The busy Christmas season is now upon us and Advent starts tomorrow! Now we can either loathe this season because of unrealistic expectations, the demands of parties and the purchasing of presents, the financial and marital pressures, etc. or we can get ready for it by focusing on Christ. I’d recommend you choosing the latter so you can actually enjoy the HOPE THAT HAS COME! 🙂
Today I’m sharing with you a few tools that can help you see Christ during His season.
I was recently asked by Carey, who blogs at Christian Home and Family to share several of my favorite Christ-centered Christmas traditions for his upcoming podcast on December 12th (you’ll want to listen in) 🙂 and I thought I’d share one of my favorites here with you as well.
This activity is an excerpt from my book, How to Strengthen Your Child’s Faith at Christmas.
Graham crackers (I have found the Honey Maid brand to be the most sturdiest. The off-brands tend to break more easily.)
White frosting (I’ve always used store bought, however, I’ve heard that homemade Royal icing makes a great glue.)
Coconut mixed with yellow food coloring
Food coloring markers to make faces for the people
Reese’s peanut butter cup or some other edible goody for the manger
I used large marshmallows for Mary and Joseph and the smaller ones for baby Jesus. During those early years, we did not have dirt added to the ground, although the dirt is really easy to do and the toddlers would love it! Nor did we have angels, sheep and donkeys added to the mix.
As my kids have gotten older, we’ve become much more creative and tried different types of goodies to embellish our edible nativity.
Depending on the age and ability of your children, feel free to experiment with some of their or your 🙂 favorite type of candy!
If you’ve gotten gluten-free eaters in your home…no worries! We’ve had that obstacle as well, so we made our stables out of freshly made rice crispy treats. Just fashion the walls and roof of the stable with this gluten-free alternative following the instructions below. Also, make sure all other ingredients are gluten-free.
To assemble the stable:
(If making the smaller stable, just use half of a graham cracker for each side, the back, and the roof of the stable. See picture for example.)
Place a glob of frosting on the plate where you’ll stand each end of the side wall graham crackers. This will hold the stable in place so don’t neglect this step!
Use one full graham cracker for each side of the stable.
Add frosting to their sides so you can attach the back of the stable wall to them.
Take one graham cracker and lay it against the side walls. Add frosting to it’s sides as well as to the top of the cracker. Stack another graham cracker on top. Make sure you use plenty of frosting because this is the glue that holds all the crackers in place.
Your last piece of the stable is the roof. Use one full piece of graham cracker for the large stable or half of one for the smaller version. Just set it on top and now you’ve got yourself a stable!
Mary and Joseph:
Use two large marshmallows and a pretzel stick to make their body and head. Use food coloring pens to make their face. Or you can use 3 gum drops on top of each other. Use a toothpick to hold them in place. To add hair, use coconut mixed with chocolate syrup. Place a dab of frosting on the gum drop and then add the hair so it’ll remain in place.
Use two small marshmallows and poke them with a pretzel to hold in place. Use the food-coloring pens to make his face. If you’d like to wrap him in a blanket, you can cover him in frosting and place coconut around him.
Straw: place coconut in a baggie for each child. Then squirt a few drops of yellow food-coloring into the bag. Zip it up and have the child shake up the bag. (They love this!) Have them keep mixing and let them know they’re making straw for Baby Jesus to lay in.
Use a small chocolate square, a Reese’s peanut butter cup, a chocolate swoop, etc. Anything edible that you can find that would hold baby Jesus.
Take 2 broken graham crackers and place in baggie. Zip it up real good and have your child smash up the crackers until it resembles dirt. Place the dirt on the plate before you add the people/animals.
Sheep: Take a large marshmallow and role it in frosting and then uncolored coconut. Add some legs (pretzels) and a head (either a small marshmallow or gum drop) and you’ve got yourself a sheep.
Donkey: Break one Kit Kat stick in half and place it on top of the other. Mix coconut with chocolate syrup to create the donkey’s fur, then cover the Kit Kat with this. With a toothpick, attach a Rolo to the top of the Kit Kat to make the donkey’s face. When you’re done, you’ve got a laying down donkey that carried Mary into Bethlehem!
Angel: Take two large marshmallows and poke through a pretzel to hold them together. To add wings, use pretzels dipped in frosting to attach them on the back of the marshmallow. For a halo, put a dab of frosting on the top and sprinkle it with yellow coconut. Add pretzel sticks for the arms and legs.
Don’t forget to take a picture before the kiddos eat up their masterpiece!
If you’d like to know about other Christ-centered activities and traditions that I have done with my children over the years, you can find them in my ebook, How to Strengthen Your Child’s Faith at Christmas! 🙂
More Advent and Christ-Centered Resources for You…
Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Advent Devotional for the whole family.
A Biblical Marriage has just put together a 25 Days to Christmas: Family Oriented Ways to Focus on Christ ebook.
John Piper has made available an Advent ebook titled, Good News of Great Joy. This ebook is deep and meaty designed for an adult (or possibly teens.)
Good Morning Girls has an Advent ebook and study called, Keeping Our Hearts Focused on Jesus. You can get the advent book for free when you subscribe to their site and you can either join them online in their study or just do it on your own.
All of these resources discuss the true meaning of Christmas and they’re designed to help you and your family draw closer to the Child who brings us hope.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
O come let us adore Him!
Now it’s your turn! What types of activities and traditions do you do in your home that are Christ-centered? Please share in the comments below.