The candy has been passed out and the costumes now lay in a crumbled pile with all of the other dress up clothing. November is now upon us which means we are entering the season of thankfulness, gratitude and turkey stuffing but it also means something even more exciting…
Advent begins in less than 30 days and NOW is the time to start planning how your family will celebrate the anxious countdown and joyful arrival of our Savior’s birth!
While I have definitely been savoring fall I have also been planning for Christmas too.
I love sharing our simple Advent plan but something I wanted to share with you today is my FAVORITE Advent devotional and resource to use with your children, Truth in the Tinsel.
This was Silas coloring his ornament a few years ago, and you can see that Amelia was also super curious too 😉
I first used Truth in the Tinsel when Silas was 2 and fell in love with it, so did my son! In fact, we have now been using it for a few years and all of my kids really love it.
I know that there are a lot of Advent countdowns and devotionals you can use with your kids, but in my opinion, Truth in the Tinsel is one of the best and let me tell you why…
6 Reasons to Love this Advent Experience
1. It’s a Complete, All-in-One Resource
The way the PDF is set up includes a daily Bible reading, a daily keyword or clue (with printable pictures to include in an Advent calendar) that corresponds with the daily reading, a craft project to create an ornament that goes along with the daily reading, color pictures, supply list, talking points, extension activities and even printable templates.
The only thing it doesn’t include is the actual daily craft supplies that you have to gather yourself but there is a master list of all supplies needed. Amanda has set up and written this book to include everything you need to make the most of your Advent devotional.
2. It’s Bible Based
There are many fun Christmas countdowns out there that are great, but rather than focus on the REAL Christmas story they include activities, service project ideas or chocolate. Not that I have anything against those (I don’t because I love all those ideas, especially the chocolate!) I really want my kids to know the true Christmas Story and be able to mediate on if for the entire month.
Each day includes a passage of Scripture that helps paint the full story. What I love is that even though there is a daily topic, you are instructed to read a real passage from your own Bible aloud to the kids so they can actually hear the Word and begin to understand the entire context. I’m a big believer in reading aloud the Bible to kids because even though it may appear to be over their heads, kids are sponges and they absorb more than we give them credit for!
Along with the daily Bible reading, each ornament is based on that particular verse or passage so not only are the kids hearing the Word, but it is coming alive for them too! Plus Amanda included daily talking points to discuss with your kids, as well as possible extension activities to complete if you wish to help build on your children’s understanding.
I love how our Christmas themed storybooks perfectly compliment each day’s craft and lesson.
3. It’s Simple
Everything you need to complete the activities (minus the actual craft supplies) is included in your PDF!
Master craft supply list? Check!
Daily supply list? Check!
How to use the book directions? Check!
Hyper-linked Bible passages in case you don’t have your Bible handy? Check!
Detailed daily instructions? Check!
Alternative schedules because December is crazy, busy? Check!
Printable templates? Check!
Truth in the Tinsel blog with additional resources and ideas? Check!
4. It Includes Color Photos of EACH Craft
I’m a visual person, so I need to see photos and Amanda includes them alright!
In fact for each day’s ornament, there are several color photos, including simple step-by-step process photos to help you understand what the ornament should look like and how to get there, which for an un-crafty person like myself, this is super handy!
Here is a page taken from my Kindle. As you can see not only are there colored photos, but there is also a daily Bible reading, a theme of the day, supply list, step-by-step directions, talking points and more activities to do together.
5. Can’t Commit to 25 Days? There are Alternative Schedules!
My oldest is in full day kindergarten, my middle is in preschool 3 mornings a week and we have plenty of grandma hours which means that some days we don’t have an extra 30 minutes or so to sit down and complete each daily activity. Well, Amanda thought of that and knew that for most families December is a busy month and probably wouldn’t be able to commit to each day.
She includes 4 alternative schedules in the back of the book to use as a guide if you are traveling, participating in several different activities or just don’t have the time for daily craft times. Each alternative schedule is designed to share an abbreviated version of the Christmas Story highlighting some important aspects including the basics and important characters.
6. Crafts Freak You Out? (Me too!) Download the Printable Color Ornaments
I’m the first to admit that craft projects stress me out. Throw in kids and… oh the mess!
Some of the ornament projects included in Truth in the Tinsel are super easy and don’t require a lot of extra supplies, while there are some that are more in-depth. To make things even more easy and simple there is a separate downloadable printable ornament booklet that you can purchase to go along with each day.
This was the route I went with last year, and to be perfectly honest will be what we use most every day this year. The craft projects are perfect for older preschool and elementary aged children, while the printable ornaments are perfect for younger kids, including my toddlers. Plus if you plan on traveling this Christmas season, all you need to pack is the printables and crayons, possibly even markers if you are brave! 🙂
Want to take the printable ornaments up a notch? I love this post on 10 Simple Ways to Have Fun with Your Printable Ornaments, so many great ideas outside of simply just coloring and cutting out the ornaments to hang on your Advent tree.
Two More Bonus Reasons
7. The Daily Clues
A few years ago I scored an Advent calendar wreath with cardboard boxes on clearance post-Christmas at Target. Each circular box is the perfect size to hold a few pieces of chocolate but I wanted our Advent calendar to be a bit more meaningful.
Included in the curriculum are printable clue cards that corresponds to each day’s devotion and craft. I printed out the small square clues and taped them inside each box. We usually do our story and craft earlier in the day but open our calendar boxes at night. The kids love telling Daddy all about the craft they made. Even better is that as the season goes on, and more clue pictures appear, they have a visual of the Christmas story hanging on display in our living room!
And in case you were wondering, I do put one Hershey Kiss for each child in the box. It’s like a kiss from Jesus I tell them as they review their story clue picture 😉
8. Ornaments to Cherish
Finally, another reason why I love Truth in the Tinsel so much is that every year you use it, you get a small box of one-of-a-kind handmade keepsake ornaments. It is fun to see the ornaments change from year to year as the kids get older and more artistic.
Someday I plan to have a whole Truth in the Tinsel Christmas tree decorated entirely with all the ornaments my kids have made over the years!
Tip: Write your child’s name and year somewhere on each ornament. Store each year’s ornaments in a keepsake photo box. You can even have the kids decorate it!
So in case you haven’t discovered yet, I really LOVE Truth in the Tinsel! And I’m a teensy bit excited to get started using it soon! This year I’ll be including Jackson as well, who is almost 2, and of course, Silas and Amelia are already excited about the Advent season. The remembers some of the activities we did last year and have already begun asking if we will do them again this year.
There is nothing more fun than as a parent taking that excitement of the season as a child has, and helping to direct it in a way where they can participate in all the fun activities as well as truly learn and mediate on the true Christmas Story as little seeds of faith are being planted in their hearts.
If you haven’t checked out Truth in the Tinsel yet, I’d love for you to consider including it as part of your Christmas traditions this year. Truth in the Tinsel is available to purchase for only $7.99!
You can also purchase the Printable Ornament booklet for $3.99 as well, making this entire Advent devotional for less than $10! And trust me, friends, it’s worth it I promise!
And to sweeten the deal even more, if you use coupon code CREATIVEHOME to save 20%!
Coupon good on the ebook only and expires 12/15/16
Have you used Truth in the Tinsel before with your kids or are you planning on using it this year?
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