Simple, Creative Ways to Celebrate Advent and Countdown to Christmas

Joy to the world--it's December and Christmas is near! My little ones remind me of the simple joys of Christmastime at home, from candles and recorded carols to cookies and calendars. Advent calendars are one my favorite activities for anticipating noël because they are a concrete way for children to comprehend the passage of time. (Advent traditionally starts four Sundays before Christmas, but it's easier to stay on track by starting December 1st.) If you haven't started a countdown yet, it's not too late to catch up!

What's Advent? It means "coming" or "arrival"--it's a preparation of our hearts and minds to celebrate Christ's birth into the world. It doesn't have to include a daily chocolate behind a paper door, but it can! And even if your family doesn't include Christ as part of Christmas festivities, you can still appreciate these ideas for counting down the days until Christmas:

Nature-oriented Advent:

Your child can collect 25 leaves, rocks, or mixed natural items and subtract a item from the collection each day:

  Natural items for Steiner advent verses via  Frontier Dreams

Natural items for Steiner advent verses via Frontier Dreams

  Leaf countdown via  Little Eco Footprints

Leaf countdown via Little Eco Footprints

Craft-oriented Advent:

Of course you can always cut a ring from a paper chain, but if you'd like to do something different this year, consider these decorative coffee cups or colorful wreath ideas. Or add an ornament each day to a miniature Christmas tree.

Toilet paper tube advent wreath via Iva Alex

Coffee cup countdown via A Simple Home

Free, printable vintage advent ornaments via Funkytime

Bible-oriented Advent:

Print out these free Bible verse cards from Happy Home Fairy or add a new character to your nativity crêche each day. Or add an ornament to a Jesse Tree.

  Printable Bible verse cards from  Happy Home Fairy

Printable Bible verse cards from Happy Home Fairy

  Jesse Tree ornament photo & patterns via  Fig Tree Freedom

Jesse Tree ornament photo & patterns via Fig Tree Freedom

We have two advent calendars at our house:

A traditional crêche / nativity advent calendar (you can find a similar one on Amazon):

Nativity advent calendar from Vermont Christmas Company

And a forest animal calendar with stickers from the December issue of Toupie magazine, because stickers are such simple fun for a four-year-old:

Calendrier de l'avent from Toupie magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which is your favorite advent calendar idea? Feel free to share photos of your advent calendar or countdown activity on Intentional Mama's facebook page. Blessings!