I have written about one of our families Advent Traditions & here I’m going to talk about our Advent Calendar which we’ve used for many years.
I made this advent calendar when my daughter was about 4. First I cut out & ironed on the numbers in the correct place, then sewed the red strips onto the large piece of green fabric & divided them to make 6 pockets in each row, used a piece of Christmas fabric for the 25th pocket Then I simply lined it with calico.
In the first year all of the pictures were hand drawn, mostly by my daughter. Slowly all the pictures have been replaced with other objects. This one remaining picture is of baby Moses in a basket. I wish I had kept more of the original pictures, I could have laminated them & stuck velcro on the back. I’ve added velcro to all of the pockets & to the back of the objects. We’ve bought or made all the other objects.
In the images above you can see the different types of objects that have been used. There is a metal Noah’s Ark with a cloth dove. My mother-in-law made the mini doll angels. Other cloth symbols include the anchor for Hope & the Love symbol. I punched out stars, stuck them on black paper & laminated it to make the star symbol. The altar is made from little pebbles stuck on card. The donkey is from a toy animal set. My husband made the water & manger symbols from wood & I painted them. The star is a bought wooden symbol. The symbols have been bought or made as we found them or had the ideas.
Each year the order changes slightly, depending on what dates the 4 Sundays of Advent are. If the 1st Sunday of Advent is in November then the Hope symbol is on the first of December. The rest alternate with an old testament & new testament part of the story. Though I am considering changing it to put all the old testament stories, then all the new testament stories with the symbols for the 4 Sundays of advent moving to the correct date each year. December 25 is always the cake symbol & we always have a Jesus birthday cake with our bacon & egg breakfast.
Each year the kids have taken turns in drawing out the symbol & as they’ve gotten older reading the verse for the day. Originally we read the relevant Bible story from a children’s Bible. Most years I’ve added lollies in some of the pockets. One year I made dairy free fudge that my son could eat, wrote the verse on paper & wrapped the verses around the fudge for each day. Eventually I wrote the verses on calico & cut them out with pinking shears (pictured above).
Here is the order of the symbols & the verses, as they stand for this year:
- Noah’s Ark – ark & dove – Genesi 9:13
- Angel Visits Zechariah – angel – Luke 1:11a
- 1st Sunday of Advent: Hope – anchor – 1 Timothy 4:10
- God’s Promise to Abraham – stars – Genesis 15:5
- Angel Visits Mary – angel – Luke 1:31
- Abraham & Isaac – altar – Genesis 22:8
- Zechariah’s Prophecy – word “John” – Luke 1:63
- Joseph – multi-coloured coat – Genesis 45:4-5
- Angel Visits Joseph – angel – Matthew 1:20
- 2nd Sunday of Advent: Peace – Peace symbol – Isaiah 26:3
- Baby in a Basket – Drawing – Exodus 2:3
- Travelling – Donkey – Luke 2:4
- Through the Sea – water – Exodus 14:16
- No Room at the Inn – manger – Luke 2:7
- 10 Commandments – tablets – Exodus 20:3
- Shepherds – sheep – Luke 2:10-11
- 3rd Sunday in Advent: Joy – smiley face – Acts 16:34
- David – harp – Psalm 150:6
- Simeon Praises God – temple (church) – Luke 2:28
- Ruth – wheat – Ruth 1:16
- Story – chest – “With Love at Christmas” by Mem Fox*
- Isaiah – book – Isaiah 9:6
- Wise Men – star – Matthew 2:2
- 4th Sunday in Advent: Love – heart – Matthew 22:57
- Christmas Day – birthday cake – 1 John 4:9-10
* On the 21st we’ve read the beautiful picture book listed above or this short story: “If Your Missing Baby Jesus, Call 7162” by Jean Gietzen from the book Christmas Stories for the Heart compiled by Alice Gray. There are lots of great Christmas books you could read. In fact you could do an advent calendar with a different Christmas book/story for each day.
Do you use an advent calendar? What traditions do you have for Advent?