Advent and Christmas … With a Twist

Traditions are important, especially for children. We’ve found a few fresh takes on some the most popular holiday traditions. These few unexpected projects can help focus your children on the true meaning of Christmas. These ideas put sharing at the center of the season. We also give take a look at how Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ.

Reverse Advent Calendar
Feeling the need for some new ideas for your classroom or family for Advent? How about trying a variation on a tried-and-true Advent tradition—the Advent calendar. We’ve all seen—and possibly used—Advent calendars that have a treat hidden behind each day’s door. This approach is a nice way to build in daily anticipation of something special as we count off the days to the biggest gift of all—God’s Son becoming human in the person of Jesus.

Here’s the twist. What if, instead of receiving a treat, we add a new treat each day of Advent—a donation of food or clothing or money or a toy—to a box or basket we’d then give to a food bank, homeless shelter, or needy family at Christmas? As the gifts add up, our children will know that Christmas is getting closer. And they’ll experience the joyful anticipation of giving—not just receiving—at Christmas.

Celebrating Christmas at Epiphany
Trying to “keep Advent” when the rest of the world is celebrating Christmas is tricky, especially if your class takes a break between Christmas and New Year’s. When do you fit in a Christmas celebration with your class? It’s even more complicated for those whose class meets on Sundays since Christmas and New Year’s Day are both on Sundays this season.

Consider holding off your Christmas celebration until the actual Christmas season and celebrating on or close to Epiphany on Sunday, January 8, 2017. At Epiphany, we remember the visit of the Magi from the east. These wise ones who followed a star to honor Jesus, the light of the world, are a sign that Jesus came as a light to all the peoples of the world.

An article from Today’s Catholic Teacher suggests ways to incorporate traditions from around the world in your class Christmas celebration. Adapt the ideas to your class, your community, and, of course, your time! What a joy it will be to welcome your students back after the Christmas break with a Christmas celebration. Find the article “Christmas Around the World” by Kate Daneluk here.


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