Holidays · Motherhood · Traditions

First Day of Advent: the Christmas Season is Here! + a DIY Acts of Kindness Manger for Kids

December is upon us! I wanted to share something I did with our three-year-old today to help us have a more Christ-centered Christmas and build a new family tradition. Scroll down for details!

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The halls are decked (I’ll share a mini Christmas home tour soon!) and the advent calendar is stuffed with a scripture study schedule and little chocolates (had to sweeten the deal for Adelina this year!).

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It’s kind of struggling to handle the chocolates, ha! Those are some teeny pockets!

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Gifts are finished or in process — I’m making my daughter a baby doll diaper bag and it is coming along sooo cute, I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it up and unpacks all the fun little items! (changing pad, fabric diapers, little minky “wipes,” baby bottles and baby food…) We got a fun surprise of having to buy a new washer and dryer last night so… Merry Christmas to the grown-ups! Ha. But still, I’m really looking forward to enjoying this season.

Speaking of which: it’s time to Light The World with acts of kindness!

For day one, we made a giving manger out of popsicle sticks and a baby Jesus out of modeling clay. Adelina’s was way cuter than mine and she actually came up with a much better concept to get the manger to stick — she’s amazing!

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You’ve probably seen this concept around: children get to put a piece of straw in the manger every time they do an act of kindness or service. On Christmas Day, they can place the baby Jesus in a manger filled with love ♥️

I first encountered this back when this company launched their gorgeous book and manger set. But back then my daughter was like two months old so it was a bit hasty ha, and then this year when I was finally close to building up the gumption to purchase it, they had sold out! So I decided to DIY it, and honestly I love how it turned out, especially because my daughter had a blast making it with me! She saw me working on something and pulled over a chair, and ended up doing much better than what I had planned. So yay for creating memories together 😉

The way to make it is pretty self-explanatory from the picture: we cut several in half to form the base, then went outwards hot-gluing the craft sticks on alternating layers (had to keep cutting the end ones a bit longer each time). The last few layers we stopped going outward.

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The little box you see to the left was my first attempt at a manger, but Adelina had a much better idea when she started layering them on top of each other — way sturdier ha! The straw is just raffia from a craft store that I cut up into decent-sized pieces, and we made the Baby Jesus out of modeling clay, it’ll dry out as we leave it out over the next few days. I’m seriously impressed at how well she made it — I threw mine out after seeing hers!

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And there you have it. I love the homemade feel, and I love that we made it together and that she made the Baby Jesus all on her own — it’s that much more special ❤

Today’s prompt is, “Freely ye have received, freely give,” so my goal for the day was to give more freely of my time and attention to these sweet children of mine. And I’m so glad for this beautiful Christmas season!

Here are some more resources:

The Giving Manger — my original inspiration
The Last Straw — children’s book
#LightTheWorld campaign and ideas
A Year of FHE made an awesome kid-specific version of the LightTheWorld calendar
The Last Straw online story to print out and read
Straw for the Manger children’s story
And here are some more ideas I’ve written about for an intentional Christmas!

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