Advent paper chains are like 3-D Advent calendars. They are a physical and visual way to mark the daily journey to Christmas.
Paper chains are an easy and playful way for kids to learn Advent words. Pick simple words like “wait, prepare, watch, baby, dark….” For children who are too young to read, write the word on one strip of paper and talk with them about its meaning. Let them doodle or draw around the word and along the strip. When the artwork is finished, take the strip of paper, make a loop, and staple the ends together. Give children two other strips of paper on which to draw and color. Remind them of the word without necessarily writing it again. Add the finished strips to each side of the original loop to create a three-loop chain. If you decorate a Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving, you can hang the trio on the tree. (Or maybe forget the Christmas decorations completely until closer to the 25th.) Repeat the process every day of Advent with a new word. Reviewing the previous words each day immerses children in the rich vocabulary of the season.
Adults can also create Advent chains. Try any of the ideas I suggest for Advent calendars in my November 9th blog post. I like to pick an Advent word for each day and pray it/meditate on it as I doodle. The word seems to stay with me for the rest of the day. Adults might enjoy the meaty and fresh daily Advent vocabulary offered by #AdventWord.
Keep the 3-loop chains separate as individual “ornaments” or connect them together in one long, swoopy chain. It’s amazing to me how the simple practice can end up being both beautiful and spiritually satisfying.
Since I often travel at Christmas time, I buy a little Norfolk Island pine and designate it as an Advent tree. Purple or blue lights on it remind me that it is still Advent and not yet Christmas.