What are your favorite Christmas traditions from childhood? One of mine is stockings. Growing up we didn’t celebrate Santa, but we still stuffed stockings. Our entire family would pick out small gifts to put in each other’s stockings. On Christmas Eve we’d gather and secretly stuff everyone’s stockings and then open them first thing Christmas morning. I love sharing this tradition with my children, and I’ve also been thinking about what new traditions I want to pass on to my children, like advent.
Advent is a way to prepare our hearts. A way to be purposeful, to slowdown, and to think about what we are celebrating at Christmas. December is a busy month and it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. But, by taking a little time every day on our advent activities I can help my children tangibly slow down and savor what our family treasures.
My family is Biblical Christian, and for us, Christmas is about celebrating a chapter of the the best Story ever told. At Christmas we celebrate that the Holy God chose to humble himself and come as a helpless baby so that he could grow into a man who would one day die on the cross. Three days later, this man, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead conquering death and saving all who would believe in him.
This historic narrative of the incarnation is ultimately what I want my children to think about when they think “Christmas”.
By celebrating advent I can easily include this narrative of Christ in my family’s Christmas celebration. And, since I’m exposing my children to different parts of the Story every day for 24 days, they’re sure to absorb at least part of it.
Truth in the Tinsel
Last year I knew I wanted to do an advent celebration with my children. We were given the book “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift”, but it’s much too advanced for the young ages of our family. I needed something hands on and easily adaptable for toddlers. A friend suggested I look into Truth in the Tinsel.
Truth in the Tinsel is an eBook by Amanda White. Amanda is a mom with two kids and has an extensive background in children’s ministry. The book takes you through 24 days of the Christmas Story with a passage of scripture to read, a corresponding ornament craft to make, and then some talking points to engage your children on. (And, might I add, I have one copy to give away!)
Truth in the Tinsel can be used as a jumping off point for many ages– it’s not just for toddlers. I’m sure an 8 year old’s ornaments would look much better than my 2 year old’s. The goal is the Story and the time spent together, not the end product. I’m certainly not planning to win a tree decorating contest with my kids’ ornaments!
Amanda also offers an add on product of printable ornaments. This is what we did last year. I loved the low-pressure commitment of just coloring a paper ornament.
This year I plan on making the full ornament crafts. (I may regret this decision midway and revert to coloring… we’ll see.) As little as I usually love crafts at home, I’m excited to embark on this adventure since I think my children will enjoy our time together and the crafts will help cement the full story of Christmas in their minds.
Will you join me on our advent journey as I teach my kids why we celebrate Christmas?
…and don’t forget I have a copy of Truth in the Tinsel to give away to a reader! Head over to our Facebook page to enter.