Advent/Christmas

We wait with bated breath!

Advent is a wonderful season of waiting, hoping and wondering. Here are some ideas for your family or faith community to actively participate in this wonderful season together!

Resources

A free craft-based resource

Advent Unwrapped from the United Church of Canada produces annual free resources for faith communities

Selina’s church put together an activity kit with a crafts for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. The home-made nativity set was the biggest hit! (You can swap wooden pieces for clothesline pegs or even toilet paper rolls.)

A free Narrative Lectionary Resource

The GO Project has an Advent series that is very popular.

SALT Project has a whole variety of printable Advent and Christmas resources for congregations, included Advent in Full Colour which focuses on creativity.

For those following the Narrative Lectionary Tori has produced a resource for Year 4.

Ways to mark the days

We all love a good old fashioned chocolate Advent calendar, but if you’re looking for ways to mark the days leading up to Christmas that’s less consumption focused why not try one of these creative options? You can have a daily, or weekly calendar.

Each year Selina’s family has an Advent wreath with three purple, one pink and one white candle. They light it every Sunday evening together when it’s dark out and enjoy the warm glow together.

Alternatively, consider a reverse Advent calendar where you donate something each day of Advent to a local food bank or shelter.

Tori created a felt Advent wreath to sell at her church’s table at a Christmas market. This felt banner features moveable pieces children can enjoy adding and rearranging each week. Read more about it on her post.

Reviving our Advent themes

Although many folks love singing “Hope is a star” it can be a challenge to keep the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love fresh year after year. Here’s a few ideas on how to do it.

Nativity by Natalia Goncharova (1910), Public Domain

Add a character each week!

You can build your creche (nativity scene) a little at a time by introducing a new character each week from the animals in the stable to Jesus’ parents, to the innkeeper, the midwives (come on, you know they were there!) and the infant himself.

The stage at St. John’s United, Marathon was set-up to look like a living room.

Add a visual reminder to your table or stage

As part of Selina’s Advent series last year she brought a different object to church that reminded her of that week’s theme. For Hope she laid our wrapped presents underneath the Christmas tree. For Peace she brought her favourite blanket she loves to curl up and relax in. For Joy it was a sled her grandfather had made for her family. And, for Love, it was family album.

Revamp that Advent song

Colleen Lowrie, Youth Coordinator at Dublin St. United & Director at Camp Menesetung suggests adding a verse to Peace Like a River to revamp the Sunday School classic for Advent. She sings “Hope like a rainbow” to connect to the Advent 1 theme.

Let there be puppets!

Looking for a way to breakout your theatre chops? Selina has written a series of five skits following the Advent themes that exploring Jesus’ nature/name. Download the script!


Favourite Activities

Photo by Shanna Bernier

Our friend Dana Ducette made this cute gifty craft by cutting out a nativity scene and gluing it into a dollar store pocket mirror, a great use for last year’s Christmas cards!

Another fun activity is breathing new life into old Christmas cards by cutting out the designs and creating new ones.

Some artists from St. John’s UC, Marathon’s Advent-at-Home 2021

One of our favourite ways to engage folks with biblical stories is to invite them to use their imagination. Last year Selina’s church provided small wooden peg dolls and a bag full of scrap ribbons and fabric. The families picked what characters they wanted in their nativity and away they went! For the architecturally minded among you, you can also build a popsicle-stick barn for the Holy Family!

Click on the photo to make your own Love Tokens

Explore the theme of love. This idea comes from Relax Kids. Make cards or stones with connecting activities on them. Place them in a jar. Children (or adults) can choose one of these tokens to “cash in” with their parents and guardians as a way of expressing a need to connect.

Selina make this feltboard for her toddler and to give as a gift!

Check-out our simple tutorial for making a feltboard Christmas tree. This activity can be done at home, as part of children or youth ministry at church, or even made at sold at a Christmas bazaar!

Lori’s toddler loves the Advent candles

We love family traditions. Grab some candles, be they blue, purple, white or red and have fun decorating your own Advent wreath together.

Make a game of it by turning out all the lights when it gets dark and light your Advent candles for that week. You could incorporate a song time as well.


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