Yes, we were self-controlled enough to make it through our Cheerios before tearing into our advent calendars.
Our chocolate-filled Christmas advent calendar was fun, and I enjoyed the countdown to Christmas. But I want Advent to mean something more to my kids…..
I want Advent to mean something more to your kids too. I bet you feel the same way.
For Christians, Advent is a season of expectant waiting while we anticipate celebrating the Incarnation of Christ. Jesus, God the Son, took the form of a servant and was born as a man. He humbled himself in ministry to his own creation, dying for us. God has glorified the Risen Son and one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:1-11)
Just take that in for a moment. That’s amazing.
You and I want our kids to celebrate the Advent season for real. We want them all to understand the wonder of the God who became man and died for their sins. I put together 24 Advent readings for children that will help kids understand:
- The Christmas Story
- Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus’ Birth
- Jesus as God the Son
And I put those readings on a beautiful printable Christmas Advent calendar you can assemble and use to decorate your home. The Advent calendar has a Scandinavian design in honor of my maternal grandparents. God Jul! (That means Merry Christmas in Swedish.) Check it out:
Printable Advent Calendar for Kids
You can purchase the Printable Advent Calendar for Kids in the Thinking Kids Press Store.
- Sometimes readers are concerned about using colored ink. If this is the case for you, there should be a setting on your printer that allows you to print in black and white. Printing in grayscale will still use some color, but it will come out prettier than black and white. (The colors on this are so pretty though!)
- Print these duplex (double-sided) and have them flip on the long side.
- I recommend printing on white cardstock so the banners will be more durable and they’ll stand up. This is my very favorite cardstock: Neenah Premium Cardstock.
- You’ll need to cut the banners out so you can glue them onto your ribbon. I cut around them, leaving a small white margin. I don’t suggest trying to cut on the line.
Supplies Needed to Make Your Christmas Advent Calendar
You’ll need a few supplies to make your Christmas advent calendar. You may have a few of these items already. If not, these are all fairly inexpensive and will serve you well for multiple projects. Make sure you get ribbon that’s 1/2 inch wide! I used 2″ inch wide ribbon, and it was too much fabric into the fold in the banner.
Assembling Your Advent Readings for Children
1) Print Your Advent Calendar & Cut Everything Out
This is a double-sided printable, so you’ll want to print it duplex with the fold on the long side.
Note: You’ll want to cut out all of your labels in advance. Your older kids can help with this task. If you need more labels, you can just print extra sheets.
2) Measure and Cut Your Ribbon
You’ll need 4 yards of ribbon. Add another yard if you want to tie a bow on each side or to have a long tail.
Fold your ribbon in half and tie a small loop so you can attach it to your wall or mantle. Fold each half in half again (subtracting your end trails and bow (if you added ribbon for that). Make a small loop at each quarter length point and at each end. At this point your ribbon will be divided into four equal sections with a decorative tail on each end.
I used small hooks to attach our banner to the mantle through the small loops I tied.
3) Fold Your Advent Calendar Banners
Each Advent calendar banner has a dotted line across the top. Fold the banner on the dotted line away from the decorative side toward the side that has the Advent readings. Do this with each of your 24 banners.
4) Glue Your Advent Calendar Banners to Your Ribbon
You will use a hot glue gun to attach your banners to your ribbon. This is a job for you, the adult, as the hot glue is really hot and you have to use your fingers. I tried using a table knife to push down the flaps over the glue–it worked reasonably well, so you can do that if you’d like.
Note: I’m using 2-inch wide wire edge ribbon in this picture. I thought it would be prettier for the end pieces, but it was too much fabric for the flap. Use 1/2-inch wide wire edge ribbon instead. Again, be careful gluing your banners to the ribbon. I’m sporting a lovely deep burn across my finger due to my 2-inch ribbon faux pas.
Display Your Christmas Advent Calendar with Your Advent Readings Facing In
Take a picture of your Christmas Advent Calendar and share it on social media with the hashtag #BibleRoadTrip. You can tag me as well! I’d love to reshare it. I’m on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also share it in the Bible Crafts for Kids community on Facebook.
Beginning December 1st, turn over one banner a day to reveal that day’s Scripture readings. Have your kids help you locate the Scriptures in the Bible. Take turns reading a paragraph each and discuss what you learned about the Incarnation of Christ that day!
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.