This weeks Homemade Monday edition features ideas for advent calendars and Christmas countdowns. Here are some great ideas that advocate learning through play, family bonding or teach the meaning of Christmas. For our advent calendar I usually mix up scripture and ornaments for our felt Christmas tree behind each door so that everyday they find something new and different. This year a friend shared with me her idea about adding activities that can be done at home or out in the community. I brain stormed some ideas from different categories that promote fun, family bonding or serving others.  Browse through the list and choose 24 that work best for your family!


ACTIVITIES THAT PROMOTE SERVING OTHERS


  • Shop for a toy or gift that can be donated to a local organization like Toys for Tots.
  • Write a letter to a family friend or some troops stationed overseas.
  • Visit an elderly home and hand deliver candy canes, homemade cookies or cards.
  • Put together a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child.
  • Stop at a store just to make a donation to a bell-ringer such as Salvation Army.
  • Deliver a stuffed animal or small toy to a child at the hospital.
  • Serve a meal together as a family at a local soup kitchen.
  • Clean out your room and donate a few old yet good toys to a local charity.
  • Go through the cupboards or take a trip to the grocery store for canned goods to donate to a local food pantry.
  • Bake cookies or make homemade Christmas card and take your kids favorite places  library, gym, school etc.
  • Pay it forward, treat another family or person behind you in line at a fast food restaurant and leave a holiday note.
  • Do something kind and thoughtful for others. For an example, you could take the trash to the curb for a neighbor. You could even where Santa or Elf hats while out on the job.

FAITH-BASED ACTIVITIES


  • Visit a living nativity scene.
  • Read the Christmas story from the Bible.
  • Set up a Nativity Set bringing a different character to the scene each night.
  • Write a letter to Jesus, thanking him for the gifts you received throughout the year.
  • Go to a church Christmas play.
  • Make paper crowns and talk about the wise men and the gifts they brought Jesus.
  • Have your family act out the Christmas story.
  • Attend a candlelight church service.
  • For more great ideas visit The Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent experience for little hands.

CRAFTING, CREATING & DECORATING


  • Put up your Christmas tree and decorate.
  • Make a paper garland to hang on the tree, over a door, or in the kid’s bedroom.
  • Make paper snowflakes to hang from the kids’ bedroom ceiling.
  • String popcorn garland for the tree.
  • Make salt dough ornaments for the tree.
  • Decorate a wreath together.
  • Make glitter snow globes out of baby food jars. (Secure the lids with a hot glue gun!)
  • Make thumb print Santa or Snowmen.
  • Make homemade play-dough
  • Hang mistletoe and give out kisses.
  • Decorate the windows with spray snow or little sticker decorations.
  • Make and mail a Christmas card to a family member or friend who lives in another state or country.
  • Write letters to Santa.
  • Make Christmas video to send to friends or post on Facebook for Christmas day wishing Happy Holidays or singing favorite Christmas song.
  • Make center pieces and name tags for the dinner table.
  • Make a felt Christmas tree little ones can decorate and play with.

IDEAS FOR IN THE KITCHEN


Image result for holiday cookies

  • Bake Christmas cookies.
  • Make Snowman’s Soup (aka hot chocolate.)
  • Make an edible Christmas trees out of upside-down ice cream cones, green frosting, and sprinkles.
  • Make a gingerbread house.
  • Eat “reindeer droppings” (donut holes) for breakfast.
  • Make a birthday cake for Jesus, singing happy birthday and blow out the candles.
  • Invite friends over for a cookie decorating party or cookie exchange.
  • Make friendship bread and deliver to friends.
  • Roast marshmallows around a campfire.

OUTINGS TO GET YOU IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT


SANTA- LAUGH

  • Visit a tree farm and cut or pick put a Christmas tree.
  • Visit a few friends, family or neighbors to Christmas carol.
  • Listen to holiday tunes while driving around town to look at the Christmas lights.
  • Visit a local holiday lights display: Annemarie Gardens, Watkins Park, Flat Iron Farm.)
  • Visit the mall to take photos with Santa.
  • Go see a Christmas show (nutcracker, Christmas Scooner, Twas the Night Before Christmas, Choral Arts Society Christmas Show.)
  • Go to a tree-lighting ceremony.
  • Check out a Christmas themed book from the library.
  • Visit grandma’s house to deliver a homemade gift.
  • Visit Washington DC to see our Capitals class Christmas displays at Union Station, Zoo Lights, Botanical Gardens, etc.
  • Plan a special family getaway for the winter break.
  • Climb aboard a holiday train ride.

FESTIVE FUN AT HOME


  • Have a holiday movie marathon. Maybe even have a slumber party under the tree.
  • Turn on your favorite holiday music and have a dance party right in your living room.
  • Unwrap and read a new Christmas book.
  • Have a family story night and read all your Christmas storybook while enjoying a plate of cookies and milk.
  • Take a family photo in front of the Christmas tree.
  • Read The Night Before Christmas before going to bed Christmas Eve Night.
  • Have an ugly sweater party.
  • Read Elf on the Shelf (and let the fun begin!)
  • Host a holiday scavenger hunt.
  • Make a christmas bath with bubbles, red and green glow sticks and even holiday essential oils (peppermint or vanilla.)
  • Have a holiday themed tea party.
  • Play some holiday minute to win it games.
  • Build a snowman together, weather permitting.
  • Have an indoor snowball fight.

DSC_0356.JPGBest wishes for a festive and meaningful Christmas!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romas 15:13)