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Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp

I have seen little Advent calendars at the store.  You know the ones where you open a little flap each day as you await Christmas?

When we had our son we wanted something deeper and richer to help celebrate the anticipation to Christmas.  When I found Ann Voskamp had written an Advent-type book I knew it would be what we wanted for our family.

This beautiful book is rich and deep.  And moves beyond being self-focused during this season.

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At the end of each day there are thoughts to discuss.  This can be perfect for older children or to begin discussions with little ones.  One of my favorite things is that each day you are given something to do for others.  Instead of the Christmas holiday focusing on self, this Advent book allows you to focus on Jesus and on others.

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This book also comes with free printable ornaments that you can hang on your tree that reflect each day.  There is also a Christmas wreath made by Ann’s son, Caleb, that you can also purchase to go along with the book.

This wooden spiral can be set on any flat surface.  This picture from the Joy Ware website shows the idea beautifully.  You can do all short candles, or alternate tall and short, or do all tall.  Whatever you want.

There is also a little wooden figuring of a donkey carrying Mary.  It is the journey to Bethlehem, to Emmanuel, God with us.  For each day you move this figurine around the spiral.  Moving toward the center or moving out, depending on what you want). We chose to add a candle each day and light them all before we read the story.  Then we enjoyed the candles and the story together.

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We just started this tradition last year and I am so excited to do it again this year.  I want to teach my son how all through the Bible the stories point to Jesus and God’s promises.  I want to teach my son to give that hope and promise and love to others.

What are your ways of celebrating Christ’s birth?  Do you have a special Advent calendar that you use?  What do you do? Share with us!

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