Once December 1st arrives, our elves on the shelf, Noodles, Sprinkles, and Sparkles take over the house. Bringing treats for the kids, with a dose of mischief, they really kick off the holiday festivities in our family. But this year, in addition to the fun that the elves bring, I am trying to focus on the true meaning of the season, and share it with the kids! So I’m incorporating an advent calendar into our Christmas celebrations. I know, I know, I’m adding one more thing to do into the season that is already overwhelming, but I feel that this one is an important one. I’m not utilizing the advent calendar to simply count down to Santa’s visit Christmas day, but also to keep scripture and Jesus in the excitement of the season.
There are a billion ideas on Pinterest for beautifully made DIY calendars, and there are many in stores that you can purchase to use with your family. But I found three really, really simple advent calendar ideas that you can use with your family! Check them out:
Storybook Bible Advent Calendar Printable and Reading Plan
Does anyone already have the Storybook Bible? When we got the kids new Bibles a few years back, this one came highly recommended and does not disappoint. It paraphrases the Bible into stories that children can easily understand, and now they offer a GREAT advent calendar printable! You can print off cards for each day that give you a lesson and scripture to read, and it’s all FREE. Check it out here to get the free download.
Daily Service Advent Calendar
I think I am most excited about this one! We are really working on instilling gratitude and acts of kindness and service into the kids recently, and this Light the World Service Calendar is an awesome way to continue acts of service through the Christmas season! Some acts are very simple (“tell your parents you love them”) and some are a bit more involved and may take some planning (“visit a nursing home”), but they are all totally doable and get the kids thinking about others during this season that can feel very self-serving at times. Check out the free printable here.
Jesse Tree Ornaments
I love the idea of making a Jesse Tree! It’s an old tradition of making and hanging ornaments on a tree that are representative of stories of the Bible from creation to the birth of Jesus. On Pinterest, there’s a million great and beautiful ideas for making your own ornaments, but there’s also some simple printables that you can print and hang on a tree, or this one, that you can print, let the kids color, and then hang on the tree! You could even buy laminating paper and laminate each of the ornaments so they’ll last a bit longer. Either way, it’s a super easy way to involve the kids in an easy craft and teach them about the Old Testament at the same time. Click here for the printable.
And BONUS– worst case (or best case, depending on your perspective, ha!), buy one of those awesome old chocolate punch-out advent calendars so your kids can have a dose of candy before you send them off to school each morning! I seriously still love those so much (and how is the chocolate SO GOOD??!) and have the elves bring these adorable little scripture cards with them each morning!
Best of luck with your elves AND your advent calendars!