I love advent calendars. They come in all different shapes, sizes, prices, and styles. Know the ones I like the most? The homemade ones.
I wish I had photo to show you, but one year I cut out one giant Christmas Tree from green wrapping paper. It was so big it filled my entire back door. Then, I cut out enough circle ornaments for each scripture of the advent reading. One single gold star "Jesus" was the tip top of the tree. I wrote the corresponding scriptures on each ornament, and every morning while my kiddos had breakfast we would read that day's scripture reading of the advent. Then they would take turns gluing that ornament on. Jesus was the star of the story, so he was the star of our advent tree, too. It was wonderful.
Here are some really clever advent calendars I've seen floating around the web at various places and on pintrest. You still have plenty of time. Pick your favorite and duplicate it for your family this year. It's a meaningful time each day to stop and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.
Only By His Grace,
I love the simplicity of this. You can purchase these blank tags at craft and scrapbooking stores, print your own numbers on them, and add the appropriate scripture. Gifts optional.
This is a simple, inexpensive and clever idea. Save up enough canned food cans, cover them in plain white paper, and tie up the top with tissue paper. Clever, so clever!
This one is probably my favorite if you're going to use "gifts" for each day. These little buckets are so darling, and they can be used again and again each year. Come to think of it, you could incorporate the tin cans from above and make your own. Recycling at its finest.
Get the kids involved. Have them write the appropriate scripture on a slip of colored paper and make an old-fashioned paper chain. What a great way to get them involved in the whole process.
Have a stack of unused envelopes? Gather up some clothes line, twine or colored yarn, some clothes pins and hang this little beauty from the mantle.
Here's another idea with the little buckets. This time used against a stair banister with colored gross grain ribbon... What a sweet and simple look for less..
I must say, this is probably the winner for simplicity, fun and cost consciousness. Colored paper party cups filled with slips of tissue paper, hung from a string with clothes pins. You could place small gifts within, and write the scripture reading on the bottom.
Why do I think an advent calendar is so important? Because where your treasure is, there your heart is also. Make sure your treasure this season isn't in the gifts underneath the tree, but rather in the reason for the celebration!
If you choose to make a paper chain, or a reading list, here is the compiled list I use from The One Year Chronological Bible.
Dec 1 - Matthew 1:18-19 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Dec 2 - Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirt.
Dec 3 - Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins."
Dec 4 - Matthew 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Dec 5 - Matthew 1:23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, "God with us."
Dec 6 - Matthew 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
Dec 7 - Matthew 1:25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Dec 8 - Luke 2:1 - 2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
Dec 9 - Luke 2:3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
Dec 10 - Luke 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
Dec 11 - Luke 2:5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
Dec 12 - Luke 2:6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
Dec 13 - Luke 2:7a ...and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
Dec 14 - Luke 2:7b ...She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Dec 15 - Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
Dec 16 - Luke 2:9 An angel of the lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Dec 17 - Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, "Fear not, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."
Dec 18 - Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord.
Dec 19 - Luke 2:12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Dec 20 - Luke 2:13-14 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Dec 21 - Luke 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
Dec 22 - Luke 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger.
Dec 23 - Luke 2:17-18 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Dec 24 - Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Dec 25 Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
If you want to incorporate the story of Anna the prophetess, and the visit from the magi -- that comes later in the story. Those scriptures can be found Luke 2:21 - 40, and Matthew 2:1-23.