Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Chalice Children: A Program about Our Unitarian Universalist Community for Preschoolers

Taking It Home: How Many Days Until Christmas?

Each night a child is born is a holy night: a time for singing, a time for wondering, a time for worshipping. — "For So the Children Come," Hymn 1061 in Singing the Journey

IN TODAY'S SESSION... we heard the story of Jesus' birth and talked about what happens at Christmas. The children made a paper chain they can use at home to count the days until Christmas; this simple activity helps them practice patience as the holiday approaches.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Share together... the books suggested or this session:

  • Christmas Makes Me Think by Tony Medina, 2008. A young narrator anticipates the presents he's wishing for, the big tree he's hoping to get, the cake he'll bake with his grandmother. But he begins to wonder. What about the people who don't get presents, or don't even have a place to live?
  • Llama, Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney, 2010. If there's one thing Llama Llama doesn't like, it's waiting. He and Mama Llama rush around, shopping for presents, baking cookies, and decorating the tree . . . but how long is it until Christmas? "Gifts are nice, but there's another: The true gift is, we have each other."
  • Christmas in the Stable by Astrid Lindgren, 1998. As a young girl listens to her mother tell the story of the first Christmas, where else would she imagine the miracle taking place but in the stable and fields she knows so well?
  • On Christmas Eve by M. W. Brown, 1997. Unable to sleep on Christmas Eve, four children creep downstairs to see the tree.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. The children made a paper chain to help them count down the days to Christmas. Hang your child's paper chain in a prominent place so they will be reminded to remove a link each day... until Christmas. Make more paper chains to decorate your home.

A Family Adventure. View Christmas lights in your neighborhood in the evening, while playing and singing Christmas carols together in the car.

A Family Discovery. The book Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season, by Jo Robinson and Jean C. Staeheli, guides you to create a joyful, stress-free holiday season. The authors answer the questions they have heard most often in their many years of talking with people about Christmas, such as "How can I reduce the stress of preparing for Christmas?" and "How can I make our celebration more spiritual and less materialistic?"

A Family Game. Sing together! Today, the children sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" and "Ring Those Bells and Turn Around." Try these at home; both songs shared with permission of Teach Preschool.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas. This is based on a traditional song which you can hear here.

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year!

Let's all do a little clapping,

Let's all do a little clapping,

Let's all do a little clapping,

To spread Christmas cheer!

Add other action verses such as "Let's all do a little jumping," "... stomping," or "... turning," alternating with the verse that begins, "We wish you a Merry Christmas!"

Ring Those Bells and Turn Around. Give everyone bells or another item that has a pretty ringing sound. Sing to the tune of "Jimmy Crack Corn."

Ring some jingle bells! [shouted or spoken]

Ring those bells and turn around

Ring those bells and turn around.

Ring those bells and turn around.

For Christmas time is near.

Repeat, changing "turn around" to another action, for example, "Ring those bells and stomp your feet." End with "Ring those bells quietly. / For Christmas time is near."

A Family Ritual. Express your wishes for love, peace and hope for the season at a dinner time chalice lighting. You might start a family practice of lighting a dinner-time chalice each evening as Christmas draws closer. Find seasonal chalice-lighting words by searching the UUA Worship Web, keywords "Christmas Eve."