25 Free (or Almost) Advent Activities Part 1

This post is a continuation of a series on Advent. These are just some ideas for inspiration. Take what works, juggle them around to fit your calendar best. Have a great time helping your children prepare their hearts to celebrate the coming of Emmanuel, God with us.

Here are the first 7 suggestions, just in time.

Advent Wreath ~ from Me & My House {Advent Wreath}1. Set up your advent wreath, light the first candle and read your first Scripture reading. The first candle represents Hope or Prophecy. Usually sections from Isaiah 11 and/or from Luke 1 (or other Prophecies of Christ’s coming) are read. If you don’t have an advent wreath, just set up 5 candles, 3 purple and 1 pink in a circle, with a white one in the center. Votive candles in cups will work. Light a purple one today.

Also begin your Advent devotional/book. Free download of John Piper’s Advent devotional, Good News of Great Joy here. 2 other Advent devotions for families, that are free downloads, have been recommended by friends, but I haven’t read them. Advent 2013: The Servant Songs has weekly readings, as well as activities and Christmas hymns to sing. (The first week is Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.) 🙂 Readings and Devotions for Advent has daily readings. (Link goes directly to pdf. It was for 2008, so the dates will not be the same.) {Check my Pinterest Advent board for more. I’ll add what I learn of from trusted sources.}

2. Put up your nativity. I believe the best way to begin focusing our hearts on preparing for the Incarnation of Jesus, is to set out at the very beginning, that focus. Put your wise men, far to the east. You may want to also want to put Mary & Joseph a ways out, and move them a little closer toward Bethlehem each day. Save putting baby Jesus out till Christmas Eve. If you don’t have a nativity, and can’t buy one right now, find a print out, (or this one for an advent calendar, you can just print, cut and your children can color,) cut it out, and add bent paperclips to the back of the figures to make them stand up. {I didn’t search too hard for a printout, you may be able to find better. UPDATE: I’ve added some more printable/paper nativities (and other easy DIY nativities) to my Pinterest Advent board.}

Christmas Carols stories ~ from Me & My House3. Read the story of a Christmas Hymn and sing it. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by Charles Wesley is my favorite for this week, but I don’t have a link to the story behind it (but there is some info at the link.)  O Come O Come Emmanuel would be perfect too (and another fave of mine, and is in the book. –>) I just got Silent Night: The Stories Behind 40 Beloved Christmas Hymns, so I’m not vouching for it yet. But it is only 79¢ for the download version. Gloria: A Christmas Hymn Study was recommended by a friend. (I don’t have it. $4.99 download.) We also have Christmas Carols for a Kid’s Heart by Joni Tada, that has the Christmas story connected to carols (not the stories of the carols.) It is no longer available through us, but you can get it through Walmart online.

4. String popcorn and cranberries, (or even just popcorn). Use strong cotton thread (such as quilting thread) and a large needle. Your popcorn should be non-greasy (preferably air popped) and a bit stale. (Make it the night before.) And your cranberries should be fresh and cold. Tie a strong, large knot at the beginning and end. Hang in a doorway or window, or out on a tree, as a gift to the birds and animals. Even if you hang inside for the holidays, you can hang it outside after Christmas, for the birds. Alternately, you could make a paper chain, as a count down to Christmas.

cd6148_w1855. Get out the Christmas CDs or make a playlist, and begin playing Christmas carols. Need some? Check out Chris Tomlin’s Glory to God in the Highest, or Casting Crowns’ Peace on Earth, CDs currently only $5, or Joy by Keith and Kristen Getty (9.99). We also enjoy the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Amazon has a page of Free Christmas Music you can download, (I’m not vouching for it, just passing on the info. If you’re looking for free, dig through and see if there’s anything good there.) And of course, Pandora has Christmas stations you can listen to or custom create, and there are plenty of YouTube videos.

6. Make Gingerbread men or house. If you don’t want to mix and bake the gingerbread, you can make a house out of graham crackers, frosting, and candies, or buy a pre-baked kit. Perhaps take it to a grandparent or shut-in.

7. Make a donation to a local or (larger) Christian charity. This may not be free, but can be any amount large or small that you choose. It’s too late to make a box for Operation Christmas Child, but you can Build a Box online for $30.  Just 12.25 provides gifts for 2 children through Angel Tree. Or buy a gift for Santa Cop, Toys for Tots or another local organization. Or donate canned foods, or a holiday dinner, through your local food pantry. You can even just have the children each put a donation into the Red Kettle for Salvation Army when you are shopping.

Enjoy your first week of Advent this week. I hope this ideas will get you brainstorming for some creative things you can do with your family, that won’t cost a lot and aren’t too time and energy intensive, but are still fun.

Don’t forget to check my Pinterest Advent board. I’m constantly adding new ideas to it.

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