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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Advent Angels

In the first church where I worked they did something called Advent angels. I don't think they came up with it - they probably got the idea from somewhere else, but I loved the idea so I've done it at every church I've worked at! The idea is for the children (all ages), to make four crafts-one for each week in advent. Then, each child is either assigned a shut-in or someone in the church who is sick or going through a hard time (or they may know of someone in need in their own neighborhood). During each week of advent, the children deliver their gifts to their assigned person...BUT, the catch is, you can't let the person know who you are until the last week! :)  I can't tell you how much fun my kids have sneaking around, leaving gifts and running :)  And to see the gratitude on the faces of the recipients during the last week is priceless :)  So, I thought I would share this idea with everyone this year-in plenty of time-so if you wanted to do it, you could!  Here are a few activities we've done in the past and a few we're going to do this year.
   In actuality, we try and use stuff around the church.  I am also a bargain shopper so I shop after Christmas and get things for the next year.  We don't have a large budget so creativity is key :)
  Also, you have to remember, we make them all at one time - and there are four to they can't take long (and unless you have a lot of helpers, some of them need to be quite easy and self-explanatory).  I like to have one station a Christmas card station where they make a simple but neat card to send on the first Sunday to explain what is going on.  I also assume that many of the people that we're sending our gifts to are stuck in their rooms or houses a lot.  So, for the four gifts, I try and make one an ornament, one a table decoration, one that includes food and then an extra one.
  So, here are some ideas to kick off your Advent Angels :)

I got some flower pots on sale at the end of  summer so I'm looking for a project with these...
I like the simple red pot with the black belt - might let them put some sequins on it to "bling" it up a bit :)  But what to fill it with?...
table decoration:  We did something similar one year.  This one is quite ornate and ours were not :)  We bought styrofoam trees (on sale :) and wrapped garland around them and hung small ornaments (from the dollar tree) on the garland.  It proved harder than I thought so I would suggest spray painting them all green beforehand and then decorating like the one above.

DIY Candy Cane Card- cute!
Christmas Card:  Cute idea for the front of the card - except you would obviously write "Merry Christmas" :)
Reindeer water bottles and popcorn bags...would be cute for the Holiday party at school!
Food:  We did this Rudolph water last year, in addition to our own
variation of the trail mix pictured as well.  I used plastic containers for
our mix.  The only problem I had was the nose falling off the water bottle - I think glue
dots is your best choice.

DIY Christmas gift - snack/trail mix.
All you need is Pledge Floor cleaner, glass ornaments and fine glitter.  Swirl a little floor cleaner inside the ornaments and it kills the static allowing the glitter to stick to the sides!  Add glitter and let dry.
Ornament:  We have tons of little glass ornaments like these laying around so we might do this ornament this year.  It's pretty simple according to the "pin" (website is no longer functioning).  Just swirl Pledge floor cleaner inside to take away the static, then pour in glitter!  I hope it's that easy!
DIY Giant Advent Calendar Sticker Scenes
I got these advent calendars from oriental trading on sale one year.  Even my three year olds could do this with minimal help and they turned out quite cute.  I'm not a fan of "mass produced" crafts - but with so many to do, I end up doing about one per year.
Cute Christmas gifts - snacks
Food:  This is always cute to do.  Red hots, what looks like an empty squished baggie (no link from pinterest), a baggie full of hot chocolate and mini-marshmallows!  and dont' forget the googly eyes :-) not too hard...
Child's Art Advent Calendar for Granny
This is pretty cute.  You could go many directions with a DIY advent calendar!
Great DIY ornament idea from Martha! Choose patterned papers or color-photocopy pictures onto card stock. Trace cutter on top; cut out. Dab white craft glue along cutter's edge. Press paper in place; let dry. Thread narrow ribbon through needle; poke between paper and cutter, and wrap ribbon around top of cutter. Slip a bead over ribbon's ends; knot.
Ornament:  very cute.  I did this once with preschoolers and put their picture in it :)  I let them roll the cookie cutter in glitter as well - always better with glitter!  
7 Days of Love. If someone is going away for a week or something send a week's worth of encouragement/verses in a box like this
How darn creative.  I love this - on SOOO many levels!!  I'm thinking, teacher gifts, when my husband goes off on trips, advent angels, you NAME it!  Pill cases like this are $1 but sometimes I see them on sale and sometimes in packs of  two.  I'm thinking, give this on the last week of advent so they can count down until Christmas - put Christmas related Bible verses in each day, maybe a Christmas joke or two, a few Christmas candies (wonder if hershey kisses would fit?) and a few notes from their little angel :)
Pour melted candy into spoons, press in cake decorations while warm. Fun kid's party idea.
I did this once with a group of preschoolers.  It's very quick and easy.  Let it dry and wrap it in a baggie.  You could tie a ribbon around it and slip it in a gift bag or goody bag.
Candy Cane Poem and coloring page: Read the cute poem about Jesus and color the candy cane!
Cute tag that you could attach to any gift...or you could include it in the card above :-)

Whatever you decide to make for your person, it will be appreciated!  I hope you participate in Advent Angels and have a very meaningful Advent season!  Make sure and remember those in need and suffering this Christmas season - it's such a happy time for most of us, but there are some that will be dreading the season.  Do something to make someone smile! :-)

In Christ,

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