Advent with a toddler.

I know this post is late for the Advent season this year, but I don’t want to forget some of the things I did or are going to do this year. I thought maybe you’d want to have some ideas for next year, or even this year!

I explained in my last post about how I’ve come to love the season of Advent and it’s my most favorite part of every year. Now that I have a toddler who is old enough to somewhat participate in celebrating Advent, I thought I would share a few things we have been doing together. Some are very simple and some required some work, but we’ve had so much fun together through the past few weeks. For me, it takes effort to be intentional this time of year. I can get so caught up in the day to day obligations that I have trouble slowing down and relishing this season – especially with a toddler.

First things first, finish your Christmas shopping EARLY! Honestly, the best deals are before and during Black Friday – Cyber Monday and then afterwards everything is pretty much sold out anyway. Make your list and just get it done. This is the first year in awhile that I haven’t finished most of my shopping by Dec 1st and it’s been rough. I procrastinate because I just don’t want to do it, but in past years I feel so much relief getting it done BEFORE December.

Ok now onto toddlers…

1) Talk about the Christmas Story of Jesus’ birth everyday with your child. I’ve made it a point to talk about it constantly, when we’re in the car, when we see a nativity scene, when we’re reading a book, singing a Christmas song… and it never gets old. My son loves talking about baby Jesus and describing all that was happening at His birth. I know he wouldn’t know all of these things if I only spent one or two nights talking about it. We do it everyday and it’s become our rhythm. I love it because it also helps my own rhythm and thinking of this important season.

2) Use a nativity scene to describe it to your child. For Advent this year, I bought Fisher Price’s Little People Nativity Scene – kid friendly!! I love all of the Little People brand toys. They’re great for conversation and playing. My son stays entertained for awhile, especially when I’m playing along. I’m sure there are some better kid friendly Nativity scenes out there, but let’s be real it was affordable and on Amazon. The only thing about this one is the shepherds are missing. It makes no sense why they’re not there, but we used other “little people” characters and made them shepherds.

3) Read from your Bible and pray together. This has been a really cool experience for us. My son knows what my bible looks like and he calls it Mommy’s bible. He may not understand this concept yet, but knowing that I’m modeling reading “Mommy’s bible” about Jesus now and he sees that it’s something I do is starting to plant a seed that I pray one day he will do and cultivate it as an intentional daily rhythm in his life too. Same with praying, every night the 3 of us pray before bed and if we don’t do anything else we always end the night this way. I want God to be our first thought waking up and our last before going to bed, not just during Advent but always. Make it fun, but also simple! (I’m going for easy here!)

4) This one takes a little work, but it’s been so much fun!! For the past few years, I have been collecting all kinds of Christmas books both about Jesus and some about Santa and just the holiday in general. I wrapped all of them and every night starting on Dec 1st we open a new one and read it. John has loved it this year and it’s been really fun for us! I even bought a few new books unrelated to Christmas for him to open and those were a fun surprise to add too. I’ll put most of the Christmas theme books up until next year when we do it again so they aren’t books that he gets tired of before next year.

5) Lighting an Advent candle every Sunday during dinner. This has been so much fun to observe. My son even wants to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus when we light it. It’s really sweet!

6) Bake a cake for Jesus’ birthday on Christmas Eve then sing Happy Birthday and eat cake for (or after 😉) breakfast on Christmas morning. What a fun surprise and a way to add Jesus to the chaos of Christmas morning!

7) I haven’t done this before, but I will this year and I need to think of what to do. I want to be intentional about celebrating the Christmas season (the 12 days of Christmas until Epiphany). I don’t have any ideas, but I’m going to think of something to do each day. My first thought is to find illustrated pictures of the stories of Jesus and look at it then read the corresponding story in the Bible, one for each day.

That’s all I really have for now… if you have something else, I want to know! My biggest “goal” is to be intentional with my son. He won’t be little for long and the days can be so long some days with him, but I don’t want this time to slip away without Him learning about who is most important in our lives. Its my job to be the hands and feet of Jesus in his life and in turn it leads me closer to Jesus too. ❤️

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