Advent Calendar

This Christmas season I wanted to start an Advent tradition for our boys. Our oldest son is now four and loves reading books about the Christmas story. We enjoyed welcoming each day in December by opening a small drawer anticipating a new part of the story of Jesus' birth. Gabe would come running in to our room each morning announcing what number we needed to open today! Below are some photos and descriptions of what we did. 

advent calendar

The wooden tree and box with drawers I bought on sale at Michael's Craft Store. I stained the drawers and painted the rest of the box white, chimneys painted a brick pattern. I glued a few white snowflakes on as well. Preston bent nails and glued them in small holes to hold each one of our advent ornaments.

Advent calendar ornaments

Each advent ornament was made using small wooden circles from a pack from Michael's as well. Looped ribbon super glued to the back. I stained the wooden circles brown and attached a button figure or cloth, hay or piece of jewelry that I could find as a symbol for each verse I was using that day. Note: If you are wanting to make on for your family -  there are Natiivty scene and wise men Christmas buttons at craft stores now that should be on sale and ready for next year's calendar!

advent tree

Below are the list of symbols and verses with corresponding days of December. Each ornament was in the drawer number and then we would hang them on the tree where their number was written very small under the nail.

I used these --->buttons from Hobby Lobby/Michael's 

1. Angel Gabriel

Luke 1:26-28, 31

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you… You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’”


2. Mary

Matthew 1:18

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.”


3. Joseph

Matthew 1:20

“…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”


4. Cross

Salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice

Matthew 1:21

“‘Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”


5. String

Jesus bridged the gap between Heaven (God) and earth (humanity)

Isaiah 7:14

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Immanuel - God witih us)


6. Star of David

Line of David/Jesus’ genealogy

Luke 2:4

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to house and line of David.”


7. Donkey

Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem

Luke 2:5
“Joseph went to Bethlehem to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”


8. Lion

Lion represents house of Judah

Micah 5:2

“‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

though you are small among the clans of Judah,

out of you will come for me

one who will be ruler over Israel,

whose origins are from of old,

from ancient times.’”


9. Baby Jesus

Luke 2:6-7

“While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son…”


10. Piece of soft cloth - Swaddling blanket

Luke 2:7

“…Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”


11. Peace Sign - Jesus is Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6

“For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


12. Sheep

Luke 2:8-11

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”


13. Pieces of hay


Luke 2:12

“‘This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”


14. Many gold “halos”

Multitude of angels

Luke 2:13-14

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’”


15. Bells

Spreading the word and carrying the message to others

Luke 2:15-18

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”


16. Dirt or rocks

Kneeling on the ground – our right response to Jesus as God

Psalm 95:6

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”


17. Heart

The emotions of Mary as Jesus’ earthly mother

Luke 2:19-20, 33-35

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

… “The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about [Jesus]. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’”


18. The name Jesus

The name Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means “the Lord saves”

Luke 2:21

“On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.”


19. Two doves

Sacrifice of doves by Joseph and Mary, Holy Spirit like a dove at his baptism later in life

Luke 2:22-24, 3:21-22

“When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took [Jesus] to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’”


20. Light/Lantern

Revelation of Jesus as Christ the Savior to Simeon and to all people

Luke 2:25-32

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismiss your servant in peace.

For my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you have prepared in sight of all people,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel.’”


21. First Magi

Matthew 2:1

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.”


22. Second Magi

Jesus is King of Kings

Matthew 2:1-2

“… Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’”


23. Star

Star that the Magi followed

Matthew 2:9-10

“After [the Magi] had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”


24. Third Magi

Gifts from the Magi to Jesus

Matthew 2:11

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”

advent tree