Scripture-Based Christmas Countdown – Why?
As Evangelical Christians and as parents, my husband and I wanted to make sure to give our kids a foundation of understanding what Christmas is all about… beyond the trees, lights, gifts, Santa, etc (there are places for those, but we don’t make any of them the center of our celebration). So, starting when our twin daughters were almost 2 years old, we created 25 daily Scripture readings to help them understand the background of the Bible before Jesus came. We wanted them to have an understanding of how the world was before the great moment of wonder — the incarnation — happened, so they’d gain a better understanding of why this is such an important event.
In the following years, we added ornaments that the kids put onto a small tree. These ornaments are simple but are connected to the Scripture we read — for example a whale, an apple, a red ribbon, etc. They *love* touching little tangible objects — they’ll often come up to the tree, touch an ornament from a past day and explain it’s significance. We also added some chocolate, because a little incentive to do an activity every day doesn’t hurt. 😉 This year, due to how much both girls and I love LEGO we’re also adding a daily mini-build.
This activity has grown with us over the years and I think it should be applicable to kids from around age 2 (for eager listeners) through elementary school.
You can find a free printable file that has directions, a verse list, printable verse cards, suggestions for ornaments, and pictures (so you can play match/memory, or substitute an image if you can’t find an ornament). You can present these in many different ways — the photos below show some of our past efforts.
What Else You’ll Need
You can do this activity with just the Scriptures (read them from the cards or from your Bible). If you want to do the ornaments, you’ll need to find or make them. Suggestions are in the free printable file linked above. I suggest you work a week ahead. Don’t be afraid to substitute a picture or pull out coloring pages when needed. It took about 3 seasons for me to find or make actual ornaments for everything (perhaps because I’m cheap! I didn’t want to spend more than $2 on any ornament!).
We also use a typical Christmas-countdown-calendar with chocolates. Ours comes from IKEA. It’s not necessary, and you could always substitute something small like an M&M.
Since this is the first year to make the LEGO mini builds and since sourcing all the bricks took me a long time — I’m not undertaking the herculean effort to show you how to build them. However, there are a few rough photos of my work-in-progress here.
We do another activity like this for Easter – also with Scripture cards and ornaments to hang on a twig tree – that covers the life of Jesus. The Christmas verses pretty much take you through the Old Testament and the nativity story.