Friday, November 30, 2012

Make Jesus' Manger Soft With Kindness: An Advent Activity

"I’m participating in the Spend-Less Holidays: Saving While Savoring the Season Blog Carnival, hosted by The Frugal Fil-Am and Dainty Mom. We’ll be sharing our tips on how to spend less this holiday season, so that we can have a more meaningful Christmas. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries."

Finding meaningful activities for Advent has been a special interest of mine since taking on the responsibility of educating my daughter in her preschool years. Every occasion and happenstance is a learning opportunity for us!

Advent is such a wonderful time for families to create or strengthen their traditions. And you can't have too many of them! For this year, we are again going to make our Jesse Tree, light up luminarias, unwrap one or more Christmas books a day, and finally, make Jesus' manger soft with our kind deeds!

Make Jesus' Manger Soft With Kindness: An Advent Activity
Make Jesus' manger soft!
For every good deed you do today,
lay down one straw on His manger.

My mother-in-law, when I asked her, said that she has been doing this activity for more than ten years now. The rule is simple. For every kind deed that you do for the day, you can lay down a straw on the manger. On Christmas Eve, you place the Baby Jesus in the soft manger that your family has worked for to give Him!

Children LOVE the idea of helping Jesus become more comfortable, and would thoughtfully, intentionally perform acts of kindness. This activity perfectly complements our recent focus on the virtue Kindness too!

How To Make Your Own

Making your own "Kindness Kit," as my bookshop partner Sanne Unson calls it, is easy and inexpensive. You can use your existing nativity set or make your own "stand-alone" kit. Here are some ideas to pick from.

Baby Jesus
  • Shoe or craft box
  • Cheese box
  • Small basket
  • Raffia
  • Yellow yarn
  • Twine
  • Finger puppet 
  • Clay
  • Small baby doll

Keeping Our Focus

With all the presents that we give and receive, and parties that we prepare and attend during the Christmas season, it is so very easy to spend too much and to lose our focus on who and why we are celebrating.

This simple activity is a fun exercise for even very young children to grasp the true meaning of Christmas: love, kindness, sacrifice.

As parents, it is our duty to show our children more than what the world is showing them. Taking advantage of special occasions, like Christmas, to teach and guide our children is a gift that will bear fruit in the future.

Other Spend-Less Christmas Carnival Participants

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Ditas Aldover-Chu said...

Thank you for sharing this. It will go with Truly rich Mom's tip about celebrating a birthday party for Jesus. i wanna sing the birthday song in front of the belen. in that way my little boy will know who Christmas is for. :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

We can never really have too much traditions! What a wonderful season!

May said...

This is a very nice tip! I'll definitely do this with my toddler next year (She's just 14 months now) so that she'll learn to do acts of kindness for Baby Jesus :)

Christine Cordero said...

Love your family Christmas tradition, Mariel! It's really nice to have one, teach and celebrate that tradition with your kids. Years from now, you know that they'll pass it on to their kids too.. :)

Mich Nicolas said...

This is just beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thanks Christine! I agree with you! I love making memories with my children knowing those will stay with them their whole life :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Happy to share! :)

Chris said...

What a wonderful tradition. Thanks for sharing!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

You're welcome! :) Thanks for reading! :)

Dainty_Mom said...

That's a beautiful project and an even more meaningful tradition. In our family naman, we pray the Advent prayers using the Advent wreath as our guide. We've been praying the Advent prayers since I was a kid! I'm so glad I can pass on the tradition to my child. :)

Thanks for joining the carnival! :)

Racquel Guevara said...

That is such a cute and meaningful Christmas project, Mariel!  Tactile for young kids to learn what 'soft' means...literally and figuratively  :)  Thumbs up!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thanks Racquel! Yes it's such an easy activity yet so meaningful :) 

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thank you! I want to "do" the Advent wreath too, but for now our main Advent activity is the Jesse Tree :) 

Thank you for organizing the carnival! Fun! :)

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

I haven't commented on this post pala! Haha! :) Well... you know we're both doing this tradition in our homes now. :D But the kids are sometimes "overzealous" and put in more straws than they're supposed to! Haha! :) Then, when Tim saw that our straw supply was getting too low, he put back some of the straws that were already in the "manger." Hahaha!