Advent Activities + a VIDEO

Hot Chocolate in Christmas Mugs

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and menus are being fine tuned as we speak! This is the week that I also try to get a few Advent Activities and Christmas countdowns in place and ready to go for after our big Thanksgiving feast. This Friday, we will happily spend the day cooking our 2nd Thanksgiving meal and decorating our house for Christmas. It’s a weird tradition, but it’s ours and I wouldn’t want to do anything else on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

With that in mind, I’m dusting off my annual Advent Activities blog post this weekend with a few updates to share with you! The biggest update is that I made a new vlog talking about one of my very favorite activities that we do with the kids during Advent: Our Christmas Book Countdown!

Christmas Book Countdown

This year we are doing our book countdown for our third year! I found the idea on Pinterest a few years ago and it’s been a tradition ever since. The idea is to wrap up enough Christmas books or winter stories for each night of Advent and place them under the tree.  Each night, the kids choose a story to unwrap and together we sit in the family room and read the story together.

The books do not have to be new. Look through the bookshelves in your house and gather any Christmas theme book or any story with a good family message. If you need to pick up a few more, you can order some inexpensive stories from Amazon or trade with family members. This year I’m starting the countdown a couple of days before the official start of Advent, the day after Thanksgiving. That means we need a whopping 30 books! If you don’t have that many or have no interest in purchasing them, consider doing a shorter countdown, like the 12 days of Christmas (12 days leading up to Christmas) or even just the week of. No matter how long or short you prepare the countdown for, I’m confident that it will become a much loved tradition in your household, too 🙂

Here is the complete list of our books for this year {affiliate links}:

  1. NinjaBread Man
  2. Home For Christmas Jan Brett
  3. Berenstein Bears The Very First Christmas
  4. A Star So Bright A Christmas Tale
  5. The Animal’s Christmas Eve
  6. Peanuts A Charlie Brown Christmas
  7. Christmas Is Here
  8. God Gave Us Christmas
  9. Merry Christmas Amelia Bedelia
  10. Read a Story ’Twas the Night Before Christmas
  11. The Small One
  12. Santa is Coming to Ohio
  13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  14. You Can Do It Sam
  15. The Littlest Christmas Elf
  16. Charlie and the Christmas Kitty
  17. The ANimal’s Santa
  18. The Christmas Star
  19. Disney Christmas Story Book Collection
  20. The Polar Bear Who Saved Christmas
  21. Just a Snowy Vacation
  22. The Night Before The Night Before Christmas
  23. The Gingerbread Bear
  24. The 12 Days of Christmas
  25. A Magical Christmas
  26. A Christmas Story
  27. Curious George in the Snow
  28. The Pine Tree Parable
  29. Bunny Slopes
  30. Memoirs of an Elf

This nightly story time is one of my favorite things we have started with our kids. It’s a wonderful family activity!

Advent Activities | JellyToastBlog.com

Good Deed Chain

Last year, A came home from school with this very cool “good deed” Advent chain that he made in his classroom. Each paper chain link had a good deed on it and every morning, A would pull off a link and make sure he did that deed sometime throughout the day. C was so excited that she and I made one for her, too, so they both had their “good deed” chain. We used scraps of wrapping paper and wrote out the deeds on labels for her to loop together. Her version was very colorful as a result 🙂

I’m going to work with the kids to make these chains at home this year because I think it’s a great activity to help stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas.

Advent Activities | JellyToastBlog.com

Lego Advent Calendar

And now on to something a little silly, but super fun. We are Lego fans over here and C has taken off with her construction abilities. This is the second year that we ordered the Lego Advent Calendars for the kids (LEGO Friends Advent Calendar for C and LEGO City Town Advent Calendar  for A). Each kit has a mini build for everyday of December up until Christmas Eve. The kids have a great time opening the little doors and seeing what is inside to build. There are usually mini figures or small special holiday pieces that once Christmas is over, are a great addition to their Lego collections.

There is also a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar, too!

Advent Activities | JellyToastBlog.com

Lego Advent Calendar

And now on to something a little silly, but super fun. We are Lego fans over here (just look at the evidence in the video above – our family room is overtaken with ‘creations’). This will be the third year that we ordered the Lego Advent Calendars for the kids (LEGO Friends Advent Calendar for C and LEGO City Town Advent Calendar  for A). Each kit has a mini build for everyday of December up until Christmas Eve. The kids have a great time opening the little doors and seeing what is inside to build. There are usually mini figures or small special holiday pieces that once Christmas is over, are a great addition to their Lego collections.

There is also a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar , too!

Advent Activities | JellyToastBlog.com

Alphabet Teddy Ornaments

Ok, this is not really an Advent Activity, but this is a craft that I learned from my grandpa. When I was little, my grandpa made each of my cousins and siblings a little block ornament with our initial and a fuzzy teddy on it. They take minutes to make, but were always one of my favorites to hang on the tree. My mom and dad still have mine and my siblings at their house, but a few years ago, I made one for each A and C as well as my nieces and nephews. You can find the Wooden ABC/123 Blocks Set on Amazon and you can find the mini flocked bears at craft stores. All you need to finish them off is a hot glue gun and a loop of ribbon. Simple and sweet.

Advent Activities | JellyToastBlog.com

Bed for Baby Jesus

Several years ago, my Mother-in-Law sent me this felt bag full of small pieces of golden yarn. In the package there were instructions to use the bag and yarn during Advent to say extra prayers to God. Our family takes turns at dinner time saying special prayers or mentioning good deeds that we did that day. For each prayer or deed we say, we add a piece of hay to a small basket. All of these prayers translate into soft yarn, or “hay”, that will build a soft bed for Baby Jesus. At Christmas we offer the bed to Jesus as a birthday gift. This would be a simple project to make at home – you really need just a basket and some yarn. This has been a very prayerful activity that helps us prepare our hearts for Christmas.

Advent Activities | JellyToastBlog.com

I also purchased a wooden gingerbread house with 24 doors in it that I am in desperate need of inspiration for what to put inside the little doors! Candy? Notes? Pieces to a puzzle that will eventually lead to something cool at the end? I’ll keep you updated on that but if you have any ideas or other great Christmas countdown or family Advent activities I would LOVE to hear all about them!

Happy Advent and Countdown to Christmas!!

Some of the links in this post contain Amazon affiliate links.

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