Christmas Service Calendar (for your little narcissists)

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Well, this is the year. The year my almost three-year-old has finally gotten wise to the fact that Christmas = presents. For the first time, he’s started actually asking for things. This conversation happened the other day:

B: Mommy, what do you want for Christmas?
Me: Aww, well, I’d like a–
B: I think you want Legos.

At Target he wants to walk up and down the Lego aisle so he can gaze longingly at his heart’s desires. He’ll pull things off shelves and ask, “Can you buy this for me?”

No, you little materialist. When are you getting a job, by the way?

Before you consider me a Scrooge, know that I tend to act like a small child myself around Christmas. I love giving gifts and surprising people and decorating and eating lots of food I have no business eating all in the name of Christmas spirit. I enjoy seeing my son get excited about Legos and Christmas cookies because he’s just so stinkin’ cute when he gets all hyped up.

But I’d also prefer that my little narcissist not buy into the whole idea of Christmas being all about him, because…shocker…it’s not.

So if you’re looking for a way to keep your children (and yourself!) focused on what really matters, check out these ideas we’ve used for our service calendar. It’s basically the same as a typical advent calendar, only instead of treats/presents, each day has ideas for serving and praying for others.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Meeeeh, that sounds like a lot of work, and I already have about 3,857 other things to do,” then don’t worry! This doesn’t have to be a lot of extra work. Check out the ideas below–very few of them require buying/preparing lots of supplies. And more than once last year I would modify the day’s activity to adjust to the unexpectedness of life.

You can also tie in service/prayer to things you’re already going to do. For example, going to a family Christmas party? Signed up to take a dessert? Service idea: enlist your kids to help make said dessert, and then pray together for the family members who will be eating them. Boom.

Every day is an opportunity to point your family to the real purpose of Christmas: Jesus Christ coming to earth to save the world from sin. Tell your children that because Christ came to serve us, you as a family are going to focus on serving others and look for ways to point others to Jesus. Because that’s what it’s really about.

Feel free to use the ideas below! And I’m always looking to add new ideas, so please share your own!

Daily Service Calendar Ideas

1. Make Christmas cards for great grandparents. Thank God for great grandparents.
2. Make Christmas crafts with friends. Thank God for friends.
3. Go to Grammy and Pop’s house to celebrate Christmas with family. Thank God for our family, tell them why we love them.
4. Celebrate Christmas with college students from church. Pray for college students.
5. Make cards and send to cousins. Pray for cousins.
6. Make a card for our mailman. Pray for him and thank God for his hard work.
7. Make a pinecone bird feeder for the tree in our front yard. Thank God for his creation.
8. Visit a friend who may be lonely and pray for him/her (nursing home, lonely neighbor, etc.)
9. Help make a picnic dinner and watch a movie with Daddy and Mommy. Thank God for our family.
10. Make a special treat for teachers at church. Pray for teachers.
12. Help Mommy mail Christmas cards.
13. Make card for story time lady at the library and pray for her.
14. Make cookies to give to our neighbors. Pray for our neighbors.
15. Make a special treat for preschool teachers and thank God for them.
16. Make a blessing bag for someone without a home. Pray for the homeless and talk about what that means.
17. Make a card for Pastor Ryan and thank God for our pastors.
18. Help Mommy wrap presents and talk about the Best Present Ever.
19. Help Daddy rake leaves and thank God for the beautiful weather.
20. Make cookies for staff at the pregnancy center. Pray for staff and the moms who go there.
21. Put together nativity scene and talk about the story of Jesus’ birth.
22. Take Daddy and his work friends a special treat. Pray for daddy’s work friends.
23. Read the Christmas story and thank God for sending Jesus.
24. Act out the Christmas story during Bible story time. Pray for those who don’t know Jesus.
25. Christmas day! Give special gifts to family and thank God for Jesus!
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