I’ll never forget eight December’s ago when I had my youngest child seven weeks early.
Gifts weren’t bought or wrapped, stockings weren’t hung with care.
I wasn’t prepared.
That year changed Christmas for me. Most of my adult life, I had overdone Christmas-bought too many gifts, spent too much money, focused on the temporal and not the eternal. But that year, I had to let so much go and focus all my energy and strength on what really mattered.
Christmas has never been the same. It’s the year we prayed for a miracle and got it. It’s the year we gave and received the Greatest Gift. It’s the year we finally understood Advent.
Advent is a special time in December. With all the commercialism, busy activities and full calendars, it’s the best way to keep Christ in Christmas. Advent is preparing our hearts for Christmas.
There are so many way to celebrate this time with your family. We’ve done it well, we’ve done it hurried. We’ve skipped days and some years, we haven’t missed one. And some years, we’ve laughed, cried and fought our way to Dec. 25. The point is we try.
There’s still plenty of time to prepare for a memorable Advent season with your family. Here are some of our favorite resources (there are a couple of affiliate links in this post):
1. Cradle to Cross Wooden Countdown Wreath: Activity
Every year no matter how else we count down to Christmas, we always set out our beautiful wooden wreath and light our candles and move the small wooden Holy family through the layers of the wreath until they are home. I love this tradition (even though my kids usually fight over who gets to light the candles or I catch them dipping their fingers in the wax.) It’s a beautiful tradition. It also comes with an extra wooden ring and a wooden Jesus carrying the cross to countdown the Lenten season to Easter.
2. Truth in the Tinsel: For Little Hands
I’m a big fan of this little ebook for preschool to elementary-aged kids. It’s affordable, easy to download and fun to complete with your kids. You get 24 days of Scripture reading, ornament crafts, talking points and extension activities. Plus fun printables and templates!
3. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas
Christmas is about tradition. I can’t wait to walk through Ann’s newest book with my family. This book is a gorgeous heirloom to pass down with vivid, full-color illustrations, downloadable ornaments, questions and answers to engage your family and moving scenes from the Bible, this book is a gift your whole family can unwrap each day leading up to Christmas.
4. Advent Tabletop Devotional: A Simple Daily Reflection
For years, I have kept one of Dayspring’s tabletop Advent devotionals on the table. Because let’s face it: the best laid plans during a busy Christmas season can get lost in the hustle and bustle. Each day has a short Scripture and thoughtful reminder to keep Jesus in the season. And if you order it soon, you can get it FREE with any $50 purchase at Dayspring with code: PREPARE50 (P.S. Dayspring just added 8 more favorite items to their rock bottom Early Black Friday Markdown Items).
5. Kindness Elf: Daily Countdown in Action
I’m excited to introduce this idea to my youngest this year. We’ve never done the Elf on the Shelf, but I like this twist that suggests a daily practical reminder to be kind to others. Our Kindness Elf (I just got a little stuffed one) will show up at the door on Dec. 1 with a letter to remember that Christmas is about Jesus and for others. Each day the elf (I’ve roped my two older kids into managing this) will have a kindness suggestion like “Make cookies for the postman” or “Write your sponsored child a letter.” I think it will be fun and will keep the focus on what matters.