Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Challenge

Over the weekend, we began preparations for the Christmas Season. I decided this would be the year that I learn to sew and went and got fabric to make stockings for each of us. A broken needle, a bloody finger, countless removal of seams, and many tears later, I emerged from my room to find my husband sitting at the table painting wooden blocks.

We had been talking about Advent calendars and how we just had never really found the "right" one. I mean there are Lego Advent Calendars, Playmobil Advent Calendars, Barbie Advent Calendars, etc. Of course commercialism at its' finest. The thing is, that all of these calendars focused on the kids receiving. We are trying SO hard to teach our kids that it is FAR more rewarding to GIVE. We buy each kids three or four gifts for Christmas and try to focus on the JOY in giving to and loving others. In a world that is obsessed with give me NOW, we wanted to focus on the opposite.

My amazing husband came up with this Advent Calendar and I am THRILLED to see how it turns out. Seriously, he is awesome like this. This Advent calendar focuses on GIVING and the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Preparing our hearts for the birth of Jesus. So here is what he came up with:


So, how it works is that each day we turn over one of the blocks...(you could definitely make this out of paper). Whatever symbol is on it, is what you do for that day.

Hand = give someone a helping hand, shovel a driveway, help someone load groceries, etc.

Pencil = Write someone a letter, could be someone you've lost touch with, a soldier, grandma, etc.

Apple = Donate food, buy someone's groceries or dinner, donate money to the food pantry, etc.

Christmas Tree = Decorate and prepare your home for the season

Table = have dinner with someone else, at a restaurant or in your home. Just have a meal and fellowship.

Dollar Sign = Donate money. Hand someone a ten dollar bill unexpectedly, give to the needy, send someone you know is struggling a few dollars.

Cross = pray. Set aside time and pray. Pray for your family, for others, for the hurting, for the lost, etc.

Smiley Face = Do something to make someone smile. Visit a nursing home, take a meal to someone who is hurting, deliver blankets to a NICU.

Don't Sign = Try NOT to do something all day. Don't swear, yell, pick your nose, jump on the couch, speed, or even fast.

Book = Read the Christmas Story from the Bible

Wreath = Help someone else decorate their home. Take them a wreath, stockings, help hang lights, spread the Christmas cheer!

Lips = (no don't go kissing random people, it is cold and flu season people) :) Say a kind word. Use your words wisely and wish people a Merry Christmas.

Bird = Do something for nature. Make a bird feeder, pick up trash, recycle.

Music Note = Sing Christmas Carols with your family

So, there you have it, an Advent of GIVING. Let's take some time and prepare our hearts for what Christmas is REALLY about. Let's get out and act like Christ...not just Christians. Who's in!? We'd love to have you join us and share your stories and pictures, I can share them here or you are welcome to link to your own blog. Let me know! I know we are already four days in, but the first whole week is decorating...most of you have already started that...right? ;)


amy said...

kristy. that. is. flipping. awesome. i love it. wow, just awesome. thanks for that idea!!!! brilliant!

Angelina Krell said...

WONDERFUL! I think I have a lot of work to do tonight!

Unknown said...

Wow, this is the coolest advent calendar ever!

Mama10EE said...

That's such a wonderful idea!

Stacy@hiswaynotmine said...

Love it! Way to go to your husband. Such a a great idea...and so creative.

Danae Hudson said...

This is really super awesome. I love it!!! And I have never seen a cooler Advent calender.

trennia said...

That is a great idea!

Melissa said...

That is the best! You should seriously open an etsy store and sell these! I'd buy one!

Penny said...

Kristy, that is a wonderful calendar! You and Howard are awesome parents and children of God. Seriously. :)
I especially like the *lips* block. "She opens her mouth and on her tongue is the law of kindness." Prov. 31:26
Beth Moore did a seminar on this and it was awesome. Really convicted me on how often unkindness comes out of my mouth. :(

izzy said...

Your husband made that all by himself?? Really awesome! Cute drawings.

Today's Motherhood

Alicia said...

What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing!!

Alicia said...

What a wonderful idea!! Thanks so much for sharing!

Our Photographic Memory said...

Would you mind showing us each day what our "symbol is" or our symbols for the week. I don't have time to make my own calendar - but I would love to follow yours in giving! Thank you!

Tiffany said...

What a great idea, Kristy!! I would to take part in this! :-)

Melanie said...

I loved your idea so much, that I went straight to work to quickly make my own! I made it out of poster board and library card holders. My 2 boys helped me put nativity scene stickers on it, and they are pumped. I am so excited about making this a family tradition! Thank you for sharing your idea with us! I will have to e-mail you some pictures of it or something, so you can see how your family has inspired a family in the small town of King, NC. Thank you so much!

Homeschool Nut said...

This is so awesome! I was just thinking about coming up with some sort of Advent challenge for myself, so I figured I might as well google some ideas - and yours is exactly what I was looking for. Years ago I made a wall hanging with 25 pockets on it. (I like sewing, so it wasn't as traumatic as your sewing experience...) I used to put the little pieces to a Playmobile nativity set in each pocket. Then the kids got older and I just put in little candies. Now they are teens, so I think I will put in your Advent challenge ideas for us all to do!