Advent Calendars and Nativity Sets

How many days until Christmas? We like to use Advent Calendars to help our young children get a sense of the passage of time. They also help to build anticipation for our nightly devotions. The chocolate advent calendar certainly helps build excitement. The kids come to us pleading to start devotions every night!

Advent Calendars

Chocolate Advent calendars can be bought very inexpensively online from Bronners.  I’ve bought them at Walgreens and Big Lots in the past, but it is hit or miss.

My favorite Advent Calendar is actually a set of tiny board books which tell the Christmas story. The Story of Christmas Advent Calendar opens up to reveal 25 little board books, one for each day until Christmas.

We’ve had this set for 10 years. Every day in December we read one little board book and hang it on a small, tabletop tree.

My young children love taking this little tree down off the shelf several times during the season so they can look at all the little board books.

You can also make your own advent calendar. To make a simple chocolate advent calendar, draw a chart on cardboard or posterboard with one square for each day of Advent, December 1-25. You can make a large board for all the children in your family or each child can make their own. Using a hot glue gun (parents need to do this part!) attach a wrapped chocolate in each square of the calendar.

Some advent calendars have a colorful window that opens to reveal a Bible verse. If you are creative and crafty, you could make a calendar like that out of old Christmas cards. Cut windows into old Christmas cards, being careful to leave one side uncut so that the window can be closed. Glue the cards onto a piece of posterboard, leaving the windows unglued. Write a Bible verse behind each window and number the windows 1 to 25 with a black sharpie. If you do this activity, send me a picture and I’ll post it!

Nativity Sets

Our children love playing with nativity sets during the Christmas season. I keep each set in a little bin or manger and set them near the fireplace during the season. The kids can get them out and set them up any time. The little ones especially enjoy playing quietly with the sets during our evening devotions.

We’ve had the Playmobil nativity set for many years. It is very detailed, with 59 pieces.

The Fisher Price Little People nativity set makes a nice toddler’s first nativity set. One of these sets might make a nice Christmas present. Often sets like these can be purchased on sale after Christmas is over.

A quick search online showed there are many options. I even found a magnetic nativity set for the refrigerator.


  1. We have several nativity sets I pull down around this time of year. Some people collect Santas. I collect nativities, and mostly ones the children can handle. I love to watch them act it out. It’s amazing what they know about the story even when they’re wee little ones.