A friend from Edson sent me these great Advent ideas from a book entitled "Celebrate Christmas" 'and the Beautiful Traditions of Advent'. I thought I'd post them for you in case you want to file them away as ideas for future years :) Thanks Marilyn!
1) The Blessing Box
To remind your family how blessed they are make a box and pick a needy family or individual to give this to just before Christmas. Offerings of things they can give or things they can do or money to put in and as it is (maybe at family dinner time) that member shares how he has been blessed and how he wants to share that with others.
2) The Chrismon tree. This is a combination of the words Christ and monogram. Decorate a tree with monograms (symbols) of Jesus Christ. Find all His names - Good Shepherd (make a shepherd's crook), Light of the World (candle), Alpha and Omega ( 1st and last letters of the Greek alphabet). Make these out of cardboard and decorate and then hang on your tree - hand made or other. This helps to center our focus on the the true importance of Christ's coming.
3) Gathering Straws for the Manger - to prepare your hearts for the coming of Jesus. Set aside a bunch of straws to be given to members of your family as rewards for their individual good deeds and acts of service to one another. The straws should be added to the empty manger one at a time in anticipations of the placement of the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. This simple symbolic gesture will help maintain an attitude of eager expectation in your hearts each day of the Advent season.