Summer service is winding down, fall kick-off is around the corner, and—believe it or not—it is already time to begin planning Advent. As the world barrels toward its “normal” (read: busy) Christmas, focus on a simplified holiday that encourages family connections. Prepare students’ families by equipping them with meaningful Advent activities that keep the “holy” in the holiday.
Let It Snow
Lead families to weather an indoor snowstorm with a flurry of encouraging notes between family members. Family members can cut old-school snowflakes from craft paper and write kind notes about what they love about each other, traits about each other that make others smile, and other positive and uplifting words on its edges. Students can then string them together and hang them from the ceiling for a stormfront of love to lead into Christmas.
Countdown to Christmas
Build up the momentum for Jesus’ birth with a countdown through Advent. Create an activity kit with reflective questions, Bible verses, specific holiday activities, or links to recommended online resources. Get crafty and make cut-outs in the shape of angels, ornaments, or in strips for a paper chain.
Find the Light
Put together a Christmas lights scavenger hunt for families. Create a checklist of items for them to find as they drive around this season, like a Grinch, candy cane, nativity scene, giant Christmas package, burnt-out bulb, star, and more. Include short devotions about how they relate to Advent.
Encourage families to gather around an Advent wreath to share faith discussions. Adapt the traditional wreath to a DIY: a yule log with spots for tea lights, a dish of water with floating candles, or a circle of candles in jars.
Focus on Service
When families volunteer together, their mindset shifts from greedy to grateful. Put together a list of local nonprofits that offer volunteer opportunities during Advent. Students learn new skills and explore new interests in a safe and fun setting at the same time they are helping others.
Sing the Songs of Christmas
Provide an electronic songbook and encourage families to sing Christmas carols together, whether for friends and neighbors in person or by Zoom, by video on social media, or for each other in the family living room.
Let these ideas spark a fresh look at the traditions of Advent and ignite a memorable experience for your students and their church families this Christmas.