This week, you and your child will learn about preparing our hearts and home for Christmas, in the season we call Advent. Your child can learn:
- Christmas is Jesus’ birthday!
- Each week we light a new candle on the advent wreathe, as we count down the days until Christmas.
- There are many things we can do to get ready for this special holiday.
- Some people pray and fast.
- Some people decorate their homes with lights, greenery, ribbons, and more.
- Some people are very poor, and cannot afford gifts. We remember them at this time.
- Many people give gifts to each other, just as the Wise Men gave gifts to Baby Jesus.
Choose Your Family Traditions to Reflect Your Religious Beliefs
There may be more that you would like to teach your young child, depending on your religious affiliation. Do you want to include Santa Clause in your family traditions? Would you like to help your child buy a gift to donate to a poor family, or volunteer at a soup kitchen? What about singing carols at a nursing home, or for an elderly church member?
Follow Your Daily Routine
There is much you can do to try to tone this down. Help your child focus on giving, rather than the toys he’s going to get. Help him sort through his toys in preparation for Christmas, cleaning out the ones that he no longer needs. Throw away broken toys, or repair and donate them if possible. Stick to your normal daily routine as much as possible, and of course, watch the sugar!
An Empty Manger during Advent
This week you’ll help your child make an “Advent” chain – add as many links in the paper chain as there are days left until Christmas. Then, every morning, tear off one more chain. Help him count the remaining chains (good math activity). When the last chain is torn, it will be Christmas. You could make the last chain a special color – white, perhaps, and all the others alternating red and green.
Many families won’t put the Christ Child in the Nativity set until Christmas Eve. They’ll get the set out, dust it off, and set it up, but have the statues of Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and wise men all looking at an empty manger. This, too, can help the child understand the concept of advent – of waiting for the coming of Our Lord.
Have fun this week! Your child will make some pretty decorations for the house. Together, you’ll bake Christmas cookies, and maybe you’ll even put up your tree, if you haven’t already. Send in a picture to share! We’d all love to see the pretty things your child has made.
Five-Star Picture Books for Advent week
Look for picture books in your library first, but often the seasonal and holiday books are already checked out or reserved. Here are some great books you may want to own anyway. Remind the grandparents that good books make wonderful gifts!
- God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa T. Bergren
- How the Grinch stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
- The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book by Glenn Beck
- Merry Christmas, Curious George by H.A. Rey
- The True Gift: A Christmas Story by Patricia Maclachlan
- The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
- Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell
- Dream Snow by Eric Carle
- The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions by Lisa Whelchel
Quality Products for Advent Week (optional)
- Playmobile Nativity Set
- Raffi’s Christmas Album by Raffi
- Classics: Christmas Carols by Cedarmont Kids
- A Festival of Carols in Brass from Philadelphia Brass Ensemble
- The Original Christmas Classics DVD box set
- Melissa & Doug Magnetic Wooden Alphabet