Victoria Beech suggests an array of activities to pick according to age and energy levels



How do you feel as December approaches? I had an email this week from someone saying she has little capacity for anything past the middle of December, so work-wise, there’s only six weeks left this year. ARGH! I think she wanted to encourage me to focus on what I would get done in those six weeks, but instead I just felt totally panicked!

I have a few friends who start making Christmas gifts in January (she’s a slow knitter!) and others who follow The Organised Mum who has a Ten Week Countdown to the beginning of December, helping you get everything organised (and all the gifts bought!) by the time December starts so that you can relax and enjoy it all. I’d love to tell you it works, but I’ve never followed her ten weeks properly, so I’ve always had stuff to do (usually buying presents!) in December.

In the midst of All The Stuff, it’s easy to let “the reason for the season” pass us by. We might be active at church events but are we taking time to treasure the mystery of God being born as a baby in our hearts? I’d like to encourage you to take a moment to pause and see how you might want to do that this Advent.

Here’s some questions to help you reflect:

1 What does ‘faith at home’ or being a Jesus follower look like in your home? Do you listen to worship music? Do you have a family devotional time?

Advent is a busy time, so not necessarily the best time to start a NEW thing, so why not incorporate something focused on the birth of Jesus into what you already do. For example

2 What does your family do to have fun together? Do you enjoy chats over dinner or watching movies together? Do you go out on your bikes or go for a walk in the woods? Do you play with lego or Play Mobil? Do you play instruments or love a read aloud/audio book?

Firstly, did you know that actually these things, even though you might not have listed them under Faith At Home Activities actually do a grand job of building faith in your family? Yes! Research has showed that children in Christian families are more likely to have faith as adults if they experience warm, loving relationships with their parents. Not if they learn to be obedient, but if they enjoyed cuddles and loving conversations. So all that ‘normal stuff’ you do every day is building faith!

Secondly, remembering the business of the season, don’t think about what you’d like your family to do together – work with what you have and see if you can find a way to incorporate something about the birth of Jesus into what you already do. For example, you could collect leaves and twigs on your walk and glue them with glue guns to create your own nature nativity scene. OR you could bike ride to a church which is having a nativity scene display. Or learn a new carol together. Or watch a Christmas movie and chat about how well you feel it represents the story of Jesus being born (this could be a nativity story film like The Star or a live action one like The Nativity).

3 If you’re still keen to add something to your Advent, think about what type of activity would be most helpful to your family. What would be easiest to add? What is missing which you might benefit from adding?

I love thinking of Christmas activities achieving one of three things:

1 Helping us to explore the Christmas story

2 Giving us space to pause, reflect and pray

3 Letting us bless us in some way

Q Do you need a new way to explore the Christmas story to help inspire you?

Why not try:

1 a Christmas story Advent Calendar

There are, of course, many wonderful Advent Calendars out there (I’m having a coffee one this year!) but if you’re wanting one where the stickers tell the story, there is only one for you. It has a bright and beautiful A3 picture to which you add a sticker every day as you read a short section of the Christmas story from the mini-book which comes with it. I’ve made it, so I’m biased, but I think you’ll find it’s a really simple, easy and fun way to explore the Christmas story together! Get yours here


2 Enjoy lots of Advent stories


Buy or borrow 24 books (preferably Christmas ones) then unwrap and read one a day. (Wrap them in Amazon packaging or cloth to save on actual wrapping paper.) Here are 24 great books to consider.


Variation: Grab a basket and put all your vaguely Christmas-related books into it. Look out in charity shops for new ones, and look through my reviews to choose one new one for this year.


3 Lego Nativity

Create a nativity scene out of Lego (or Duplo (or wooden blocks or Stickle Bricks…). Look at the story in the Bible and choose which characters and structures to build.

There are examples and links to instructions to follow using your own bricks here

4 Listen to the whole Christmas story

If you love audiobooks, you could try listening to the whole Christmas story from the Bible. There are many versions available including the whole thing for FREE: Simply click through here or cut and paste these references – Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-21; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:39-40 – into

Variation: You might find it helpful to keep little hands busy while listening, so why not pair this activity with a nativity colouring or other art activity.

5 Dressing up

Dress up as the characters from the Christmas story and chat about why you’ve chosen each character and what you think they may have been like. What part do they play in the story? Could we leave them out and still have all the story we need? You could make tunics out of pillowcases and headdresses with tea towels and a ring of elastic.

Variation: Download props from an Etsy shop to make your own Nativity Photo Booth. Get your whole family to dress up and take a photo – perfect for Christmas cards or just some funny pictures! See more here


Q Is taking time to pause even if just for one minute each day something your family would really find helpful?

Why not try:

6 Lighting an Advent Candle

Buy one or make your own with transfers or by pressing modelling wax onto a plain candle.

Light it once a day as a moment to pause and thank God for good things. You could use my most popular FREE Christmas download: 25 different ways to be thankful.


Variation: You could use a simple prayer which you repeat slowly each day:


“Jesus, light of the world, Come into our darkness.” There are four ideas of things to think about around this prayer on this post.


7 Pray with satsumas each day

Peel a satsuma or other segmented fruit. Take it in turns to take one segment and pray for God to bless someone you know, perhaps mentioning something specific then eat the segment and pass the fruit.

8 Practice some Family thanks


This is a really simple but powerful way to affirm each other in your family by letting each other know what you’re thankful for about each other.


Invite everyone in your family to write a note to each other person in the family thanking them for something specific that they are thankful for. For example, “I’m thankful for the way you make me laugh and are always ready to share jokes.”

Fold up all the notes and put them in a jar. Choose a time of day that you will take one out and do one a day until they are all gone.

If you want to do this for Advent, you’ll need to divide the number of people in your family into 24 and print extras to ensure there are that many notes.

If you’d like some inspiration for your notes, you can download this resource which has slips of paper with thanks prompts to help you.


Q Would your family be blessed by finding ways to bless others?

Why not try:

A reverse Advent Calendar

Put aside 24 items and give them to your local food bank. Make sure you do this a week or more before Christmas to give the food bank a chance to give the food!

Find out where your local one is here


10 Make and give out clay ornament blessings


Make clay ornaments with words of blessing on to give to people as ornaments. You could write or stamp words which describe blessings which you pray God will give them, such as courage, peace, joy, strength. You could buy air dry clay or ornament clay and give one to everyone who visits or deliver something to you house. More here


11 Make and hide Jesus Rocks


Paint stones white then add a beige circle face at one end. Use Sharpies to draw eyes, nose and mouth on the face and lines to make the face look ‘wrapped’ in white cloth. Write the tag #JesusRocks on the back then hide the rock for someone to find it. You could add hay under it and a little note suggesting people either re-hide it for someone else to find or take it home and look after it.

I hope from this long list you are able to find something which works for your family, to help you make Advent meaningful and joyful! And if you didn’t, here’s a list of 50 ideas to help you!