An advent calendar with gifts of time and experiences is the result of a request from one of author Christie Gardiner's children at a time when she struggled to figure out how to fill the 25 pockets in their stocking advent calendar without it becoming just one more thing to do during the busy season.
In “Our Family Christmas: Creating Meaningful and Memorable Christ-Centered Traditions,” she shares 25 stories, thoughts and lessons, each with a recipe, song and ideas for meaningful activities that are an hour, 20 minutes or five minutes and are based on a daily theme.
“This is not a book about spending hours putting together complicated activities or recipes using cocoa harvested from Christmas cocoa beans from the Holy Land,” she writes in the introduction. “'Our Family Christmas' is an invitation to draw ourselves and our families closer to the Savior by taking a few minutes a day to celebrate, have fun and connect.”
The stories include personal experiences and those from general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and activities range from cutting snowflakes and creating luminaries to distributing neighbor gifts and finding things around the house to donate to charity.
While there is some preparation needed for the activities and recipes, each day’s events are customizable to be a short devotional or a longer lesson and activity.
Each day, there is a question and a journal spot to record the answer, with additional spots for coming years or others to share their experiences.
“Our Family Christmas” does target families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with activities such as watching the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, referring to videos and resources on lds.org, and reading scriptures from the Book of Mormon and quotes from LDS general authorities, but many of the lessons and activities can apply any family trying to bring the Spirit into their Christmas festivities.
“Our Family Christmas” is a wonderful resource for those looking for ideas to enhance their spirituality during the holidays.
Gardiner is also the author of "You are the Mother Your Children Need."