In yesterday's blog post I wrote about using Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree devotional last year and some of the many things I loved about doing that, as well as some of the drawbacks.
If you're looking for something targeted towards a younger audience (preschool through early elementary) - I have just the thing for you!
Truth in the Tinsel is an ebook developed by Amanda White from ImpressYourKids who was looking for a more pre-school friendly way to do a Jesse Tree style advent activity with her kids.
What's awesome about this is that it is soooo flexible! Here's the main gist of it...
Each day there is a clue (something for your kids to listen for), a scripture passage to read together, an ornament craft to make together (craft-challenged moms like me - don't stop reading!!), exploring what the passage means together (talking about it), and some options to do more together if you want to take the time to go deeper into the story (such as additional scripture, songs to sing, fun activities to make the lesson applicable to their lives, etc).
In case you didn't catch it in the previous paragraph, one of the goals is to make this advent journey together with your kids.
Making the perfect Christmas tree ornament crafts is definitely NOT the goal! (Phew - cause I'd be out right there). The goal, of course, is to engage your kids in the Christmas story in a way they can understand so that they grow to love Jesus more. To quote Amanda....
The little Baby is no longer in the manger but alive and sitting on a throne - waiting to have a relationship with you and your children. Help your children get to know Him this Christmas!
Now, what does it all include?
Everything! (Love it when people make things easy for me by doing all the hard work!)
There are two options for your advent calendar. There are 24 picture and word clues that you can print out and use to create your own advent calendar (or use with one you already have). Or, to keep it super simple, there's a printable paper chain style version - can't get any easier than that!
She has a full craft supply list, as well as a daily list (in case you only want to do certain crafts, or gather materials gradually), and templates for some of the ornaments. Most of the supplies are very common and you may, in fact, have most of them at home already. There's also a Facebook group where you can share in the journey with other families.
Keep in mind - there's no rule you have to make the craft the way it's suggested. If it calls for glue, you can use tape. If it calls for embroidery thread, you can use yarn. Shoot - you can just cut it out of construction paper and call it a day! And really, if you skip the craft entirely some days, that's ok too!
Amanda understand all about busy schedules, especially in December. Which is why I love this next feature: she has alternate schedules!! You can do a 6 day version covering all the traditional Christmas passages. Another option is to take several days of one large chunk of scripture at a time (works especially well if you have multiple kids as they can each make a different ornament while you're discussing the passage). You can do a 10 day version focusing on the people of the story - creating an almost full nativity set (of ornaments) for your kids to play with. Or you can do a 7 days version focusing on prophecy. So many options!
This is not a "do all 24 crafts in 24 days or die trying" type of program. Do what you can as you have time, knowing that as you have time, someone else has already figured out what you need to do!
So, Truth in the Tinsel sells for only $4.99 - which is a pretty good deal for this package I'd say. Remember, it's an e-book, so no waiting for it to arrive - instant download and you're off to the races!
But y'all have the chance to get it for free! In fact - 3 of y'all do! Amanda has graciously offered to donate 3 copies of Truth in the Tinsel as a giveaway on my blog. All you have to do is comment on this post and you're in! If you like her Facebook group and come comment again to let me know you did, you get another entry.
Truth in the Tinsel starts on December 1st which means there is going to be a pretty short turnaround between this blog post and the entry deadline - so you only have until 11pm CST tonight (Tuesday, November 29th) to enter this giveaway!
If you're not one of the winners, take heart - it'll only cost you $4.99 to purchase the Truth in the Tinsel ebook and join with us, making meaningful Christmas memories with our kids, impressing the Truth of God's Word on their minds and hearts.