Celebrating Advent with Children

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


I started jotting down some ideas early this year because Christmastime always comes and goes faster than I can get my head around, especially as a tired mom to little kids! I really want to be intentional about teaching our kids why we bake Christmas cookies, go caroling (do you still do that? I love that part of Christmas!), have parties, wear our Christmas jammies, decorate our house and tree, wrap and gift presents and why there is such a sense of excitement and expectation in the air. It's because Christ the Lord is coming! We're getting ready for Him and preparing our homes and our hearts for Him. I know my kids are so little and the meaning behind most things is still over their heads, but they always understand more than I think they do. Let's keep this honest though.. There will be plenty of days that I totally crash and fail at this, especially after sleepless nights (like today), but Cam and I are excited to teach them what Christmas means! Here's a few fun and practical ways we're hoping to do that:


Advent calendar with a treat and verse each day. I made the verse cards the first year we were in Okinawa so all I needed to do was stuff each pocket with a chocolate for my sweet tooth toddler who loves chocolate (I have no idea where he gets that from???) and some little toys here and there. Cam reads the verse outloud and John Shea devours his sweet. He hangs out by the Advent calendar like a puppy dog, hoping we'll open more than just one a day, ha. My mom brain can't remember where I originally found the list for Advent scriptures, but here is another one.

Watching one of our favorite Christmas movies, The Nativity Story, while snuggled up in jammies with popcorn. This is already one of me and Cam's traditions since we got married. Also, we love love White Christmas! And have you ever seen The Star of Bethlehem? Challenges my faith every year I watch it.

Reading little bits of the Christmas Story from John Shea's book before bedtime

Baking Christmas cookies for our Croatian neighbors and giving my babes a super simple explanation about sharing the Christmas spirit. We live in a fallen world, and I want them to eventually understand how Christ coming is the comfort and the peace and the joy and the solution to that, how He is the comfort and the peace and the joy and the solution to every problem, every heartache, every sin, for all of us. That is the Christmas spirit. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Cam reading Luke 2 outloud Christmas morning like his Dad did

And then of course there's blasting Christmas music and having a living room dance party. 

One year in high school my parents had each of us four kids take turns around the table reading outloud through an Advent book during dinnertime. I remember what an impact that had on me as a teenager to take part in something as a family and hear my brothers and parents read.


PS:

Blackberry Cobbler for the start of Advent, thanks Mama.
Cam just started using this devotional with Advent readings and said it's great.

15 comments:

  1. Love love love, as always! I am hoping we will get our Christmas decor put up this weekend, but I'm dreading tiny hands trying to demolish the tree and everything else! ;) Captain Destructo likes to grab evvvvvverything. I am so excited for this season!! <3

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    1. Haha I know that feeling! Merry Christmas, Monalvos!

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    2. And by Monalvos I mean Montalvo's!!!

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  2. I absolutely LOVE everything about this! I love these traditions, as these are all things my family did growing up as well. My poor mom some how managed to do advent devotions almost every night for us kids growing up, reading the Christmas story and then opening our advent calendars. Love it! You inspire me so much starting these traditions with your little ones! Love you girl!

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    1. Oh that is SO great to hear, considering your family is amazing. Thanks for sharing your fam with the rest of us and being an inspiration to me!

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  3. Your blog is a breath of fresh air in an often very secular and ambivalent society. It's encouraging and inspiring to see other children and families living the way I was raised to live and be. God bless.

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    1. Thank you so much, Georgia. God bless you, too!

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  4. Oh I absolutely LOVE your Christmas time traditions! May have to start a few of my own in my home :) Hope you, Cam and your gorgeous kids are enjoying Croatia... it def sounds like you are though... just so you know, you are very inspiring when it comes to showing how you embrace living abroad and far away from family! My Husband and I are potentially doing it soon-ish and we have our first new born little girl on her way in March next year! Not easy... may have to email you about it and get some advice if you don't mind? :)
    Also, when are you going to show us Grace's nursery? I am dying to see it and get some ideas for our little girl!
    Take care, happy Christmas season to you and your family! Love Robyn
    P.S. JohnShea and Gracie arre such cuties :)

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    1. Thank you, Robyn. Of course, would love to hear from you! And no, it's not easy, especially the transition time and not having family around, but it's an adventure and something unique and special that doesn't come around too often :) Email me! I'm almost done with her nursery, just waiting on the last thing to get here and then I'll share that baby!

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  5. Love all these traditions! I haven't had an advent wall calendar yet -- but I really want one! The one you have looks so pretty and simple -- I think I'll ask Tim's seamstress mama to make us one for next year! On a non-spiritual Christmas movie tangent -- if you love White Christmas - you also need to watch (if you haven't already) Holiday Inn (with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire) and Christmas in Connecticut (with Barbara Stanwick). They are our FAVORITES and so classic and fun. We also really like The Family Man with Nic Cage (trust me -- it's actually really good.) I agree that it feels like December is already flying by!
    love -- lanneybear

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    1. We love those ones, too!!!!!! The oldies are always the best. I saw Family Man with my Mom years ago and have been meaning to rewatch it. Thanks for the reminder. Just wish you were here to watch with us.
      POLIZIA!

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  6. So sweet! Having our first little one this year has made Christmas much more exciting! I love you advent calendar...where is it from?

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    1. Congratulations!!!!! I bought it from the etsy shop CelinaMancurti :)

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  7. Such sweet traditions! I love that you guys make a homemade advent calendar with advent scriptures. We might need to adopt this ourselves! Hope you all have a lovely holiday season!

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    1. Merry Christmas and advent to you two, too, Case!!

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