A Great Advent/Christmas Idea for Young Children

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. It was so nice to see the Advent candle burning brightly on the altar at church. With all the busy-ness of getting ready for and hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I’d almost forgotten that Advent was about to begin.

A few years back I read a clever mom’s blog post describing how she helped her young children celebrate Christmas.* It would be a great way to mark the beginning of Advent.

This mom set up part of the family’s nativity set under the Christmas tree early in December. All that was missing was Mary, Joseph, their donkey and baby Jesus. She then put Mary, Joseph and the donkey at the other end of the house. Each day her little children moved those three figures a foot or two closer towards the Christmas tree, marking the young couple’s sojourn to Bethlehem.

On Christmas Eve, Mary, Joseph and the donkey “arrived” at the manger under the tree, and that’s when the family placed baby Jesus in the manger. What a wonderful way to help the children prepare their hearts for Christ’s coming! I wish I’d thought of doing this when my children were young.

* If you know the blog/blogger I’m talking about, please send me the link so I can give credit where it’s due—thanks!

Another Homemaking Tip I Should Have Thought Of

With four kids and eight nieces and nephews, we’ve wrapped a lot of Christmas and birthday gifts over the years. Wrapping big gifts and small ones leaves lots of odd-sized scraps of gift wrap, which eventually get wrinkled while stored and eventually thrown out.

So why didn’t I think of doing what home management expert and mom-of-five Deniece Schofield does? She cuts up some of her rolls of gift wrap! For instance, she cuts a 30” roll of gift wrap into two rolls, one 18” and one 12”. Then she stores them in empty aluminum foil boxes to keep them unwrinkled and to make them easy to use.

I can see using the 12” paper for wrapping DVDs, the 18” paper for books and puzzles, and saving the full-size rolls for the big gifts. Super idea!

Of course, I’m not surprised, because Deniece Schofield is one smart mom. I have one of her early books, but it looks like I need to get up to speed because I’m missing out on some great tips. Here are her top-selling books:

Christmas is Coming, and We Can’t Concentrate!

The Yard and the Washhouse

Buy at AllPosters.com

Remember being in school the month before Christmas? How much actual studying got done?

Not much, as I recall. Between the kids’ excitement about Christmas being just around the corner, and the teachers’ need to get kids ready for the pageants and programs they were expected to participate in, little serious study was accomplished. (Not much was accomplished the rest of the year, but that’s another post!) Teachers often resorted to filmstrips (some of you may remember them) and worksheets related to Christmas. Not educational really, but it was the only way they could cope with wound-up kids.

I thought that being homeschoolers meant we could escape all the fuss and commotion and spend our time studying, with the added bonus of having time to incorporate various Advent activities into our daily plan.

Well…..it worked like that at first. Back when the kids were little and I was in full control of their schedules (ah, the good old days), we kept it pretty simple. Other than the annual Sunday School Christmas Program, with its practice sessions held at church, I was able to keep things on an even keel and we stuck to our schedule right up until the week before Christmas.

But we kept having kids, which meant more kids to shop for and wrap presents for. And our aging parents handed off responsibility for the Christmas celebrations to us, which meant big family gatherings for which we had to prepare (planning, grocery shopping, decorating….you know the drill).

As our kids got older, they started really getting into the festivities, which meant they were pretty distractible. It’s kind of hard to teach someone how to divide decimals when they’re dreaming of their wish list and you’re trying to decide between ham and turkey for Christmas dinner. Neither of you is really paying attention.

We soldiered on, but I sure wish I’d had the Internet back then. There are so many great free resources available now. I think if I’d had the Internet, I would have just used Advent and Christmas resources like the ones listed below to keep the kids busy until Christmas, figuring there’s always January for serious study.

I’m only homeschooling one now, and he’s still a bit fuzzy about time, so he doesn’t know exactly when Christmas will be here. But once we bring out the Christmas tree and decorations, he’ll be distracted by Christmas once again. I’d better get more toner for my printer so I can give him some of these printables to keep him busy!

For Kids

Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar

Audrey’s Christmas Page (online storybooks, plays, coloring pages)

Christmas Ideas for Children’s Ministry (lessons, worksheets, craft ideas, songs)

Christmas Coloring Pages

More Christmas Learning Activities

Christmas Symbols Printables

Twelve Days of Christmas Printables

Nativity Printables

Christmas Gift Tag Printables

Christmas Notebooking Sheets and Coloring Sheets

Christmas Crafts for All Ages

Especially For Older Kids and Teens

Christmas Quizzes from the Bible

Free 4-week Advent Bible Study

Christmas Crafts for Teens

Christmas Crossword Puzzles

More Christmas Crossword Puzzles