How many days until Christmas? We like to use Advent calendars to help our young children get a sense of the passage of time. Advent calendars also help build anticipation for our nightly devotions. The chocolate advent calendar certainly helps build excitement. The kids come to us pleading to start devotions every night!
Chocolate Advent calendars can be bought very inexpensively online from Bronners. I’ve bought them at Walgreens and Big Lots in the past, but it is hit or miss.
My favorite Advent calendar is actually a set of tiny board books that tell the Christmas story. The Story of Christmas opens up to reveal 25 little board books, one for each day until Christmas.
We’ve had this set for 10 years. Every day in December we read one little board book and hang it on a small, tabletop tree.
My young children love taking this little tree down off the shelf several times during the season so they can look at all the little board books.
You can also make your own advent calendar. To make a simple chocolate advent calendar, draw a chart on cardboard or poster board with one square for each day of Advent, December 1-25. You can make a large board for all the children in your family or each child can make their own. Using a hot glue gun (parents need to do this part) attach a wrapped chocolate in each square of the calendar.
Some advent calendars have a colorful window that opens to reveal a Bible verse. If you are creative and crafty, you could make a calendar like that out of old Christmas cards. Cut windows into old Christmas cards, being careful to leave one side uncut so that the window can be closed. Glue the cards onto a piece of poster board, leaving the windows unglued. Write a Bible verse behind each window and number the windows 1 to 25 with a black sharpie.
Favorite Family Christmas Book
My family loves books and one of our all-time favorites is Jack and Kathy Stockman’s gorgeously illustrated The Advent Book. This book is out of print now, but still available online and well worth pursuing.
We read one new page daily, opening the door for that particular day. Each day we start the book from the beginning, working up through the numbered door for the day. The children eagerly await the day when it is their turn to open doors. By Christmas even the youngest has memorized most of the Christmas story.
If you can get this book through Amazon, or a similar site, expect to pay between $15 to $25. You can purchase an heirloom copy through www.adventbook.com, Jack Stockman’s website for $50 for this out of print.