Christmas Adventus 2011

Each year, it is our family's tradition to countdown to Christmas. 
We mark each day with a special activity and time together
as we countdown the time until Santa arrives and we celebrate Jesus birth. 
"Christmas Adventus 2011: Celebrating Allergy-Free" shares 
our family tradition of Christmas "coming".

December 25
Let's Party!
Our Christmas Wish for You

May the blessings
that only Christ can bring
fall upon your house today. 
Merry Christmas!

December 24
Feed His Servants

When you make this recipe, double or triple it so that you may share it with friends. 

Reindeer Food
1 C instant oatmeal
½ C red or green sugar
1 T edible glitter (do not use crafting glitter; it harms animals)
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss.
  2. Put the mixture in bags (cellophane, plastic or paper) and leave it for children to use Christmas Eve. has a printable poem as well as a recipe for Winter Rabbit food.  These are a nice addition if you are going to give the Reindeer food as a gift.

December 23

To make simple luminaries, you will need a small tapered candle and a paper cup.  Place a hole in the bottom of the cup.  Push the candle through the hole, wick end first, keeping enough candle below the cup to hold as a handle.  Light your candle and start singing!  CAREFUL: Do not let young children carry these.  Young children lack the patience and coordination to hold these steady and they could easily get burned.
To help your carolers, copy the words to your favorite carols into a word .doc.  Only include the verses that you are going to sing.  As a rule, 1-2 verses is enough.  Your listeners will want to hear more than one song, though.  So, plan ahead.  Also, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is a good song to end your caroling at each house.
If you need help with the words to the songs, The North Pole has a nice list of Sing-a-long Christmas Carols”.

December 22
Three Kings

Playdough is fun but how about some playdough that smells like frankincense and myrrh? Even though these smells might be familiar ones at the time of Jesus birth, there are other scents that we might associated with the Christmas season today.  How about peppermint, lemon, or tangerine scented playdough?

Can of red playdough
Can of yellow playdough
Can of orange playdough
Peppermint essential oil
Lemon essential oil
Tangerine essential oil
  1. Place the red playdough on a safe surface and shape it into a circle with a shallow well at the center.
  2. Drop a few drops of peppermint oil in the center of the well.
  3. Knead the playdough until the fragrance is incorporated throughout the playdough.
  4. Repeat this adding lemon oil to the yellow playdough and tangerine oil to the orange playdough.
  5. Play with the dough as you normally would.

December 21
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Listen to this choir sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.  Sing this song with them.  Stop and think about each verse.  What do these verses mean for you?
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God with us.’ Matthew1:23

December 20
Our Christmas Story

Each Christmas we take lots of pride in pulling out Christmas books that we’ve written in years past.  It is fun to see how we have grown and changed with time.  It is also fun to remember the fun time had while making it.
For those angels who need more inspiration, there are printable mini-books and story starters that you may use.  Here are some that I found:
Christmas Story Paper from Activity Village
Little Match Girl storybook by Activity Village

Nativity Story mini-book by Activity Village

And a fun old Walt Disney interpretation of "Twas the Night Before Christmas":

December 19
Wrap It Up!

One standing tradition in our home evolves around the gifts that we give each other. We have always exchanged homemade gifts at Christmas.  It is an awesome way to show we care by giving the gift of time and thought.  We begin by drawing names.  Once each person has a name which is not their own, we set the ground rules about how much can be spent, when we will exchange the gifts, and who may help.  In our home, we work in pairs since the little angels always need help.  But, we have also found that it is more fun when we are not working alone.

Here are some fun ideas for homemade gifts that we found on the web:

Daddy's Car Massage Shirt by The Blue Basket

Easy Shaped Soap Bars at Family Crafts

Crazy Crayons at

December 18
The Living Nativity

Although living nativities are becoming more popular each year, I know that you may not have one in your town.  For those of you who cannot go to the living nativity or for those who would like an additional activity for today, listen to the Adventures in Odyssey episode “Back to Bethlehem”. and think about what it must have really been like the night that Jesus was born.`

December 17

This year, I have made a conscious effort to teach my angel how to handle allergic foods when they are encountered.  This has included showing her nuts and peanut butter and allowing her to cook foods like cookies (NOT EAT THEM).  I realized that if I do not show my angel what these dangerous foods look like and what to do when they are encountered, she will not know how to manage them responsibly when I am not there.  So, when I found a premade, ready-to-decorate package of gingerbread men, I seized the opportunity.  This year, we decorated real gingerbread men!

When we finished decorating, we put these in a ziploc to take to the homeless shelter...and then...
Washed well!

December 16

“Ponche Navideno” is a must for any Las Posadas celebration.  Each family takes pride in their recipe for this holiday treat.  However, there are a few ingredients that may, not only be difficult to find, but also a bit risky for food allergic children.  I have avoided these in my recipe but you should be aware of them since they are part of the traditional punch:

Tejocotes:  These fruits are an essential to any Christmas punch.  However, because they are difficult to find and you may not have fed them to your allergic child, I omitted them.  It is better to omit them than to have a Christmas reaction!
Piloncillo:  This is a cone shaped brown sugar.  I substitute a brown cane sugar because it is difficult to verify their manufacturing practices.
Cana de azucar: this is sugar cane.  If you can find fresh sugar cane, it is fun to peel and cut these into sticks to put in the punch.  But, beware of prepared sugar canes.  Again, it is difficult to verify their manufacturing practices.

Earlier in the day or at the beginning of your family’s advent time, cook some safe “Ponche Navideno”.  Let the aroma fill the air and invite everyone to relax while talking about completing today’s advent.

Ponche Navideno
1 quart water
3 plums or prunes
1 pound crabapples or small apples
Zest of 1 orange
2 oranges, juiced
2 pieces of fresh sugar cane
½ C brown cane sugar
1-2 slices of peeled ginger
4 Cloves (optional)
*If you are not allergic to cinnamon, replace the ginger with 2 cinnamon sticks.
*If you do not have sugar cane, use 1/4-1/2 C cane sugar.  Add it to taste.
  1. Begin to heat the water in a pot.
  2. Cut plums into ¼” pieces and add to the pot.
  3. Slice apples crosswise to form circles.  Remove the seeds and cut the circles in half if they are too big.  Add to the pot.
  4. Zest one of the oranges then squeeze the juice out of two.  Add it all to the pot.
  5. Peel the sugar cane and cut into 1 inch sticks.
  6. Place brown sugar, ginger, and cloves.
  7. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the fruits have cooked and the punch has a nice flavor.
  8. Serve warm.
Here are some fun links that might tell you more about Las Posadas: - good song version with people at door pic - information about Las Posadas around the world good images of Las Posadas - ponche de navidad recipe
For fun listen and a good lesson, download “Grandma’s Visit” by “Adventures in Odyssey”, and enjoy a fun Las Posadas story.

December 15

Each Christmas, I imagine the wooden manger and sweet, clean animals that surround Jesus at His birth.  But, this year, it has truly been impressed upon me that Jesus was not born in a clean stall and it probably was not wooden.  There were probably smells and chills and lots of unpleasantness about the place where Jesus was born. 

Watch “Bethlehem: The True Christmas Story” to see what Jesus’ manger was probably like. 

How was it different from the manger that we made a few weeks ago?  How did the manger smell?  What did it feel like?  If you could go Bethlehem, how would you like to travel there?  Where would you like to sleep?  What an amazing God we have that He would be born into such an unclean world so that we could know Him more?!

Advent Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for coming to live in a world that is cold and dirty.  Thank you for loving us.  Help us to remember your suffering.  And, help us to have a thankful heart each time that we struggle this week.  Amen.

December 14

Some of our favorite Christmas books:

Owl Moon: this book has been published in multiple languages

O Little Town of Bethlehem board book:  A great board book for your littlest readers

Cajun Night Before Christmas: These are a twist on the traditional poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas”;  any of the Night Before Christmas series books are fun

A Christmas Carol (picture book edition): This classic Dickens Christmas story is meaningful for all ages.  This picture book form condenses it so that it is more accessible to all.

The Elf on the Shelf:  Love, love, love this tradition!  A great story from an even better company.

December 13

Our elf is a curious little one, always checking out the Christmas decorations or playing with our toys.  We frequently find her in unexpected places!  Here are just a few of the places where we have found our elf:

Spreading Love

A little time in the Word

Satisfying her sweet tooth

For those of you who want to know more about elf life, you can visit the North Pole and see what they are up to. There, you can upload your elf pictures, ask an elf a question, and more!  For those who want to know about Elf Training, you can see a video from Santa introducing you to their trainer, dentist and flight instructor.  If you register your elf, you can Load up photos and videos to your Elf Scrapbook, fill out your Elf Personality Profile, and keep your Christmas Wish List.  What fun!

We also found this fun story about Magic Elf seeds over at East Coast Mommy Blog delivered by their elf.  While our angel can’t eat these cookies, it just might be fun to plant some of these seeds and share the “bounty” with neighbors.  A great opportunity to encourage sharing!

December 12

Our story toady is about Jesus birth.  To help add meaning to our story today, we are creating a shadow puppet show.  If you do not have the salt dough nativity figures, you may cut out the cast of our Christmas story from a stiff paper.  Then, using a flashlight, shine an angel on the wall each time the angel speaks to one of the characters in the Christmas story.  Do the same with a dough or paper star when it is time to tell about the wise men.  Have fun making your shadow puppet show as simple or complex as you would like.  Enjoy!

The Angel Appears to Mary

The Angel Appears to Joseph

Jesus Birth

The Shepherds, An Angel, and the Heavenly Hosts

3 Wise Men and a Star

December 11

Use the following script
to help your children better understand "compassion":

"Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous."
Psalm 112:4, NLV

This verse tells us that godly people are compassionate.  To be compassionate means to show compassion.  But, what does "compassion" mean?
(Allow your angels to offer their ideas on the meaning of "compassion")
Compassion is when a person sees that someone has a need and wants to help them with it.

I am going to play this music video/song about compassion.  The song is called "Christmas Shoes" by a group called Newsong.  Can you tell me who is showing compassion in this song? 

(Play the song or video, "Christmas Shoes".  If you can not get the video to play or your angel needs assistance, you may read the lyrics to the song.)

How did the man in line/the singer show compassion?  How did the little boy show compassion?

All around us each day, there are people in need of compassion.  It may be a friend who is lonely or stranger who is hungry.  Every day, God gives us the chance to show compassion to others.

Please open the advent bag for today.  What is in the bag?  (grocery gift card)
Today, we are going to go grocery shopping for people in need of food.  You need to think about what kinds of groceries they might need and purchase those.  After we have made our purchases, we will take the food someplace that can distribute it to those in need.

At the beginning of the evening, I read you a Bible verse.  (Read Psalm 112:4 again)  This verse tells us that godly people are generous, compassionate and righteous.  It also says that light shines in the darkness for godly people.  God shines His light on us so that we can reflect it into a struggling world. A reflection of His generosity, compassion and righteousness. This week, let His light shine!

NOTE:  This time of the year, many grocery stores have bins where you may drop off food to be donated.  Other places that you might consider dropping off foods for donation are: Ronald McDonald House, a local food bank, churches, or a neighbor...perhaps as a secret santa.  Wherever you make your donation, please consider their needs.  Should the food have a long shelf life?  Do they only need food or do they need toothpaste/toothbrushes?  Help your angels identify the needs of others and meet it.

December 10

Each year, I like to make small gifts for friends, neighbors, and delivery people.  I usually choose something simple that I can make with my angel and which the recipient can use. This year, we are making glass ornaments filled with a hint of Christmas. We had so much fun making these because they are easy enough for your smallest angels to contribute.

1 pk clear glass (or plastic) ball ornaments for decorating (found at Michael’s)
1 bag of fake snow
2 decorative picks with berries
Pieces of artificial pine from old garland
1 piece of glittery gold card stock
1 piece of shiny yellow card stock
1” star hole punch
Very tiny round hole punch, maybe 1/8 inch
Very fine point felt tip pen
2 ft. of green embroidery thread
3 ft. of 1/4” red velvet ribbon
Wire cutters

1. Using wire cutters, cut the berries off of the picks so that there is no wire showing.
2. Again, using the wire cutters, cut the artificial pine into 1 ½ inch to 2 inch pieces.
3. Punch 6 stars out of the yellow and the gold card stock.
4. In the center of the yellow stars, write a message like Merry Christmas or the address to your favorite Bible verse (Romans 1:19-20 is a good one).
5. In the center of the gold stars, write the year and your last name.
6. Punch a small round hole in each star for hanging.
7. Remove the ornament cap from one glass ball.
8. Put 2-3 pinches of fake snow in the ball.
9. Add 2 berries and one pine sprig to the ball.
10. Close the ball.
11. Repeat steps 7-10 for all of your ornaments.
12. Cut a 3 inch piece of green embroidery thread.
13. Thread string through a yellow star then though a gold star, so that the shiny sides of both stars are facing out and the writing on each star is facing each other.
14. Loop the thread through the loop on the top of the ornament and tie a knot so that the stars hang on the side of the ornament.
15. Cut a piece of 4 inch piece of ribbon and fold it in half.
16. Push the folded side of the ribbon about ½ inch through the hanging loop on the top of the ornament.
17. Open the folded section of the ribbon to make a loop.
18. Push the ends of the ribbon through that loop and pull it tight so that the ribbon covers the ornaments metal loop.
19. Add a tree hook if you’d like and your ornament is ready to give.

Fun for the smallest angels:  Fill plastic ornaments with “snow” (for safety you may use kosher salt).  Add small crafting buttons that represent Christmas, a.e. star, snowman, tree.  Replace the Ornament cap and glue in place with hot glue. Tie a ribbon on the ornament for hanging.  Kids of all ages can shake this ornament to find the figures then hang on it the tree again.

December 9

Tonight, enjoy the Light of Christmas in the many ways that it comes to us.  Cruise your neighborhood lights displays, stroll your zoos or parks for Christmas light shows, or perhaps create your own light display in your front yard.  Whatever you choose to do, enjoy it and remember that Jesus came to light your world!

Here are some ideas for some quick and easy luminaries that you can make:  paper bag luminaries, tin can luminaries, milk jug luminaries, ice luminaries, Painted Jar luminaries, aluminum foil luminaries, or…..   Make Snow Globe Luminaries with us!

glass jars large enough to fit your electric candles
lids for your jars
electric candles, preferably remote controlled or light sensor activated
fake snow flakes or Epson salts
sprigs of pine or clippings from your fake Christmas tree
fake berries
½ yard ribbon per jar
1. Wash your glass jars inside and out, completely removing any labels and glue.
2. Dry the jars and lids.
3. Place a few sprigs of pine and some “berries” in the bottom of your jar.
4. Put about ½ C snow (for mason size jars) or 2 C snow (for gallon size jars) in the jar on top of the pine and berries.
5. Turn your electric candle to the desired "on" setting.
6. Place the candle in the jar with the top going in first.
7. Close the jar tightly.
8. Quickly invert the jar so that the candle lands on the lid in the proper upright position and the snow, pine and berries all fall around the candle.
9. Wrap the ribbon around the lid which is now the base of your luminary and tie it into a bow.
10. Place your jars outside along the path, on top of tables, or at on your gateposts to welcome people to your home.

December 8
Today, your angel found craft sticks in advent bag #8.  We are going to use these sticks to prepare a manger for Jesus birth.  Until now, our salt dough Jesus (and company) has been kept in a box.  But, now it is time to prepare for Jesus coming. 
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Matthew 24:42-44, NIV

Materials for the Manger:  shoe box, craft or popsicle sticks, glue, raffia, scissors
1. Remove the items from inside the box.
2. Open the box and place it on one side with the opening facing to the side.
3. Spread glue on one side of the box.  Begin placing sticks on the glue by lining them up as though they were logs covering a building. 
4. When you have finished the first side, do the same for the opposite side and back.
5. For the top of the box, you may use craft sticks or straw to cover the shoe box. This side will represent the manger’s roof.
6. In the bottom of the manger, glue straw. 
7. Use construction paper to make rocks or grass to decorate the inside of the box and the outside edges of the lid.
8. If the lid is detached, you may sit the shoe box on its side in the lid so that a small part of the lid sticks out in front of the shoe box.  This extra space makes a good play area for Jesus visitors.  If the lid of your box is attached, just open the box and sit it on its side with the boxes lid resting flat as though it were the ground.
9. You manger may be as simple or complex as you’d like.  Be creative.
Use this box to store your salt dough ornaments then convert it to a manger for play time.

December 7

Today’s advent focuses on giving. In my house, we have a seasonal tradition of cleaning out our toys and donating them at the local thrift shop or Good Will.  I set aside an afternoon and we go through the toys, assessing what we’ve outgrown, which ones are excess and making some hard choices about the toys that we have accumulated over the past year.  Once we have assessed what we do not need, my angel and take these items to the thrift store together.  By taking the toys to the store together, my angel(s) can clearly see where her toys are going.  I have found that my angel gets a special sense of joy, one greater than the sense of loss, when my angel can make a clear connection with where those precious toys are going and why.

We also enjoy the time of shopping for a new gift for those children.  We go to the store and we shop carefully for the toy that we will give.  Once we are home, we wrap the toy before taking it to a donation box for Toys for Tots, Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child.
To enrich this experience, unroll a large strip of brown shipping paper. Give your angels markers, crayons, stickers, stamps with stamp pads, glue with glitter, paint with brushes and any other crafting items that they might use to decorate this paper.  Allow the paper to dry, then use it to wrap the gifts that your children purchase.  Let your children help with the wrapping or even do it themselves when they are old enough.  This act of giving…. Of sacrificing something that they would probably like to have themselves should be personal and they should be allowed to participate in the entire process.
When we prepare Christmas for our loved ones, we painstakingly plan and arrange everything that we believe is important. My preparations will not be the same as yours and those of your children may not be the same as yours either. God made many preparations before He sent His Son here.  He had a plan for Jesus and He watched carefully as the plan unfolded.  God also has a plan for each of us.  But, it is always our choice whether we will choose His plan or ours.  God’s plan may not be easy to follow, it may require sacrifice, but in the end His plan always brings us greater joy.  The same is true about giving.  Take time this season to your child understand the joy that only comes when we make the difficult decision to give instead of receive.

December 6
Charlie Brown's Christmas

One of the season's silly pleasures is the evening that we watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas".  We put on the PJ's, curl up in blankets, brew up some Ginger-honey Tea and enjoy a movie.  Each of us has our favorite movie moment and enjoy the "poor Charlie Brown" discussions with the knowledge that, in today's society, Lucy would probably have already had her psychology license suspended with a police record for harrassing Charlie Brown and stalking Shroeder.  But, somehow, we all identify to these characters and enjoy each moment of this cozy, quiet time together.

Tonight, curl up with your family for a pajama party.  Watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and enjoy one of life's precious moments.

December 5
2 Letters and a Phone Call

It is time to write a letter to Santa.  Use the stationary from Advent bag #5 to write a letter telling Santa what you would like for Christmas, what you’ve done well and what you have not… honesty is always best since he knows it all anyway!  Have your angel address the envelope to:  “Santa, North Pole”, and give it to you to mail to the big guy.

While your angels are hard at work, why not have Santa give them a call. Vonage offers a free service which allows you to put in your name, phone number and email then receive a phone call from Santa.  Your angels can hear a message from the jolly old elf himself and even leave a message for him. Your angel’s message will then be sent to you via email. On Christmas Eve after 5pm, you can go back to this same website and track Santa as he makes his rounds.  You can find all of this at:
If you would like to go the extra mile, you can prepare a personal letter or email from Santa for free at Free Letters from Santa Claus.

December 4

I found a great video on the Focus on the Family You Tube site – JellyTelly Wonderblimp #1.  This video helps kids address some of the questions that often arise when we think about some of the scientific questions that arise when we think about the creation story.

December 3
To help us remember the reason we have trees at Christmas, we are going to make button Christmas trees.  Although the picture does not do them justice, my little ornaments were not as cute as some of the ones that I saw online!  In fact, my button Christmas trees look more like something from WhoVille than an actual Christmas tree.  Beautiful or not, these ornaments were super easy and fun to make!
I got this idea from the “Button Tree Ornament” post on a blog entitled Modern minerals.  I thought that threading the buttons might be too difficult for our little angel so I used pipe cleaners.  Maybe that it why my trees looked like they were from WhoVille?!

50-100 green buttons of varying sizes
5-10 chanelle pipe cleaners
15-30 tiny brown buttons
10 star buttons or small bells
Wire cutters
  1. Bend one pipe cleaner in half.
  2. About ½ inch from the fold, twist the pipe cleaners together 2 turns to create a loop.
  3. For a bell-topped tree: String a bell on one pipe cleaner and push it to the end. Twist the pipe cleaners together 2 turns to lock the bell in place.
  4. For a star-topped tree: If the star has one hole, string it like a bell. If the star has 2 or more holes, thread one pipe cleaner in two of the holes. Push the star to the end and secure it by twisting the pipe cleaners together 2 turns.
  5. To help young crafters, separate your green buttons by size. Line up the piles/bowls of buttons smallest to largest to make this easier.
  6. Beginning with the smallest green button, thread one pipe cleaner through two of the holes and push the button to the end. Continue threading green buttons of increasing size until you’ve made a cone or tree shape.
  7. Select 3 tiny brown buttons of the same size. Thread these buttons on the pipe cleaners to form a trunk. Twist the pipe cleaners tightly below the trunk to hold the ornament securely together.
  8. Using the wire cutters, clip off the extra pipe cleaner. Use the side of the wire cutters to push the twisted part flat against the brown buttons until there are no sharp wires.
Enrichment: To help your angels remember the meaning of the tree, have them give a tree to a neighbor, friend or teacher.  When your angel gives the tree ornament, have them share the story of Martin Luther.

December 2
Today we are making salt dough characters for our nativity scene, but some of you may be allergic to the wheat flour used to make this dough.  I have never tried substituting a different kind of flour for wheat flour.  If you try that; I would love to know how well it works.  However, even though your angel is allergic to wheat flour, it does not mean that you cannot do this activity. In fact, if your child plays with playdough, they have already handled flour.  At my house, I use this opportunity to teach safe handling practices such as washing our hands before/after play, not touching our face/hair/clothes during play, and wiping hands on a wet towel when needed.  I believe that allowing this supervised play with dangerous ingredients is one way that we can prepare our allergic child for the real world.  No matter how careful we are, our angels will encounter foods that they are allergic to and, in my opinion, it is better that they learn to recognize those foods and manage them under my supervision than with someone else.

Salt Dough
Salt dough is dough made from flour, salt and water.  It has been used for years to make crafts and unleavened breads.  While making the dough is quite simple, there are a few tips that make it easier.  I found a great site, , offering the history of salt dough, tips for working with it, and the following recipe:


2 cups of Plain Flour
1 cup of table salt
1 cup of water
OPTIONAL Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (makes it a little easier to knead)
1 tablespoon of wallpaper paste (gives the mixture more elasticity)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (makes the finished product harder)


Put plain flour, salt and any, or all, of the optional ingredients into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water, mixing to soft dough. This should be neither too sticky, in which case add more flour, nor too dry, in which case add more water. When mixed remove from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead for 10 minutes to help create a smooth texture. If possible it is best to let the dough stand for approximately twenty minutes before beginning a project. Unused dough can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container or cling film, for up to a week. Children always love making models, and as long as you don’t add wallpaper paste all of the ingredients are natural. So if they are tempted to put it in their mouths, all it will do is taste incredibly salty.

The drying of your work can either be done naturally in the open air, or it can be baked in an oven. However it is not recommended that you have your oven hotter than 100C (200F/Gas Mark 1/4) as this can cause unsightly bubbles and cracks in your pastry. Personally, I tend to start at 50C and after 30 minutes increase to 100C. The drying time needed for each piece varies according to size and thickness, but an average time for natural drying is 30-48 hours, whilst oven times are generally reduced to 3-4 hours. These figures are only offered as a rough guide and remember that both sides must be dried out. (See ‘A Few Tips’) When your model is dry, turn off the oven and leave it inside to cool down.

Using cookie cutters, fingers and whatever resources you can muster, form your dough into shapes to represent the “cast” of our Christmas story.  Once you have formed all of your shapes, dry your dough by one of the above recommended methods.  After the dough has cooled, you may leave them as they are or use paint to color your characters.  After the paint has dried, you may want to spray them with shellac to preserve them for years to come. 

Today’s post, “The Christmas Cast”, will give you more information on how you can use your dough characters for day 2 of “Christmas Adventus 2011”.

December 1
We always celebrate the first day of advent with the making of our Advent calendar.  This year, we will be making a Christmas garland using twine and small paper bags.  This fun craft is inexpensive, fast, and fun.
24 small, plain lunch bags (white, brown or Christmas print)
One Birthday card in its unsealed envelope
25 small wooden clothespins
3 yards twine or ribbon
2" rectangle or circular punch
1 piece of cardstock
Christmas stickers
markers or crayons
Using your hole punch, punch out 25 pieces from your card stock.  On each cut-out, write a number 1-25 with a clearly visible marker.  Place the numbered cut-outs to the side.
Using the markers or crayons and stickers, decorate your paperbags to show what Christmas means  to you.  Glue a number 1-24 to the center of each bag until you have 24 numbered bags.
Hang your twine or ribbon on a wall, between windows or on the mantle like a clothesline.  Using your tiny clothespins, hang your bags in numerical order (beginning with bag #1) along the line and continuing until all bags are evenly distributed.  Be sure to leave space at the end to hang #25!
Glue #25 to the outside of the birthday card's envelope and hang it on the tree.  Try not to let your angel's see that there is a birthday card on the inside, that will help build anticipation.  Just before Christmas, I will let you know what to do to prepare for day 25. 

Christmas Adventus Day 1:  Before gathering the family to do the December 1st, activities, I like to hang the clothesline on the window.  Next, I place all of the crafting materials in a box under the tree or another special place.  I also print or write the crafting instructions on a piece of paper and put it in the box.  Older kids can read those and practice following instructions. 
Make bag #1 and hang it on the line.  On a small piece of paper, tell your angel(s) to find the box of materials that you've placed in a special place.  For added fun, make this part a hide and seek adventure.   Place that piece of paper in bag #1 and hang it on the clothesline. When it is time for the family to share in Christmas Adventus, your angel(s) can remove the paper from bag #1 and begin.