Monday, November 26, 2012

Advent Stocking Tree

Counting down to Christmas Day is a holiday tradition for many families, including mine! Below is the perfect family craft to hold your countdown treasures!

Advent Stockings

Many of you have seen our countdown wall lovingly called Our Forever Tree. I create something to hang on our tree every month, and in December we have 25 stockings! Each one is numbered and filled with a candy cane treat and a mini village piece. Each day in December, a child will have a turn opening a stocking then adding to our Christmas village.  But on Dec 25th, they will open the last stocking to find Baby Jesus to lay in the manger scene!

Each stocking will also hold an activity to do. See list at the bottom of this post! (Thanks Jamie for the inspiration) You could also add Jesse Tree items to each stocking, or the bible verses for it.

Advent Stockings

To Make the Stockings You Will Need:
Colored & White Felt
Stocking Pattern
Tacky Glue
Sewing Machine (or use glue)
Fabric Paint
Safety Pins (25 med. sized)

Stocking to Trace
Advent StockingsAdvent Stockings
1. Cut 25 stockings from colored felt. Cut another 25 from white or matching color. My 25th stocking I used multi colors, and added a felt Star of Bethlehem. *If you plan to embroider numbers or images, do it now.
Advent Stockings
2. Stich or glue together. Trim close to stitched line (no need to turn inside out).
3. Cut rectangles and glue on top edge of stockings.
4. On backside add safety pin to back layer, with loop on top to hang from hook or string through.
5. *Use fabric paint to add numbers. You could also use stickers, but paint will last best year after year.
6. Hang from a Forever Tree of your own, add magnets for the fridge, or string them up on the fireplace!

Things to add to the stockings:
Mini Candy Canes fit perfectly in each stocking.
Advent Stockings

On Dec 6th, Feast of St. Nicholas, I added mini Santa chocolates, with one peeking out the top!

Advent StockingsAdvent Stockings
I found these villages and miniatures at the Dollar Tree!



*JESSE TREE workbook by Sanctus Simplicitus
*JESSE TREE no-sew felt pattern by Shower of Roses
*JESSE TEA PARTY at The Michalek Kitchen

  1. Read the Bible Story about The Annunciation. Begin Jesse Tree activities.
  2. Light the 1st Advent candle. Pray for another family. Mail Christmas Cards.
  3. Write a letter to Saint Nicholas, and mail it!
  4. Find items in your cupboards to donate to the food shelf.
  5. Hang up your stockings, St. Nicholas is coming tonight!
  6. Dec 6: St. Nicholas Day - Open stockings & celebrate with chocolate and oranges!
  7. Practice songs to go Caroling!
  8. Dec 8: Solemnity of Immaculate Conception Mass- Bake Gingerbread Cookies & more
  9. Light the 2nd Advent Candle. Put up the Christmas Tree!
  10. Festival of Lights: Light the Christmas Tree! Talk about Jewish and other holiday traditions.
  11. Donate “extra” toys and books to a charity, or new ones to Toys for Tots.
  12. Dec 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Let's do Mexican food!
  13. Set up play tent with Christmas lights!
  14. Make a new ornament or a snowflake craft. Talk about being unique.
  15. Bake more Christmas cookies and treats!
  16. Light the 3rd Advent Candle. Feast of St Lucy! Make a St. Lucia Peg Doll
  17. Fill mini stockings and go caroling at great-grandparents/nursing home.
  18. Have a family movie night with popcorn! (Could string some for the tree)
  19. Wrap presents!
  20. Have a hot cocoa tea party with cookies! or Jesse Tea Party.
  21. Sing and dance to Christmas music!
  22. Walk/Drive around to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood.
  23. Light the 4th Advent Candle. Pray the Joyful Mysteries (for homeschoolers)
  24. Family Christmas Celebration. Bake a cake for Jesus’ Birthday tomorrow!
  25. Happy Birthday Jesus! Christmas Day Mass & Family Celebration.
12 Days of Christmas Activities:

Friday, November 16, 2012

November Display of Thanks

  Our Forever Tree is a place on our living room wall where we hang reminders of our faith each month. You might try our idea of a tree wall decal with wall hooks in the branches. Or perhaps you have a magnet board or other space reserved for countdowns and displays.

  This summer, our tree blossomed with family activities. In September, we hung fruits on the tree - The Fruits of the Spirit. In October we hung pumpkins with facts about Saints. This November, we want to cover our tree with positive reminders of all our blessings. Thanksgiving is just a week away.


Thanksgiving Tree

We started by adding turkey's to the landscape!

- Using foam sheets, trace and cut out each family member's hand. From another color, cut out a peanut shape or an odd-shaped "S" for the turkey head. Add googly eyes and a beak!

- We also hung decorative acorns from the tree.


Then we're writing what we are thankful for on cutouts of leaves on paper.

-If you don't have die cuts or a good freehand for leaves, look online for images of leaf shapes to make a template to trace and cut.


Another great idea a mom shared with me…

  Have a journal, and each year have your guests write what they are thankful for in it. It's fun to look back on over the years.


2011 Teaching Children About Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Giving Our Christmas Away


National Collection Week Nov 12-19th!

Our family is giving our Christmas away! We've done this in years past, and wanted to share how we are doing it this year. This week is a huge opportunity for you to pack a shoe box, bring a smile to a child somewhere across the world, and bring them the message that Jesus is the greatest gift! Consider spending some or all of your gift money towards gifts for a needy child or family. Whether you support Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan's Purse) or take a name of your church's giving tree - just make the effort to GIVE this year! The blessings to a giving heart bring more joy than any present under your tree.



Veggie Tales pack a shoe box:

Kids Can Make A Difference video


How to pack a box: Click Here

Operation Christmas Child 

We found many items at the Dollar Tree/Target $1/Walmart $1, including crafting items, toothbrushes and toothpaste, toys, hair accessories, candy, sunglasses and more. I wrapped toy animals in mini fleece blankets for something to cuddle. They'd also like socks, hats, sandals, etc. The OCC website has many ideas, but just consider a child and what would be fun to get if you'd never opened a Christmas gift before and had so little!?



Use "All About Me" coloring pages to include in the box, or a personal letter and photo. Our children had a wonderful time filling out this sheet. We also included a Christmas Card and Family Photo.

OCC About Me LetterOCC About Me Letter


Don't forget the Label & Rubber Band!



Drop off boxes at a local drop off center. Locations listed on the website. All boxes will be inspected.


"Give this Christmas Away" Music Video


For children participating, this is an excellent reward for their efforts…


For certificate and other printables click here.


Please comment on how you are giving this Christmas!


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