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Countdown to Christmas

To encourage the children to use the season of Advent to prepare themselves for Christmas.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage the children to use the season of Advent to prepare themselves for Christmas.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a suitcase, and some items that you would pack for a short holiday, e.g. a change of clothes, toiletries, a waterproof jacket, sun cream, hair dryer. These should be placed where the children cannot see them, e.g. behind a screen.
  • Blank A4 pieces of paper and a pen.


  1. Tell the children that you are going away for a short holiday and that you would like them to help you pack. Show your empty suitcase and ask them if they have any ideas what you should take with you.

    As the children make suggestions, allow them to go 'behind the screen' and select the object they have named and place it in your suitcase. If a child thinks of an object that you don't have available, ask them to write it on a piece of paper and place it in the suitcase.
  2. Once the suitcase is packed, discuss with the children what would happen if you went on holiday without making any preparations. If we didn't prepare then we wouldn’t have such a good time.

    Point out to the children that most of the things they enjoy doing need some kind of preparation by someone who cares for them.

    Parties would be no fun if someone hadn't arranged food or games.
    Lessons wouldn't be very interesting if no one had decided what we should learn.
    We would be hungry if someone hadn't prepared our tea.

    Explain that Advent is a special season of the year for Christians because it gives a chance to prepare for Christmas. This doesn't just mean writing cards, putting up decorations and buying presents, it means preparing our hearts for the message of Christmas.
  3. Christians believe that Christmas is a time to remind ourselves that God sent Jesus to earth to offer us peace and to show the world how much he loves us. He wants us to use this time to remember this and to think about living in peace and love with those around us.

Time for reflection


There are many people who are not at peace – they may be living in a place where people are at war; they may be wondering where their next meal is coming from; or they may be lonely.

It may be that we are not at peace with one another. Maybe we have fallen out with a friend or hurt somebody. Let's decide today to sort it out so we can move towards Christmas with peace in our hearts.



Dear God,

Please help us to use this season of Advent to prepare our hearts for Christmas

and for your message of love and peace to be seen in our lives.


'Christmas time is here' (Come and Praise, 127)

Publication date: December 2006   (Vol.8 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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