Our true story advent calendar

Last year, Sophie (then 2 years old) had not one but two chocolate advent calendars for the run-up to Christmas Day. It only took her a couple of days to cotton on to the fact that both Peppa Pig and Princess Elsa offered daily chocolatey treats. Then Boxing Day came, and she was told there would be no more forthcoming. It took her a good couple of weeks to get over it.

This year, I decided to do something different. We’re going to have a true story advent calendar. I did a bit of research on the interwebs (I really liked this one) and came up with a plan. Some families do a Bible reading each day, going through the Christmas story methodically. My children are too little for that. So I decided to take one letter of the alphabet for each day (a bit like I did on the blog during advent two seasons ago), and one aspect of the Christmas story which begins with that letter, and make my own ‘calendar’ which will grow as advent goes on.

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And here it is. It was so easy to make and so much fun! I felt like I was back at school with all the drawing, cutting, and sticking!

All you need is this (plus some string and pegs, or a big bit of paper or card and sticky tape, to display it):

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Anyone can make this! Seriously, my artistic skills are not up to much… I managed it purely by copying from cartoons on the internet! (Note, I’m crafty, not arty :-)) Anyway, my children won’t be bothered by the quality of the drawings, but they will love opening the envelope I’ll hand them each morning and hanging the cards up on the wall as we go through the season.

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Each day we will get a glimpse of a different part of this true story which we can talk about through the day. On the back of each card, I’ve written a sentence or two about how its theme fits in with the story. If I’m super organised, I’ll also put in a card with an activity which we can do that day, something fun that I know the children will enjoy (go for a walk, do playdough, read a book, that kind of simple thing). And because I’m in control (ha!), I can incorporate things that I already know are going to happen (a visit to the Zoo, a visit from grandparents, French toast for breakfast at the weekend).

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So without further ado, here is my advent alphabet drawn from the true story of Christmas. (The letter I struggled with the most? O. What does O stand for at Christmas?!)

  • A is for Angels
  • B is for Baby
  • C is for Census
  • D is for Donkey
  • E is for Emmanuel
  • F is for Flocks
  • G is for Gifts
  • H is for Holy
  • I is for Inn
  • J is for Joseph
  • K is for Kings
  • L is for Love
  • M is for Mary
  • N is for Night
  • O is for Obey
  • P is for Peace
  • Q is for Questions
  • R is for Royal
  • S is for Star
  • T is for Treasure
  • U is for United
  • V is for Visitors
  • W is for Worship
  • XYZ ends the alphabet – but God’s love has no end

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How do you celebrate advent in your home? Share your ideas for how to help toddlers and preschoolers grow in their understanding of what Christmas is truly about!

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