I love Christmas. I mean, seriously, love. You can ask my family and they will tell you I have been counting down the days until Christmas since October! With that said, it’s not surprising that I really enjoy the season of Advent, as well. There are three traditions we are following this year (one of them new to us), and I am excited to share them with you.
Joseph & Mary’s Journey to Bethlehem
(I can not take credit for the originality of this idea, as I stole it from my mother, so she gets all the credit on this one!)
When we were little, my mom would take Mary, Joseph and the donkey out of our nativity set and put them at the end of the hallway on December 1st. Each day, me and my two sisters would take one of the pieces and move it a little bit farther down the hall (my mom would instruct us how far we should move them each day). On Christmas Eve, they would all “arrive” at the stable (on the fireplace in our living room) and their journey would be complete. Baby Jesus was also left out of the nativity scene until Christmas Eve, and we would then each take turns placing Him in the manger. Some of my favorite childhood pictures are seeing myself each year as a little girl, in my Christmas Eve jammies, placing baby Jesus in the manger.
I have been wanting to do this advent activity with Madalyn and this year she is old enough to finally start grasping some of the concepts of the Christmas Story. So, our Joseph and Mary started their journey to Bethlehem today!
I have two Advent calendars that we are currently using. The first, I made myself (if you want to try and make your own, check out my post from last year on how to do it!). This one consists of Bible verses that walk through the Christmas story. Pretty simple!
The other calendar that I have up this year I purchased from Naptime Diaries (you can find it here). It is 25 mini prints and they are beautiful! I hung mine using jute and mini paperclips in an empty picture frame (from Hobby Lobby). I LOVE it!
25 Christmas Books
I love to read, and so does our little Madalyn. She is a nonstop reader. If we could sit and read books to her all day long, she would be in complete heaven! I saw an idea on Pinterest to wrap up 25 Christmas books and unwrap one each night to read together. I wrapped each book and will keep them in a little basket out by the Christmas tree for the remainder of the Christmas season.
I had a few Christmas books from when I was little stored in our Christmas boxes, and Maddy had a few from last year, but I did have to buy some new ones this year too. I tried to pick ones that weren’t about Santa and more about Jesus, but there are a few exceptions because that is actually a really hard task! I thought it might be helpful to list the books out for you so you can see which ones we are using. I had a hard time finding good books and I am really excited about all of these and can not wait for Madalyn to open up one of them tonight!
- “Humphrey’s First Christmas”: Carol Heyer
- “Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift”: Max Lucado (I looove the whole Punchinello series!)
- “Christmas Parade”: Sandra Boynton
- “The Something Wonderful, A Christmas Story”: Karen Hill
- “The Tale of Three Trees”: Angela Elwell Hunt
- “The Crippled Lamb”: Max Lucado
- “Bear Stays Up for Christmas”: Karma Wilson
- “Olivia Helps with Christmas”: Ian Falconer
- “Room for a Little One, A Christmas Tale”: Martin Waddall
- “Song of the Stars, A Christmas Story”: Sally Lloyd-Jones
- “Happy Birthday Jesus”: Michelle Medlock Adams
- “God Gave Us Christmas”: Lisa Tawn Bergren
- “J is for Jesus, the Sweetest Story Ever Told”: Crystal Bowman
- “The Littlest Christmas Tree”: Janie Jasin
- “Merry Christmas Mom and Dad”: Mercer Mayer
- “Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect”: Richard H. Schneider
- “Who is Coming to Our House?”: Joseph Slate
- “Christmas in the Manger”: Nola Buck
- “The Story of Christmas”: Patricia A. Pingrey (This was Maddy’s favorite book last year!)
- “A Charlie Brown Christmas”: Charles M. Schulz
- “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”: Dr. Seuss
- “The Polar Express”: Chris Van Allsburg
- “The Animal’s Christmas Eve”: Golden Book
- “Fisher-Price Little People Christmastime is Here!”
- “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey”: Susan Wojciechowski
I hope these simple ideas get you in the Christmas spirit! Happy December 1st!
Looking for more?
DIY Advent Calendar