November 24, 2017

How To Plan A Christmas Advent Schedule For Your Family

This year I decided to start an advent tradition with Jade. The idea came to me back in October and I immediately got excited. Christmas traditions are so special. They create lasting memories and there is a sense of security in a child when they know that they get to do the same thing each year. Obviously, Jade is still really too young to understand the spiritual significance of Christmas or to even know that we are starting a tradition, but you have to start somewhere, right?! So I thought this year would be the perfect year to start. We are all set to begin December 1st and I am so excited! If you are thinking about starting one, there's still a week to get one going! Here was a planning process that worked for me!

1. Figure out the purpose, or the focus, of your advent. It might be strictly devotionals, books, acts of kindness, little chocolates, or simply just a countdown to Christmas. I had several purposes that I wanted to incorporate into ours. The biggest one is quality time with Jade. She is still too young to really "get" the spiritual component of Christmas, and while that will be incorporated, quality time is our main focus. We will do activities that allow us to spend time together, create memories, learn about the birth of Christ, and show love to others. 

2. Create a Pinterest board. I went through and searched for age appropriate Christmas activities and saved them all to a board. This helped me narrow down my ideas and keep them all in one place. 

3. Map out a mock schedule on your calendar. I had to do this because as a working mom, some activities are best done on the weekends. I also had to plan around parties, weddings, events, and traveling to see family. I put tentative ideas on each date to help me plan realistic activities. 

4. Get an advent calendar, finalize your ideas, and write them down! Originally, I was just going to do something completely, probably just write down our activities on notecards and string some brown paper bags up...nothing crazy. I was talking to my mom about my plans and she offered to sew us an actual calendar! She made a beautiful one that we will use for many years to come. I am so obsessed with it! I wrote down our activities on card stock and placed them in the pockets. They are ready for us to start on December 1st! 

Some of our activities are super simple, like reading a Christmas book or having a "Christmas Dance Party" to our favorite Christmas songs. Others are more elaborate, like planting magic candy canes, passing out goody bags, and making peppermint play-doh. Some of them are activities to practice fine motor skills. Some activities we will do for advent every year. Others will just be on a year to year basis, so they stay age appropriate. I found most of my ideas on Pinterest. 

Here are some other advent links/ideas I am loving: 

1. This downloadable advent devotional...this is a downloadable format of 26 ornaments and devotionals to go with each. I definitely want to do these with Jade when she gets a little older! 

2. This diy advent calendar. This is the format my mom used to make mine. 

3. This is a great list full of ideas you can do. The ideas are broken up by categories, which is great. 

Did you grow up doing advent? Who does advent with their little ones?! If you celebrate, please let me know how! 

Thanks for reading!