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no-wreathsThis "Different and Fun Ideas for Advent" topic is an 'open' topic for your "different," off-beat, and ingenious ideas for celebrating Advent in church, worship, or Sunday School that do not fit into other topics here in our Celebrating Christmas in Church and At Home: Programs, Pageants forum.

We're not looking for "yet another wreath project" in this topic, but rather things that are a bit different or offer a twist on familiar ideas and traditions. (So yeah, there is a wreath idea in this topic, but it's different!)


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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Christingle Christmas

A minister friend, who was born in England, told me about the Christingle and with the details she gave me and doing an internet search, I gathered the following information that may help others have a Christingle Christmas.

Christingle Means

"Christ Child" in German. It is a fruit craft and ceremony that includes a candle (light of the world).


Christingle History

The Christingle has its origins in a Moravian children's service held in a castle in Germany on Christmas Eve in 1747.

The bishop conducting the informal service gave each child a lighted candle, tied with a red ribbon, in memory of the Saviour's coming which he said has kindled a flame in each heart which keeps burning "to His joy, and our happiness".

Christingle Today

Much later, this simple candle was replaced by a more elaborate Christingle which is rich in symbolism.

The modern Christingle consists of (I've added scripture readings to be read as you make the Christingle):

  • christingle-diagraman orange . . . representing the world
    Scripture: Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1; Jeremiah 32:17
  • a red ribbon, tied round the orange . . . representing the blood of Jesus OR the love of God encompassing the entire earth
    Scripture: John 3:16; Psalm 119:64; John 15:12
  • four toothpicks - North, South, East & West representing the four seasons
    *see note at end of lesson for alternative to toothpicks
    Scripture: Psalm 107:2,3
  • fruits and sweets (raisins & small candies), skewered on 4 cocktail sticks (toothpicks) which are pushed into the orange . . . representing God's good gifts - the fruits of the earth and the four seasons
    Scripture: Genesis 1:3,4; Genesis 1:29
  • a small cross-shaped cut: The cross on which Christ died for our sins, into this cut is place the candle
    Scripture: Genesis 3:4-6; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8
  • a lighted candle, pushed into the centre of the orange . . . representing Christ, the light of the world (can use a small white candle with foil or a birthday candle with holder)
    Scripture: John 1:1-5

Some online resources:

The sign of the World
The Fruits of the earth
On its four points are curled
We say "Thank You" to God
For sending His Son
And the candles are lit
To remind everyone
Of a baby called JESUS
Born in the night
To rescue mankind out of darkness to LIGHT.

* Toothpick alternative - was shopping in the grocery store and picked up a Plastic-Heart-Pickspackage of "Plastic Heart Picks" name brand 'Diamond' –you get 120 picks in a clear container with a lid. One end of the pick is shaped in an arrow, the other heart shaped. Nice as you have only one sharp end, so the candies won't slide off the heart end. I also tested them on a tangerine and they slide in nicely.


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Last edited by Luanne Payne

Hand-Paint Baby Jesus Rocks
& hide them around your community


A parent shared the idea from a small village in Europe.  Someone painted baby Jesus on smooth stones and placed them around town where people will find them: on a park bench, a counter, an ATM...on the back is a verse about the birth of Jesus.  Our youth group paints the rocks.  The rocks are later taken by families who attend our Hanging of the Greens advent service.  Families then scatter them into our community and leave rocks around for others to find...and it's all done with no names left except the scripture verse on the bottom.  You could leave a card about your church.  It seems every age group is loving this project more each year. We buy a bag of landscape rocks from a stone supplier.  They are Mexican beach pebbles. Here's the story link from Europe.  

Blessings, Heidi

Questions ask by Luanne:

  1. "What is the scripture verse you put on the bottom?
  2. Do you paint it on?
  3. Do you have a picture to post of the back of the stone?

Heidi's Answers:

  1. First, we wash the rocks and let them dry.
  2. Paint a white oval and let dry.
  3. Use a fingerprint, q-tip or small paintbrush to paint the flesh tone face and let dry.  Using a sharpie, outline with black.
  4. We write a scripture about the birth of the Christ child with a sharpie such as Luke 2:9-12, or Matthew 1:21, or Isaiah 7:14.  Any of those kind of verses, we mix it up. Then whoever finds it will hopefully look it up and read the verse!  (These can be written on tissue as well and glued to the back aka decoupaged.)

The 6th grade Confirmation class helped paint the white circles.  The youth group painted the faces and outlines baby Jesus then writes a scripture on the back.   This would be a great job for senior citizens to do also!  

The rocks are given out to the congregation at the conclusion of the Hanging of the Greens worship service on the first Sunday in Advent in the evening.  Their directions are to go spread the Baby Jesus rocks around town for others to discover!  People of the congregation go about town and hide them.

Lots of unique and funny stories about deciding where to hide the rocks and perhaps getting caught leaving it!  Plus, they seem to be hidden all over the church campus, too which makes me smile!   Plus, usually, there are a few at the bottom of my purse!  lol

We loved this project!

Blessings, Heidi

Neil adds "Tips for Painting Rocks"

Great tips for painting rocks, best types of rocks, paints, brushes, paint pens sealing, etc.


Who knew you could buy bags of "Caribbean Beach Stones" on Amazon!

wtrockswillsingFYI: Supporting Members can see the Writing Team's "Rocks Will Sing" Palm Sunday Story Stones Workshop which uses decorated rocks in a lesson to tell the story.


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Last edited by Luanne Payne

Who is Missing From the Nativity?
We are using the nativity scene to help our kids explore the Christmas story.

Each week we will have that character missing from the Nativity scene, and ask. "Who is missing?" The whole idea is based around waiting, and advent.

Week 1: Our first week (this Sunday) will will have removed Jesus out of the nativity scene and will ask, "What's missing?"

Week 2: Mary

Week 3: Joseph
An exciting workshop for us will be our ART WORKSHOP with Joseph. We are having one of the men in our congregation who likes to woodwork, come as Joseph, and we will visit him in his workshop. It's going to be great!

Week 4: Shepherds and the Angel (as one week).

Hope this helps anyone,

Moderator adds: For workshop ideas for Jesus (waiting see Isaiah), Mary, and the Shepherds/Angels look for all in our Christmas forum LESSONS: JESUS' BIRTH, ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, EPIPHANY.

Live Nativity Characters Added Each Sunday

In past years in worship we used to bring out the church's "creche" (manger) scene piece-by-piece each Sunday and talk about each piece.

This year we are having KIDS dress up as the characters and form the creche scene.

We start by introducing all the kids to the part of the story we are assembling for that Sunday. Then we all run away and quickly put on costumes, and then we reassemble upfront as a storyteller recites that part of the story.  We do it so fast that the kids are still getting their costumes and props together as they assemble (which is fun to watch).

We don't tell the kids what they're doing next week, but we do give them a fun "clue" to get them thinking.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Birthday Party for Jesus

On the Sunday just before Christmas day, we have a Birthday Party for Jesus for all ages.

We invite the entire congregation to join us in "party games" and activities, then we sing "Happy Birthday" and don birthday hats and have cake and ice cream. All seem to enjoy it and it is an excellent reminder of the reason for all the holiday celebrations.

We add a "gift-giving" aspect to the party, inviting people to bring unwrapped gifts for babies (diapers, formula, clothing). We play "Pin the swaddling cloth on Baby Jesus."   


One year we created a tree of removable ornaments of "gifts the church needs"  (cleaning supplies, TP, light bulbs, etc.) and invited people to wrap them and place them under the tree.

Another year we brainstormed "gifts we could give to God" ...specifying acts of discipleship and devotion we could commit to. These were written on ornaments which people took home.

The next week we brainstormed and labeled ornaments with "gifts God has already given us" (forgiveness, guidance, Bible, church, family) and invited people to write individual names of people in their life that were gifts to them. We also invited people to hang "prayers" for themselves (things they needed) on the tree (patience, relief, peace, etc). These were put on the church's tree.

Our pastor turned the content of these ornaments into a sermon the following Sunday.

Celebrating Advent in our CLASSROOMS TOO!

I don't know that this is that revolutionary or creative, but here it goes....

Lighting the Advent Wreath is an important part of our church services, but many kids in our church don't attend worship, just Sunday School, or never get to participate in the candle lighting (and want to).

So we have brought our Advent Lighting and Liturgy into the beginning of EACH lesson.

I create a short litany for the kids to read during the lighting. It's usually an edited version of what is used during church.

Yes, we light real candles. The smell and flicker creates a strong memory and focal point. We leave it burning throughout the lesson. Pish-posh on those who think it's not safe. You just need to look at your classroom and do the lighting in a safe place and manner. Use smaller candles or "votive" candles in sturdy holders. (Invite a congregational handy-person to fasten candle holders to a piece of plywood so as to safely hold the candles and cannot be knocked over.) Decorate with non-flammable materials/decorations. Let EACH STUDENT help light the candles. They love that.

You can also bring your CRECHE (manger) scenes into each classroom, and if you "assemble" the parts of the manger scene each week --adding new characters/props as you get closer to Christmas Day, then you can have a box of costumes and invite students to create the scene as it is read.

Moderator adds: For those not comfortable lighting real candles in the classroom here's a suggestion for making an advent candle with battery operated tea lights (pictured).

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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