Good Deeds for Jesus

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday season and start to miss the real focus.  So, to get ready for the coming of Jesus we have been adding straw to his manger.  Each time the girls do a good deed this Advent season, they add a piece of staw (yellow yarn) to the empty manger.  We want Jesus to have a nice, cozy place to sleep so we want to add lots of straw.

In our family Nativity the Jesus is attached to the manger so I made a manger out of cardstock.  I just colored it to look like wood and then folded/taped it together.  I’ve included the pattern I used to make it, which you can easily adjust to fit the size you need.

Click Here for Manger Template

On Christmas Day when we add Jesus to the Nativity scene, I will just put the yellow yarn on the stable floor under the ceramic Jesus.

The girls are loving adding straw to the manger.  And we really like the focus being on good deeds for Jesus as opposed to avoiding bad behavior for Santa.  After all, Jesus is the reason for the season!

Homemade Advent Calendar

Advent started this past Sunday.  I had meant to have this finished and posted by then but life got in the way.  Anyway, this year I wanted to do more to celebrate Advent with the girls as we prepare for the coming Christmas season.  Towards that goal I made our own Advent calendar with activities to celebrate the season.

Supplies: cardstock (red and green), glue, stickers, twine, clothespins

This was super simple.  I cut red cardstock into rectangles (mine were 3.5″ by 5″).  I debated using the colors of the Advent candles, but decided to wait until the girls were older to add in that aspect.  So the tabs were red and then I cut the numbers out of green using my Cricut.  You could just as easily use number stickers or write them by hand.

On the back of each one I wrote a message or activity for the day.  Each day we will turn over a card to see what it says.  Keep in mind what events you already have scheduled.  Here are some of the messages I included:

  • Advent is when we get ready for Jesus’ birthday.
  • God loves you so much!  He is always with you!
  • Buy toys for those who won’t get any at Christmas.
  • Say a special prayer for someone who needs extra help.
  • Go to church with your family.
  • Help make Christmas presents today.
  • Be extra nice to your sister today.
  • Learn a new Christmas carol today.
  • Help feed and take care of Hero. (Our dog, this is a chore they haven’t done before).
  • Draw a special Christmas picture.
  • Do a Christmas craft today.
  • Tell a family member the story of Jesus and the first Christmas.
  • Bake Christmas cookies today.
  • (For the Immaculate Conception) Say a special prayer to Mary today.
  • (On Christmas Eve) Happy Birthday Jesus!  Sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus!

To included the girls in this activity I had them decorate the cards with stickers and then help me hang the pieces up.  At first I liked the plain cards better but I knew that the girls would like being a part of it and this would make it more meaningful.  Now I enjoy the colorful cards so much that I think we’ll have to add stickers each day to the backsides of the cards as we read them.  🙂

Happy Advent!

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