The Busy Mom's Guide to a Super Simple Advent

As much as I love the idea of Advent and how it prepares our hearts for a truly joyous Christmas, I usually find my Advent plans never quite come together the way I'd like. If you're a mom with young kids, easy and simple Advent ideas are the only ones that are likely going to happen. Try some of these:

* Use an Advent book. I just discovered The Family Book of Advent by Carol Garborg, and so far I love it. The Family Reading Bible has a good Advent reading schedule that will work for all but the youngest kids. For young kids, Adriel Booker offers a great Advent reading plan using the superb Jesus Storybook Bible. (Worried about getting any of these books in time for December 1? You can download them to a Kindle, to your computer, or to your smartphone or tablet. You can even buy just the Advent/Christmas portions of The Family Reading Bible, if you like.)

* Don't have the money to buy an Advent book? Use a free reading plan. Thriving Family magazine (along with Adventures in Odyssey) offers a free Advent activity calendar. The Internet is also packed with Advent reading plans you can use with any Bible. Focus on the Family offers a free family reading and activity plans.

Truly, a reading plan like this is all you really need. But here are some nice - but simple - ad-ons:

* Use a chalkboard to count down the days. Kids love this.

* K is for Kernels

* Make a simple Advent calendar. Probably the easiest is to string up folded cards on string or ribbon, something like you see here. (There's no need to make the board that goes along with it - and the cards don't have to be fussy, either. In fact, I suggest enlisting the artistic talents of your children for the cards. Your job will be to write inside the cards.) Don't get fussy with the activities for each day, either. Keep it really simple! Things like "watch a Christmas movie" and "make a paper snowflake" work perfectly.

* If you're using the Jesus Storybook Bible, here's a nice Advent calendar go-with. It may be a bit too much work though. Maybe you can ask Grandma to make it for the kids.

* Check out this list of Advent projects for kids.

* And here's a list of fun activities to go along with your children's favorite Christmas books. Don't get overwhelmed by the list's length. Pick just a few projects that focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and leave it at that!

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