Back in my day, we counted down the days to Christmas with an advent calendar. These days kids can download an app or visit a site like the Christmas Clock that ticks off the seconds.
However we count them, there are only 25 days left until Christmas. How will you spend them?
Here are seven fun takes on the advent calendar that will help you make the most of your December days and boost your Christmas spirit.
- Daily family fun. Schedule some intentional family time. Come up with a fun activity for the kids or grandkids each day. It’s not as hard as it seems, because you are already planning to do many seasonal things, like bake cookies, watch a favorite Christmas movie, wrap presents, or decorate the tree. By planning ahead, you can make it a fun family time instead of an afterthought. (I recommend using sticky notes or individual slips of paper that can be rearranged as needed to work with schedule changes.)
- Spread Christmas cheer. Choose a different person each day to encourage in some way. Send a card. Call them up and let them know how much you appreciate them. Drop in with a plate of cookies. For family members, hide sticky notes for them to find or sneak a card under their pillow.
- Do your daily randomness. Come up with a random act of kindness for each day. Anything from buying coffee for the guy behind you to caroling at the neighbors to leaving anonymous encouraging notes for your kids’ teachers. You can print out this advent calendar for ideas, or create your own.
- Advent prayer calendar. Here’s a chance to remember all those people you are supposed to pray for but often forget: teachers, pastors, missionaries, government leaders, aid workers, … Number 24 note cards (virtual or real) and assign one or more names to each card. Spend a few minutes praying over the card each day. As a variation, include social justice issues, people groups, or disaster regions to pray about.
- Make an advent food box. Each day, put one non-perishable food item into a box. Try to vary the items so the end result is a balanced assortment of foodstuffs. When the collection is complete, take the items a local food pantry. Or, if you know a local family in need, leave the items as an anonymous Christmas gift.
- Declutter December. Bless yourself by blessing others with your unneeded stuff. Pull one item from your closet each day and put it in a box to be donated. Better yet, consider several areas where your excess can be given away, and pull one item from each area each day. Suggestions: bookshelves, kitchen items, holiday decorations, hobby supplies, and toys/games/puzzles.
- New perspectives on the Christmas story. Stretch your creativity by considering the Christmas story from a different character’s viewpoint each day. Use the character as a writing prompt, a thought-provoking journal entry, or a fun idea for family bedtime stories. Start with the obvious ones like Mary and Joseph, but then move on to more interesting perspectives, like the innkeeper’s wife, an angel, or a sheep. Here’s a list of 24-characters and how they might have interacted with the story of Jesus