 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Heather said...

We have never done advent calendars, but we do Adorenaments. We have a special tree that is our Jesus Tree and every night for the 12 nights leading up to Christmas Eve we open the ornaments in order (the girls take turns) and read the scripture and explanation. They are all different names for Jesus. One of my girls was compelled to ask Jesus in her heart one evening after doing this. I just love this tradition! Advent calendars are wonderful....

November 24, 2010 at 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Karina said...

We have a big red wooden house with 25 doors in it. Every day the kids open a door and get a treat as they do the count-down to Christmas. Sometimes I write poems and put them behind the doors with scavenger hunt hints in them, but this year we'll do ornaments for the tree and they will take turns hanging them.

We don't talk about Jesus, except to inform the children where Christmas traditions come from.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2010 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

We're going to have a happy birthday party for Jesus. We want Emersyn, our 2 yo daughter, to understand that Christmas is Jesus' birthday so we celebrat Him and GIVE. On her birthday we celebrate her and receive. We are still going to do Santa and he will fill up her stocking, but Christmas in our family is going to be much more about giving. I can't wait to take her shopping for gifts for the needy and children who are less fortunate.

I love the idea of an advent calendar and advent readings in general. What an incredible season to focus on our Lord and center our lives around Him. He is so good.

November 24, 2010 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Marisa said...

It feels like little people (and big people alike) are bombarded on a pretty constant basis throughout the holiday season...especially now with Black Friday ads flooding our TV's and littering our mailboxes. For our family and our 3 little boys at home, we find ourselves reminding them often and much that Christmas is about the "Who" rather than the "what." Since birthdays are a big deal around our house, we love to make a big deal out of Jesus' birthday too. We love counting down to Jesus' birthday with a couple of advent calendars...they've become a great source of conversation and one of my favorite traditions for our family. (The two I've made for our home are here:
Loved the ones you featured above--so stinkin' cute!

I know whatever you guys choose to do for sweet Levi, you will show that little boy what it is all about (in crafty Jess style, no doubt). :)

Happy Thanksgiving, girl.


November 24, 2010 at 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My parents made advent calendars for my sister and me when we were little. We got them filled every year - and even now that we live hundreds of miles apart, we still get that handmade advent calendar filled by our dad. I cant imagine the xmas season with out it.


November 25, 2010 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Mory said...

I have always done advent calendars, but this year I participated in the Advent Jesse Tree at our church and now I have 25 homemade ornaments that weave a story through the bible and end with Christ's birth - plus there is a devotional book to be read with each day. Excited to use it this year!

November 25, 2010 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

I love reading your blog. We are missionaries in another country so it is easier to protect our children from all the commercialism in America. We have also never allowed Santa to take the place of Jesus at Christmas. My kids are 8 and 9. We were listening to Christmas music online yesterday as we put up the tree and my son said, "Momma they are only playing songs about Santa. That is not who Christmas is about." My heart jumped for joy as I realized he does know the true meaning of Christmas. I struggled when they were younger about the whole Santa thing, but now they are getting older I realized the impact it has had on them. An amazingly good impact!

November 26, 2010 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger teampischke said...

I think this may be my 2nd comment EVER... but this is my passion. sooo...these ideas are not my own.. when I saved them I lost the source...BUT they are GREAT for small kids.. Blessing to you.

1. Band-aid: Jesus is our healer. Read Jesus heals the 10 lepers in
Luke ch. 17 (p.s. this went over really well since she got to put her
band-aid on before bed!)
2. Pecan nut: God taking care of animals. Matthew 10 & we have a bookwith kids thanking God for nuts to feed the animals. (Then she will
get to eat the pecan)
3. Leaf: Noah's ark. Dove went out and brought back the olive branch, new life.
4. Butterfly: Read story Hermie and Wormie. Transformation, we are
like the caterpillar to the butterfly. (we have a butterfly hair clip)
5. Light bulb: God made the light/dark in Genesis and Jesus is thelight of the world.
6. Rock: David and Goliath (her favorite story right now)
7. Hay: Jesus born in a manger. Story of His birth in Luke.
8. Cup: the wedding feast where Jesus turns water into wine for His
first miracle.
9. Bread: Give us today our daily bread. Prayer in Matt 15.
10. Q-tip: Sit and listen to Jesus. Mary and Martha with Jesus in Luke
Day 11. Heart: Psalm 119:11. I have hidden Your Word in my heart.
12. Nail: Unless the Lord builds the house- Psalm 127:1. Then build
and decorate a gingerbread house. (Without nails of course... you may
have thought it was for Jesus's hands- we are not ready for that
13. Candy: Psalm 34:8. "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed
is the man who trusts in Him."
14. Map: Mark 16:15. "Go into all the world and preach the good news."
15. Bar of soap: Having a clean heart. Psalm 24:4-5 (she loves taking
baths with actual bar-soap, so she will get to use it next bathtime.)
16. Key: Paul and Silas locked in prison and then released. Acts 13 and 16
17. Cotton ball: Psalm 100:3. We are like sheep.
18. Ring: Isaac and Rebekah get married. Genesis 24.
19. Torn piece of paper: Ecc 3. A time for everything. It is torn and
she will get to mend it with tape.
20. Net: Matt 4. Called to be fishers of men. (I am using an avocado net)
21. Two silver coins: The good Samaritan gives 2 coins, Luke 10.
22. Little wash cloth: Jesus washes his disciples feet. John 13
23. Empty: the tomb is empty, so nothing will be inside. Matthew 28.
24. Sugar packet: Bake a cake for Jesus.
25. Star: The star of Bethlehem. Matthew/Luke's story of Jesus' birth
on Christmas morning and we might even let them eat cake for
breakfast- ahhhhhhh!

November 27, 2010 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger . said...

Ahh, advent calenders! I was actually planning on posting about the one I made this year and some of my favorites since I see everyone else in sharing theirs.

& in case you're interested. were having a giveaway from Lullaby of Love where one winner will receive their own customizable lullaby

Happy Holidays!

November 30, 2010 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Sara @ Mom Endeavors said...

We have never used an advent calendar before, but are starting this year. I made ours using a muffin tin. We have an activity to do each day as a family.

December 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Mrs.Haggie810 said...

Great post! I love the idea of socks on a line! This totally has given me some new ideas for ours that I am making (late) today! :)

December 2, 2010 at 5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good toys is Black Friday Advent Calendar . That's great. Thank you.

September 23, 2011 at 11:20 PM  

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