Advent is a beautiful season in the liturgical year, but it is often overshadowed by the busyness of the holiday season. I’d like to share with you a few ideas for celebrating this beautiful season in the Christian year with your children. These crafts are not only fun for kids, but will help them engage with the season in a way that is more meaningful and less “commercial.”
A Proper Countdown
Advent calendars are big business these days, and there are so many creative and unique ways that people choose to count down to Christmas. But, one thing I’ve noticed is that most Advent calendars, even Christian-themed ones, don’t have the right number of days! Advent very rarely begins on December 1st, and yet most Advent calendars begin their countdown, I assume to ease production costs, on that day. Here are a few ideas for celebrating Advent with children that are adaptable to allow for the right number of days.
Craft #1: Advent Spiral
This little angel will travel around on the stars (completely adaptable for Advent seasons with up to 28 days—the maximum amount) until she reaches the center on the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus, Christmas Day. To create this, I used an 18″ square piece of blue flannel, onto which I needle-felted a spiral of green wool roving. I cut out the stars from yellow felt, and crafted the little angel from a 3.5″ tall peg doll. Since the stars just rest on top of the flannel, you can put as many of them as you need for the correct number of days each year. This Advent spiral sits on a little side table, just the right height for little eyes and hands. Each day my children can take turns moving the angel along the path toward the arrival of Jesus in the world.
This could just as easily be made of paper, or felt, or whatever materials you have around the house. The goal of Around the Year is to provide inspiration, not frustration! And, I always want to emphasize that it’s not about spending money—engaging in the task is what’s important.
Craft #2: Cardboard Advent Wreath
We have this little Advent wreath set up in my son’s play kitchen area, and I made it so that he can “play” along as we light our own Advent candles throughout the season. The “candles” were made of none other than humble toilet paper tubes painted purple, pink, and white with craft paint. The “flames” are painted popsicle sticks with construction paper fire glued on to them. I happened to have the small grapevine wreath and green playsilk already, but they’re not necessary. The candles do stand up pretty well on their own, but you might want to wrap a piece of yarn or string around them to make sure they’re not toppling over constantly. You could also wrap a long, thin piece of green cloth around the base of the whole structure to imitate greenery–or use real boughs if you have them!
Craft #3: Glass Jar Advent Candles
One year I suddenly realized that it was the First Sunday of Advent and I hadn’t ordered any candles! So, I decided to create my own Advent candle wreath using glass jars, tissue paper, Mod Podge, and some small white candles I already had. I think, in some ways, it’s even more beautiful than the traditional wreath.
For more ideas and inspiration for celebrating Advent, visit my Pinterest board!