by Elizabeth Stewart and the Children’s Leaders’ Team

Did you know the celebration of Christmas lasts from December 25th to January 5th?  Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, and during the Twelve Days of Christmas our waiting and hoping is fulfilled as we celebrate the birth of Christ. Those of us who observe Advent have even more reason to celebrate for the whole season of Christmas.

The Children’s Leaders’ Team has forty ideas (a good biblical number) to get you started on thinking about how you could celebrate Christmas after December 25th. Please add to our list in the comments below!

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1. Put the cards and letters you have received in a basket. Take one out at mealtimes and pray for that person or family.

2. Replace the candles in your Advent Wreath with red ones.

3. Organize an outing with another family, friends, or neighbors to Feed My Starving Children.

4. Make thank-you cards together as a family or with friends. Potato prints are fun.

5. Draw names for Christmas gifts for next year and put the emphasis on creativity.

6. Invite godparents over and recount  baptism stories.

7. Make up your own version of the 12 Days of Christmas song.

8. Sing those Christmas Carols you were waiting to get to all Advent.

9. Write to your sponsored children. Don’t have one? Go to compassion.org and change a child’s life story.

10. December 26 is the Feast of St. Stephen. Donate clothes or serve at a soup kitchen.

11. Go to the library and get books about stars, Epiphany, Wise Men.

12. Talk about a different gift that Christ brings every evening for 12 days.

13. Spread out the gift opening by having each person leave one or two of their gifts under the tree. Each day, one person in the family gets to open a gift.

14. Have a treasure hunt.

15. Have a treasure hunt every night.

16. Learn a new hymn together.

17. Wear festive hats for dinner each night.

18. Plan a 12th Night Party and invite some friends over.

19. Have a House Blessing on December 31.  Pair up with another person or family and help to bless each other’s homes.

20. Invite a person or family over from the church that you don’t know.

21. Write and put on an Epiphany Play.

22. Make a poster or a banner with 12 numbered squares.  Decorate it and plan out the things you will do during the 12 Days of Christmas.

23. Have people over to your home. Think about how we can recognize and welcome the presence of Christ in others.

24. Have a technology-free family evening (or two or three) – play a game, read a story out loud.

25. Make a Christmas mobile by drawing and cutting out characters from the Christmas story and hanging them on strings from a stick.

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26. Take time to make festive foods as a family or with friends.

27. Let everyone in the family be in charge of choosing the menus for a day.

28. On New Years Eve, share blessings and memories from 2013.

29. Find out the meaning of your name and tell the story of why it was chosen.

30. Think about the meaning the Names of Christ have – a different one each day: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Savior, Lord, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Good Shepherd, Alpha and Omega.

31. Make a bird feeder or decorate a bush or tree in your yard with cranberries, popcorn, and peanuts for the birds.

32. Write down a prayer or a hope you have for the New Year. Put them in a special box, and pray for those things.

33. Think about a gift you would like to give to Jesus.

34. Go Christmas Caroling

35. Reach out to an estranged family member or friend.

36. Help children pick a toy each day to give away to someone in need.

37. Move the Wise Men from your nativity scene to a different place in the house each day as they go in search of Jesus (and arrive at the nativity on Epiphany).

38. Write a Christmas blessing of your own for your family or a friend. Pray it for them every day.

39. Choose one friend or a person in your family to give a small gift to every day for 12 days.

40. Start a list of reasons why you are grateful that Christ came. Add something to it each day for 12 days.