Remember this sneak peek post the other day? Thanks to all who guessed! It is, in fact, an Advent Mini Book :) I am in no way trying to rush on through Thanksgiving, more so, I am incorporating the planning into my thoughts. I want to be prepared for the Christmas season, that is, have my Holiday Journal ready to go. And now, have an Advent activity ready for the season.
Our sweet son (he's 4!) is understanding and asking more and more about our beliefs as followers of Jesus Christ and we want to cultivate and encourage that! In Christmases past, we'd do things like sing Christmas songs, open up the Jesus Storybook Bible and read the Christmas story and talk about baby Jesus, set up the Nativity, etc. We are wanting to go deeper now- to read more into the Christmas story, to talk about what Christmas is about. We want it to be a celebration and to be fun as we anticipate the celebrating of Baby Jesus' birth. We want to celebrate together as a family, do fun things together, love on others, and continue talking about our beliefs with our son.
Usually with the way the calendar falls, Advent starts before December 1 (4 Sundays before Christmas). But for this project, we will be starting December 1. After much thoughts and talking with Rob, we decided to have a Bible verse or passage about the Christmas story as well as an activity each day in December, up to and ending on Christmas. So we came up with 24 activities, 1 for each day (and one that says Happy Birthday Jesus! for December 25). Some of the activities are simple, like reading a Christmas book together, or driving around to look at Christmas lights. And some are more involved like making, baking and decorating gingerbread men, creating ornaments, wrapping presents, etc. But more importantly, we wanted to include activities that relate to loving on others, such as baking cookies and taking them to our neighbor, making ornaments to give to a friend, picking an angel off the Angel Tree, or giving a toy to a friend.
After looking around on pinterest, I was inspired by these Advent activities - here, here and here. I wanted to somehow put those all together. And since I love mini books/albums/journals (can you see where this is going?), what better way than to put them into a mini book :)
So what will each day look like as we do this? Since this is the first year we've done this, we'll kind of see how it goes. We are thinking of opening the envelope each morning, reading the activity for the day and either reading the Bible verse or passage in the Bible and talking about it then, or waiting until the evening at dinner time to do that. Not quite sure yet! :) This Advent activity will be building on and in addition to what we have been doing each year during the Christmas season.
I wanted to make envelopes, not just buy them, so I started out by going to my local craft store and finding a ton of Christmas-ish themed paper. I already had some ready-made envelopes on hand, so I needed about 20 sheets of scrapbooking paper (12"x12"). I did put some money into this project (about $10-$15), but could have done it a lot cheaper had I gathered up the paper over time, using 50% off-one-item coupons (I bought the paper all in one trip). Some of the paper was $1.99 (ouch) but I loved the velvet accents on some, the shiny glimmer on others, so I decided to just go for it. Other sheets were on sale for $.20/piece, so it evened out in my opinion ;)
I took apart 2 envelopes I had on hand to use as a template, like I did for this mini envelope tutorial (I also used that mini-envelope template for a few of the envelopes). I started tracing (onto the back of the scrapbook paper so you can't see the pencil lines once it's cut and folded!) and then cutting and putting together the envelopes. For some, I simply folded the paper on itself, sewed up two sides and made a "pocket" (And for one pocket, I just stapled up the side).
Once I made all of the envelopes, I punched two holes in each and put the binder rings on. I then worked on the cards for each day. I typed out each activity and each Bible verse and printed them on regular white paper and then adhered them to red, green, cream or Christmas-y paper. The final size of each was about 2"x3.5" (business card size).
As you can see, it was starting to rain while I was taking the pictures of these ;) Don't worry, all of the cards were ok :)
I went through my stash of stickers and put numbers for each day. I also cut out numbers from paper here and there (the giant green numbers are from vintage flashcards. Love.).
And since no mini book of mine is complete without some sort of confetti, I made a confetti window from extra pieces of ribbon and snowflake punches. This is the last pocket -- for Christmas day. The window is all sewn up and then an extra sheet sewn to the back to make the pocket.
All in all, Rob and I are so incredibly excited about this activity. We hope Jimmy will be too (and Joshua as he gets older :)). We are excited that we will be able to put it away with the Christmas decorations and pull it out each year. Not sure if we will keep the same activity cards or if we will make new ones each year. To be determined :)
* Below is a template for one of the envelopes I made. You can also go here to find a template for the mini envelopes. Click to enlarge, save and then print.
As with all printables I share here, these are for personal use only. Thanks!