We’re a Catholic family, and we tend to take advent quite seriously. I love to think about preparing my heart for Jesus to be born, but over the years I haven’t felt connected to the candy advent calendars so we’ve always done an activity advent calendar. So, for example, we’d watch a Christmas film together or drive around and look at lights. What I realized is that we weren’t doing anything we wouldn’t do anyway, and we certainly didn’t have our hearts fixed on the right things. I also found I’d stopped trying to read advent stories to my kids, I was struggling with finding a GOOD kid friendly option. The first year we did Advent as a family of three, I was honestly reading like 6 pages of lessons to my newborn. It simply wasn’t practical. This year I’ve put together an advent concept to share with your toddlers and preschoolers.
The premise behind this is to give them tangible projects that tie back into the bible and help reflect the powerful message. Comment below if you’d like to me to share the verses I was planning to include.
December 1: Kick off the month by going to shop for a women’s shelter in your community. Their needs usually include underwear, toiletries, toys for children, clothes. Call your local one to inquire about the needs and how to drop off.
December 2: Have each member of the family make a zip lock of goodies for a homeless person. Keep these in the car to distribute.
December 3: Set up some snacks and water bottles for your mailman and delivery drivers. This is such a busy time of year for me, so a snack is so helpful. Last year, I tried to do treats as well as protein packed snacks!
December 4: Get information about a few elderly families from your church or community and deliver them a gift like baked goods, candy, or warm blankets. Make sure to bring the kids along!
December 5: Drop off your Santa list at Macy’s where you 1.00 will be donated per letter to Make A Wish.
December 6: Invite someone over for dinner. Bonus points if they’re new parents or someone else you know who could use community and a break from food duties, make sure to include your kids in the cooking and serving process.
December 7: Purge and donate. Dedicate a day to purging everything in your home. Books can be donated to libraries or prisons, clothes to shelters, unopened food to banks.
December 8: Visit the dollar tree and give each child 5.00 or so to get toothbrushes, coloring books, and some other items of their choosing to donate to children in foster care. If you’re community participates, you can also create a family welcome box.
December 9: Let your kids write and decorate cards to donate to the local Veteran’s Affair office.
December 10: Find out which school in your community has the largest needs and put together a basket of school supplies. Get the kids involved by asking them questions like “what supplies do you use at school everyday?”
December 11: Have every member of your family write a handwritten letter to someone. Call me old fashioned, but I love getting handwritten letters. It says, “I took the time to think of you.”
December 12: Adopt a family. Know someone who just moved to the area? Rotating military family? Invite them to dinner! Stumped for who to invite? Ask around, does your church have an international community? Heck, you can even ask on social media!
December 13: Sing Christmas carols at a nursing home. This will likely require a call ahead, and maybe you can invite some others with young children. I know this brings a ton of joy to those in nursing homes!
December 14: Host a hot cocoa stand and require everyone to pay with socks and underwear.
December 15: Send Christmas cards overseas to those serving in the military. Items like foot powder, beef jerky are welcome treats. Have your kids address their cards “Dear Hero.” and simply google where to send them as there’s several options and you can choose one that resonates the most with your family!
December 16: Did you know that most food banks have deals worked out to get their food items at cost? I didn’t either, so cash is super helpful. Give your kids chores or send them around the neighborhood to earn money for the local food bank.
December 17: Serve the people you live with. Assign each family member someone they live with to do something kind for.
December 18: Deliver food, paper towels, old towels, and other items to your local animal shelter. Let’s get forget our furry friends this holiday season!
December 19: Research sales in your area, and take the kids to pick a pair of pajamas for kids in their community for area foster children.
December 20: Go out for hot cocoa or coffee and surprise the person or car behind by paying for their drink.
December 21: Offer to babysit for a friend so they can do a holiday inspired date night!
December 22: Do you shop on Amazon? Sign up for Amazon Smile so every time you shop in the new year you can support a great charity!
December 23: Bake cookies for your local firemen and/or the emergency room staff. Most of them will be working through the holidays!
December 24: Spend time with your family, and listen to the song “Christmas Shoes” and make a list of all the amazing things that happened to you in 2018.
I’d love to hear your ideas!