A paper chain. Remember those? Red and green alternating construction paper looped and stapled together to count down the days until Christmas? Since I haven’t done one since my own childhood the thought is part nostalgia, part simplicity of Christmas excitement.
And since simplicity and Advent should go together, we’re bringing the paper chain back! That’s right a paper chain you can print right here and cut and staple and hang over the next three and a half weeks. But this is a paper chain with a twist. Because on each link there is a suggested family activity. As you pull off your daily paper link, you get a short (15 minutes or less required) activity to do as a family, whatever form your “family” takes.
But before you decide this crafty parenting activity list isn’t for you and you click over to Facebook to procrastinate some more, hear me out. I PROMISE these are simple ideas, meant to slow you down for just a few minutes, look others in the eye, and do something together. To create a memory without costing you much, but your attention. I am not very crafty, I’m certainly unorganized, so if I can do this, you can too.
And they aren’t just my ideas (because I’d run out at about 3, which is why I need the chain). No this is a team effort of moms like us who just want to stop the crazy for a little connection during this season. This is NOT meant to be guilt inducing. If you are reading this and it’s December 5th, start now. If you start with the best of intentions and only do half, it’s half better than nothing at all. I think our kids will find this to be fun, it will mix things up a bit in our homes, and we might just discover a gem on one of these links that becomes a new Christmas tradition we’ll carry with us long into our grandparenting years.
Are you in? If so, let’s get started.
Here is what you need to know about #TheHopeChain
What it is: An Advent chain with one activity for each day of December leading up to Christmas that promotes fun, connection, and faith. (Okay so technically I know Advent started on yesterday, but we decided December 1 was just easiest to remember and it gives us today to breathe).
How to use it: Print and cut the activities into strips. Form the strips into a chain in order (they are numbered). Each day tear off the bottom chain as a family and do the activity listed when you have a 15 minute window. Start on December first and continue for the 25 days of Advent, ending on Christmas. You can print them off right now. Here is my own personal design. (For more design options scroll below.)
Supplies Needed (But not all on Day One): A printer, paper, a stapler or tape, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas book, a copy of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem, brownie mix, green food coloring, a jar, one string of Christmas lights for each child, glitter or a small can of gold or silver paint, one candy cane per person, hot chocolate, large marshmallows, a Sharpe pen, Christmas cookies, popcorn, Christmas candy
Hashtag: We’d love for you to hashtag your family doing the Advent activities throughout the season. Use the hashtag #thehopechain
Since you will be reading the great ideas of these seven other moms on The Hope Chain links, why not meet them? If you’re going to spend time hopping around the internet, it might as well be with moms who are looking to create a little fun with their kids right? So head on over to their sites for some more holiday inspiration.
And here are their designs. The activities listed are the same on each version, just different color options based on your design needs (because we all like choices and want our paper chains to match our decor, right?)
Happy printing, cutting, stapling and most importantly counting down to the day we remember when history was altered forever with the arrival of Emmanuel, God With Us.