Last year, while hitting the after Christmas sales, I came across a really neat children’s board book. It’s called Countdown To Christmas, and it is a very simple book of Bible verses and activities to use from December 1st – December 25th.
There’s nothing profound about this book. It’s not amazingly theological, nor is it designed to teach the details of the Biblical story of Jesus’ birth. It’s meant to teach and remind children that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus.
This is perfect for moms (like me…) who aren’t planning elaborate crafts or big projects, but want to make the Christmas season fun and meaningful. Each page of this board book contains a paragraph to read to your child, an activity, a prayer starter, and a Bible verse for the day.
The first day explains that Advent (or “coming”) is the time when we are waiting for Christmas to arrive. The verse is 1 Kings 8:20, “The Lord has done what He promised.” The activity for the day is to create a paper chain with 25 links, then remove one link each day until Christmas.
When I taught second grade, I’d expand on that idea with my second graders by writing a classmate’s name on each link in the chain. The chain was hanging from a yellow paper star. As you removed the link each day at home, you were to take a minute and pray for this classmate. You could do the same with friends, family, or other prayer requests! We wrote a a poem on the star that went like this:
Each evening as your prayers are said,
take off one link then hop in bed.
When only the star is left to shine,
You’ll find that it is Christmas time!
Other activities in this book include tracing Christmas cookie cutters on paper and cutting them out to make simple ornaments, wrapping a doll in a towel as if you’re swaddling a baby, making napkin rings from sections of paper towel tubes, and cutting travel pictures from a magazine of things you’d pack for a long journey.
I’ve linked (with a referral link) to Amazon in the picture of the book. It’s a good price, but you also might want to check at Walmart or keep an eye out for this book at the clearance sales after Christmas!
We’re also going to do Christmas picture books for the 12 Days of Christmas. We don’t have 25 Christmas stories yet, so we’re cutting it a bit short. I plan to place a book in a gift bag each night so that the boys can open the bag each morning to find the Christmas story for the day. Occasionally, I’ll throw in a little surprise – a candy cane, a craft, or a small present. (My sister found a snow-covered Thomas train on clearance after Christmas last year, and I’d like to give that to the boys before Christmas so they can enjoy it! I figure that will go in the bag on the first day!)
For a REALLY neat idea for the Christmas Book Bag, check out Michelle’s post at Musings of Me! The bag itself is interactive…you need to read Michelle’s post! It’s such a beautiful bag; I’m drooling over that picture! But we’ll stick with our paper gift bag filled with tissue paper since I can barely sew a button! ;)