This listing of resources offers ideas for celebrating Advent, Christmas and Epiphany at church and in the home.
Children and the Christ in Christmas
Advent and Christmas Activities
Advent Calendars Advent Calendars are a helpful tool for counting down the days of advent as we live in hopeful anticipation of the coming the Christ Child and God’s peaceable realm.
http://crafts.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Make_Advent_Calendar_Craft This web site offers descriptions for making a variety of different Advent calendars. Some designs are very simple while others require a little more time and artistic talent.
These wreaths can be a nice focal point for worship and prayer during the season of Advent.
http://www.livingthegoodnews.com/denominations/winter/2009/pdf/SR-00-WC-09-A-Using%20the%20Advent%20Wreath%20at%20Home.pdf This one page document offers description of the Advent Wreath as well as instructions for its construction.
Chrismons™ are handmade Christmas tree ornaments with various symbols of Christianity. The name Chrismon™ comes from a combination of CHRISt and MONogram. Chrismons are an innovative way to use these ancient symbols at Christmas time.
http://www.cresourcei.org/symbols/ornaments.html - Web site offers description of symbols and cross stitch patterns for the ornament.
A Jesse Tree is a powerful symbol to help tell the story of God and God’s people, and to connect the Advent season with the faithfulness of God and the hopefulness of God’s people across history.
http://www.cresourcei.org/jesse.html - Web site offers description of the tree, instructions on how to make, description of the symbols and scripture connection.
http://www.united-church.ca/allages/children/winter/- Web site offers description of the Jesse Tree, tradition surrounding the tree as well as symbols and scripture for each day of Advent.
http://www.united-church.ca/files/allages/children/winter_event.rtf - Web site instructions for an Intergenerational Advent Events for Making Jesse Tree. Offers outline for entire event. Includes activity and worship suggestions/outline.
Create your own Nativity
http://www.aokcorral.com/projects/how2nov2007.htm Web site with instructions for creating a nativity out of graham crackers, gum drops and assorted candy.
http://www.sundayschoolkids.com/activity-christmas/1-c-3d-manger-instru.htm Templates and instructions for making a paper manger with Jesus and lamb.
http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/christmas-babyjesusnativityscenes-craftsideaskids.html Listed on this web site is several ideas, instructions and templates for making nativities.
Advent Arts and Christmas Crafts by Jeanne Heiberg
Includes step by step instructions for creating dozens of decorations and gifts for the holiday season, using simple materials. It is a perfect resource for families and Sunday schools.
Advent and Lent Activities for Children by Sheila Killey
This book provides a wide-ranging exploration of the history and traditions surrounding common (and sometimes surprising) Christian symbols of the Advent and Lenten seasons. It also contains numerous excellent suggestions for introducing these symbols into teaching and worship.
Before and After Christmas by Debbie Trafton O’Neal
A treasury of ideas and activities for celebrating the days before Christmas, and also things to do after the Christmas tree is taken down. Specific activities, including crafts, service projects, and family worship ideas, are included for each day in Advent and through the twelve days of Christmas. In addition, each day offers a Bible passage for reading together.
Big Fun Christmas Crafts and Activities by Judy Press
Geared to children ages 3 to 7 this volume contains over 200 quick and easy activities for holiday fun. Includes religious and secular craft ideas.
Creative Ideas for Advent (Vol 1, Vol 2and Vol 3) by Robert and Linda Davidson
Three volumes filled with Advent and Christmas stories, activities, crafts, poems and plays.
Family Countdown to Christmas by Debbie Trafton O’Neal
Beginning with December 1 and ending on January 6, this countdown book offers wonderful ways for families to celebrate the Christmas season. Evey colorful page is a numbered "calendar day" with facts about Christmas and Advent, crafts, recipes, and activity ideas. PLUS, there's a sheet of colorful, self-adhesive stickers that build a Christmas picture.
Learning Centers for Advent and Lent by Doris Murphy
A delightful and information book filled with ideas for celebrating Advent and Christmas.
Live the Story by Cheryl Perry
A Collection of plays and vignettes that could be used in various settings throughout Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Also includes plays, etc. for Lent and Easter.
Seasons of Faith
The flow of the Christian year helps emphasize different and important parts of our lives as Christians. This book contains information, crafts, and activities that will enhance every holiday of the Christian Year.
Simplify and Celebrate by Alternatives for Simple Living
This book is a resource filled with useful ideas you can use to reclaim the joy and peace of the Christmas season.
The Best Christmas Crafts Ever by Kathy Ross
Contains a premier collection of the cleverest and most useful of Christmas projects. All 82 projects are easy to make and inexpensive , since most of the materials can be found around the house.
Twas the Month Before Christmas by Martha H. King
This coloring and activity book helps children and their families, as well as church school teachers and their students, understand and celebrate Advent and Christmas more fully.
Adult Study Resources
www.thethoughtfulchristian.com - Web site offers three very affordable and downloadable Advent Adult study guides.
An Adult Christ at Christmas by Raymond Brown
Essays on the three biblical Christmas Stories found in Matthew 2 and Luke 2. Could be used as an adult study for the Advent/Christmas season or as sermon preparation material.
A Coming of Christ at Advent by Raymond Brown
Essays on the Gospel narratives preparing for the birth of Jesus – Matthew 1 and Luke 1. Could be used as an adult study for the Advent/Christmas season or as sermon preparation material.
Advent/Christmas Worship Resource:
Candlelighting http://www.ucc.org/worship/worship-ways/archive-for-advent-and.html an Web site from the United Church of Christ contains litanies for Advent candle lighting during the four Sundays of Advent and on Christmas Eve.
http://www.textweek.com/advent.htm A variety of Advent resources for many facets of church life including, worship, study, Sunday school, etc.
Advent Candle litanies for use with children -
Christmas Eve Order of Worship - http://www.ucc.org/worship/worship-ways/pdfs/multicultural-christmas-eve.pdf - Web site from the UCC offers complete order of worship for a multi-cultural, multi-generational Christmas Eve Service.
Worship for All Ages by Ian Macdonald and Marilyn Perry
This book contains a variety of resources, liturgies, prayers, dramatic presentations and pageant ideas for the entire church year. If you are looking for ways to integrate children into worship throughout the year, this book is for you.
DVD-60, Advent Conspiracy. Join the growing groundswell of Christ-followers who are choosing to make Christmas what it should be - a joyous celebration of Jesus' birth, not a retail circus. In four compelling sessions, Advent Conspiracy invites individuals, families, groups and Entire churches to substitute compassion for consumerism, by practicing four simple but powerful countercultural concepts. 4 sessions. 55 mins. Date Published: 2009.
DVD-76, A Fruitcake Christmas. It’s Christmas in the garden and Hermie and his friends are hustling and bustling to prepare for the big day. But more than anything they all eagerly anticipate the crowning moment of the holiday season: the arrival of Grannypillar’s scrumptious fruitcake. Suddenly Christmas is hijacked when Iggy and Ziggy Cockroach - the greediest bugs in the garden - steal Grannypillar’s fruitcake. How will Christmas survive? But deep in the hearts of the youngest of hearts, the true meaning of Christmas shines through. Hailey and Bailey, through an act of unheard of generosity, together remind the garden that the celebration of Christmas is nothing about fruitcake, but about God’s gift to us. 60 mins. Date Published: 2005.
DVD-78, Advent Calendar on DVD. This DVD contains 25 mini-documentaries (3-4 mins long) that take viewers on an entertaining yet informative journey through the Advent season. Where such Christmas features as the wreath, mistletoe, candy canes, Christmas trees, gift giving and the 12 day of Christmas all come from are shared. Find out the stories of many beloved Christmas traditions. 100 mins. Date Published: 2007.
DVD-34, Countering Pharaoh’s Production-Consumption Society Today with Walter Brueggemann. A study which can be conducted in four or five one hour sessions. Includes all study material on CD-ROM. Biblical scholar Walter Brueggeman challenges the viewers to look at the Pharoahic production-consumption society in which we live and ways in which we can counter it. Brueggeman asserts the most important of the 10 commandments is the honor the Sabbath and that as Christians we are called to be hospitable, generous, non-vengeful, keep the Sabbath and not covet. Good series for an Advent or Lent. 240 mins. Date Published: 2006.
DVD-79, Nativity: The Art and Spirit of the Crèche. After the cross, the Nativity scene is Christianity's most recognized symbol. Its history, are and spirituality have been embraced by cultures around the world for nearly tow thousand years. This program unites theologians and collectors with and astonishing and beautiful array of nativity scenes collected from across the globe. 30 mins. Date Published: 2007.
DVD-140, First Christmas, The. A lovely clay-mation retelling of the nativity story interspersed with Christmas carols, as Joseph and Mary make a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. DVD also includes “The Chimes,” a retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story and “The Christmas Gift”, a version of a popular Peter, Paul and Mary ballad, “Christmas Dinner.” 23, 23 and 9 mins. Date Published: 2005.
DVD-77, King is Born, The. A very traditional (in word and image) telling of the birth of Jesus. 45 mins. Date Published: 2005.
DVD-30, Martin and the Heavenly Tree. Children of all ages will love the tale of the origin of the Christmas tree. 23 mins. Date Published: 2005.
8902 vs 0962, The Savior is Born. Follow Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem and celebrate the birth of Jesus. The video includes lovely musical score and Morgan Freeman as the narrator. 28 mins. Date Published: 2005.
DVD-82, Star of Christmas, The. It’s 1880’s London, and Cavis Appythart and Millward Phelps are putting the finishing touches on their first Christmas musical, “The Princess and the Plumber.” Filled with spectacle and more electric lights than London has ever seen, Cavis is conviced his impressive show will “teach London to Love.” Unfortunately, a church Christmas pageant staged by little Edmund Gilbert is opening the same night. Just how far will Cavis go to make sure his who goes on. 45 mins. Date Published: 2002.
Celebrating Epiphany with Children
Consider hosting a Three Kings Party during church school, the coffee hour or after church.
• clothes pin kings: http://www.ehow.com/how_2172009_clothespin-doll.html,
• camel puppets or a camel craft: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/camelscraftsideasactivitieskids.html
• kings treasure chest: http://www.reading-with-kids.com/treasure-hunt.html
Go on a scavenger hunt in the church searching for stars. End up in the sanctuary under a large paper star where you can read an Epiphany tale.
Read a story about Epiphany.
• Three Wise Women by Mary Hoffman
This variation of the Bible story describes how three women from different parts of the world travel to see the baby Jesus. Each of them is unsure why she feels compelled to follow the bright star, or even how she made the journey, but they all end up in a stable looking upon the sleeping infant. Each woman is moved to offer a gift-one gives a loaf of bread, one gives a story, and one gives a kiss from her young son whom she has carried with her. Readers are told that Jesus never forgot their gifts: he showed the world the joy of sharing fresh baked bread, he told wonderful stories, and he taught that the greatest gift is love.
• The Last Straw by Frederick Thury
Follow the adventures and misadventures of Hoshmakaka the camel as he reluctantly journeys to Bethlehem to deliver gifts to the new baby king.
• The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola
This is a delightful reading of the favorite Italian Christmas story about an eccentric old woman and her never-ending search for the Baby King.
Eat a Kings Cake or Kings Cupcakes.
• Place three beans, jelly beans or small items in the cake (watch for choking hazard).
• The three who find the items are the kings/queens/magi for the day.
• Each will receive a paper crown to wear.
http://catholicicing.blogspot.com/2010/01/3-kings-epiphany-crafts.html Craft ideas for Epiphany.
http://www.worship.ca/docs/l_chalk.html This site includes prayer, activity and liturgy for “chalking the door (blessing the home).”
Epiphany Worship Resources
http://www.ucc.org/worship/worship-ways/achive-epiphany-and-the.html Epiphany worship resources from the United Church of Christ.
http://www.textweek.com/epiphany.htm This site includes a variety of Epiphany resources.