Friday, November 14, 2008

Fun countdown to Christmas - an Advent calendar

The Advent season is drawing near, so I want to share something nice you can do for your kids - an Advent calendar.

An Advent calendar is a calendar which counts down to Christmas from 1 December. If you see the one in stores, it normally has 24 windows taped shut. Each day starting 1 December, you open one window, the last one you open on Christmas eve. Behind each window is an image of either the Nativity story or something related to Christmas. Some others have a piece of chocolate or candy behind each window.

I came across this idea of making an Advent calendar when I saw it in a kids' activity book. Lesley-Anne was in p1 then. I thought it would be a great way to build up the excitement, as well as make the wait for Christmas more bearable (kids always feel that Christmas will never come!) But I didn't like the thought of just putting pictures or candy behind the windows - what's so interesting about that?

So Lesley-Anne and I made an Advent calendar with 24 pockets - she decorated the pockets with stickers (right pic, it's very beat up I know, it's 4 years old!) I created 24 little rhymes - each night when she was sleeping, I would creep into her bedroom and slip one into the appropriate pocket for her to find in the morning. (Andre was only 4 then, so the Advent calendar was primarily for her.)

It gave her something to look forward to everyday - each rhyme described a word, and she had to solve it. When she had finished opening all 24 rhymes, the starting letter of each word in that order would form a sentence related to Christmas.

Here's the first one I did for Lesley-Anne. She was only 7 then, so the rhymes are pretty simple. I'm happy to share this and you're welcome to copy the rhymes if you like (but of course change the ones that don't apply to you!) The part in purple is the answer to the rhyme, so when you print out the rhyme, don't print that part. The final sentence spells out "Christmas means love and joy".

1. C is for Candy Cane

Red and white
Sticky and sweet
Plenty at Christmas
What a treat!

2. H is for Hope

A toy, a book, a bike
All children are alike
Hope for presents galore
What do you hope for?

3. R is for Reindeer

Dashing in the night
With Rudolf’s nose so bright
Delivering lots of toys
For all little girls and boys

4. I is for Ice

The Eskimos build igloos
Made completely out of ice
They’re freezing all year round
Which isn’t very nice

5. S is for Story

We tell this every night
Of three bears and three pigs
Why not have some new ones
For 2005 and 6?

6. T is for Tree

Tall and majestic
Green or white
Pretty and dressed up
In tinsel and light

7. M is for Mummy

She’s not very good at sports
She really can’t cook too
She is a terrible driver
But she’s great at loving you!

8. A is for Advent

A calendar like this one
Makes December really fun
Starting out each day
In a very special way

9. S is for Snow

Something in Singapore
We have not got
I wish it’ll snow some
Then it wouldn’t be so hot!

10. M is for Manger

Born in one
God’s only Son
On a bed of hay
Little Jesus lay

11. E is for Eternity

It’s a really long time
It means forever and ever
Sometimes it seems like
Christmas comes never!

12. A is for Angel

They live up high in heaven
Watching us from above
Sent to us by God
To show us care and love

13. N is for Noah

When the flood came
Everyone ran helter skelter
Except his family and animals
Who had the perfect shelter

14. S is for Stocking

It’s what Santa uses
To stuff his presents in
But since it’s very narrow
You may only get a pin!

15. L is for Lesley-Anne

Pretty, smart and sweet
An example to the rest
God made you with love
You are truly blessed

16. O is for Obey

Do what God asks
Do what your parents ask
With respect and love
No matter the task

17. V is for Vacation

Six weeks you’ve had
They’ve flown by very fast
But indeed I truly hope
Your holiday was a blast!

18. E is for Evangelise

Learn a new word today
It’s really good for you
It means tell others about God
Which is a great thing to do

19. A is for Andre

I know you don’t like
A pesky little brother
But later on in life
You’ll want no other

20. N is for New Year

In a few days more
It’s goodbye to 2004
I hope you had your fun
And enjoyed Primary 1

21. D is for Daddy

Sometimes he’s smiley
Sometimes he’s not
But whether he is or isn’t
He sure loves you a lot

22. J is for Jesus

Born in a manger
Though he knew the danger
He is the reason
We celebrate this season

23. O is for Overeat

The danger of Christmas
Is everything looks so yummy
First we stuff the turkey
Then we stuff our tummy!

24. Y is for You

Someone special
Someone unique
Tomorrow is Christmas
Let’s get to bed quick!


eunice said...

I love your rhymes!! I esp like the one about mummy. Is there anything you can't do? Write, rhyme, coach children on top of being a scrabble queen......what else can you do?????

monlim said...

Haha, I only like creative stuff lah... as the rhyme says, I can't cook, I'm bad at sports and I'm a terrible driver!

Lilian said...

I'm at a loss for words! I think I'll copy this, the boys will be thrilled. Knowing Sean, he'll probably open up all the flaps after a few days :)

monlim said...

Lilian: that's why you have to put in only one rhyme everyday - kids cannot wait lah, if you put all in at a go, they will open everything :)

Lilian said...

OIC, forgot about that part of the instruction! My excuse, I was too engrossed with your lovely rhymes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great idea! I will make this over the next 2 weekends.


monlim said...

Hey Chris! Welcome back! Hope you had a great trip. Also, have fun making the calendar!

Alcovelet said...

Gasp, Monica, this is amazing. Like did you even have to think too hard to come up with these? The rhymes are short and very catchy. I hope you don't mind, I'm gonna copy wholesale!!

monlim said...

Ad: Happy to spread the joy! This one wasn't too difficult as it was the first one. I did another the following year and that was tougher cos I had to think up new stuff. The next 2 years I just didn't bother. But I'm glad to say I have one more this year! Although since I've exhausted the Christmas theme (and Lesley-Anne is now much harder to crack!), many of the rhymes are now riddles and totally non-Christmas related, although the final sentence still is.

Actually, it isn't as hard as it seems - try it sometime, it's very fun!

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