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1.     Advent Calendars:  a way of marking the days until  Christmas, usually starting on  ecember 1.

2.     Paper Chains:  a form of an advent calendar.  Make strips of  red and green construction paper strips (about 1" x 5").  Glue strips together, linked like a chain.   You can write an activity for the child to do on each chain if you want.  Each day tear off one strip until Christmas.  You can attach the following verse to the top of the chain or you can attach it to an old Christmas Card and hang from doorknob.  Verse:

Christmas day will soon be here
and I can hardly wait;
I've made this little Christmas chain
to help me celebrate!

Each day I'll snip one loop from it
 to help me to remember.
That happy, happy Christmas day,
the 25th of December.

Please help me hang my chain up high,
I'll cut one loop each day.
And when we reach the last loop
It will be Christmas Day!

3.     Favorite Christmas Stories or Books:  put your favorite Christmas books in a basket under your tree for you and your children or grandchildren to read.

4.     Christmas Album:  a special place to keep all of your Christmas keepsake photographs so you don't have to wonder each year. "Where is the photo of the children sitting on Santa's knee?", etc.

5.     Christmas Journal:  Each year record anything about the Christmas holiday that you would like to recall in the years to come.

6.     Christmas Straw:  Collect straw and place in a big basket by the side of an empty cradle representing a manger.  On the first day of December, the family draws names.  Each week on Sunday, new names are drawn.  Each day you do  a thoughtful deed for the person whose name you have drawn without them knowing it (i.e.:  making bed, polish shoes, etc.).  Each time someone in the family does a kind or thoughtful deed, he gets to place a bit of straw in the manger.  By Christmas Eve, baby Jesus has a cradle full of straw to lay on (hopefully)!

7.     Nativities:  Instead of just putting out the nativity set, you could do it gradually as Christmas day approaches.  For example:  The first week, put down straw for the manger scene.  The  second week, put up the empty stable and arrange the animals in it.  The third week, set the figures of Mary and Joseph a short distance from the stable, moving them a bit closer each day.  The fourth week, set the shepherds away from the stable.  On Christmas Eve, move Mary and Joseph into the stable beside the manger, place the Christ Child in the manger, and bring the angel, shepherds, and Wise Men* onto the scene.

8.     Christmas Clues:  In a basket place 25 pieces of paper numbered for the days of  December (1-25). On each piece of paper is written that day's surprise or special activity to do together as a family:  Examples include:

"Today we go out to the farm and cut down our Christmas Tree!"
"Today we make our Christmas cookies!"
"Today we go shopping for Grandmother's gift!"
 *One day the paper clue may be a treasure hunt leading to a new     ornament for the tree.
"Today we take a Christmas plant to Mrs. Waters (neighbor)"
9.     Christmas Tree:  Go to a tree farm to select and cut down a Christmas Tree.....Or purchase a living Christmas tree to plant  after Christmas is over.....Or put up an artificial Christmas tree.

10.     Tree-Trimming Night:  Have the same kind of treats each year on the night you trim the tree.  (i.e.: hot cider, sugar cookies, popcorn, s'mores, clam chowder, chili and goldfish crackers, cranberry muffins and cranberry juice, or gingerbread and hot chocolate.)  Every year on this evening, you could present your child with a special ornament and had a small box with his or her name on it to keep the growing collection.   When your children are grown, they can take this box to their own family to trim their trees.
11. Homemade Ornaments:  could include cross-stitch sleighs, salt-dough stars, felt Santas and snowmen, silver balls with names spelled out in glitter, painted wooden figures and lacy paper snowflakes.    Recipe for Salt Dough Stars:

4 cups flour (not self-rising)
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups hot tap water
Mix and knead the dough until smooth.  It too sticky, add flour; if
too dry, moisten you fingers with water an knead a bit longer.
Roll and cut with cookie cutters.  With a pencil point, punch a hole for a string or tiny ribbon hanger to go through.  Bake at 350 degrees. (Tip: keep an eye on stars while baking; if air bubbles start to form, prick them with a needle).  When dough is hard, it is done.  When cool, use acrylic paints to fill in figures with color.  When the paint has dried thoroughly, use a glossy or matte acrylic spray to apply the final finish.

12.     Photo Ornaments:  Make a Christmas ornament with a current picture of each child.  Take a metal lid from an orange juice can, spray it red, green or gold, and cut the photo to fit inside the "frame."  Then poke a hole through the lid with an ice pick and string green thread through the opening.

 13.     Potpourri:  filling our homes with the scents of Christmas is a wonderful tradition.   To keep  it fresher for a few days longer, keep the mixture in the fridge, covered, overnight.  Recipe for Homemade Christmas Simmering Potpourri

Peels of 2 oranges
3 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
2 1/2 cups water
Simmer on stove.
 Also you can  simmer evergreen sprigs or citrus peel and spices.  Just keep adding water as it boils down.
14.     Family Christmas Banner:  Design and put together a simple Christmas banner to hang in your home is a good way to make a holiday memory.  Get a large piece of felt or burlap and other different-colored squares of felt for letters and symbols.  (i.e.: a lamb, manger, star, "PEACE", etc.).  Glue on to banner.

15.     Gingerbread House:  You can either make them the official way, or you can make them out of graham crackers and icing and candies.  Give each of the children a  small package of graham crackers with a tube of icing and a bag of candies.  Let them make their own houses.  You'd be surprise at their creativity.

16.     Family Christmas Newsletter:  write and send a letter telling things that would be of interest to your readers, about your family.  Could include a scripture or a  personal note from your children.  Have everyone sign the letter individually.

17.     Christmas Tapes:  This would be good for grandchildren or children.  Buy blank cassette tapes and some white file folder labels.  Decorate the corners of the labels with dr4awings or holly sprigs and write the name of the child you are giving it to, the titles of the stories it contains, and the date of the recording.  Tape readings of fun stories and poems, adding a little background music for the beginning and end.

18.     Christmas Cards:  Put them in a brightly decorated or ribbon-bedecked basket on the dinner table.  Each night as the family gathers for the evening meal, read one card aloud and pray for the family or friend who sent the holiday greeting.  You can also hang the colorful cards on cords, and make a bright, cheerful garland of them to stretch the length of the mantle, around the tree, or even across  the room.  Another way to display cards, is to tape them to a door (like a pantry door, or coat closet or basement door)

19.     Classic Christmas Movies:  Have an "un-stress night": gather the family together, get a take-out of call-in pizza, snuggle up in sleeping bags with plenty of popcorn and cider, and watch some classic Christmas movies or holiday specials on television.

20.     Neighborhood Cookie Exchange:  There are several ways of doing this.  One is to invite the neighbors over to your home.  They must bring 2 dozen cookies to trade so they can taste (cookie for cookie).  Another way is to anonymously leave a plate of cookies on someone's doorstep with the attached note that must be hung on the outside door to show that they have received already. This way you only have to do it once a  season.

 21.     Christmas Caroling Party:  Before Christmas, invite a few singles and families, including children, for a light potluck supper (or just for cheese and crackers, fruit, tiny sandwiches and chips, etc.).  With this group of mixed ages, snack, visit, play games, and then go out caroling together in the neighborhood.

22.     Act out the Nativity:  Read the Christmas Story from the Bible and have the family reenact it using simple props and costumes (sheets and towels, and robes).  Make sure to take pictures or videos to enjoy later.

23.     Christmas Lights:  put up Christmas lights outside your home.  Also go for a drive to "check out" other homes decorations.

24.     Visit the Independence Visitor Center. (This could include any Church sites that decorate with lights or local community lights)

25.     Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Family Get-Togethers:  visit Grandma's and Grandpa's house.

26.     Cookie Wreaths: instead of baking cut-out cookies separately on a cookie sheet, overlap them slightly to form a circle.  You can make wreaths from stars, Santas, or other shapes, depending on the cookie cutter you use.

27.     Paint on your Window:  if art is your thing, (or even if it's not), paint a Christmas picture on your screen door window, or front window.  Use tempera paints, they just wash off with water and a sponge or paper towels.  Make sure that your window doesn't get a lot of moisture.  This could make your picture run.

28.     Gift giving:  if funds are tight, draw names.

29.     Pajamas:  Mothers or grandmothers could make pajamas for their children to be opened on Christmas Eve to wear that night.

30.     Christmas Cookie Advent:  Have each child make 25 cookies  before December 1.  Bake with an ornament hanger in them.  Decorate.  Store in the freezer.  Mom takes one out every day and hangs it on the tree.  When the child comes home from school, they find their cookie that they made and gets to eat it.

31.     Football Decision:  One family I talked to said that if there was a Chief's Football Game on Christmas Eve Day they let the outcome decide on their  opening of presents.  If the Chief's win, they open presents on Christmas Eve.  If the Chief's lose, they open them the next day on Christmas Day.


If you wish to find the Christmas Spirit.
You must take some goodies and deliver
them to another home in your area.
You only have 48 hours, so hurry.
Post the Spirit of Christmas ghost on your door.
This will ensure that the Spirit of
Christmas will be in your home.
Copy this letter and make some more goodies.
Deliver it whenever possible within the
next 48 hours to a home that does not have
the Spirit of Christmas guarding their doorway.

(Keep on your door until Christmas!)

(There is also a friendly ghost drawn (with a little color) along with this verse for representation of the "Spirit" of Christmas.