One Christmas craft that my family has done in the past was to create a paper chain to keep track of the days until Christmas. The paper train had 25 links and each day the children removed one link. Well, my friend Cassie, yes the same one with the IKEA sheves for the workboxes, sent me a link to Jim Elzerman’s version of the paper chains. He turned the paper chains into an Advent devotional:
“The links are numbered 1-25 and on each link is a different theme and scripture reference. Hang the chain with 25th link at the top and remove one link each day during December leading up to Christmas, using the scripture for family devotions and the theme as a focus for prayer. It’s a handy way to count off the days until Christmas and learn more about the real meaning of the holiday. ~ Jim Elzerman”
The printable on the original site is not working, so Cassie made a new printable based on the scriptures listed by Mr. Elzerman (scroll to the bottom of the post for the link). I was going to make them, but she beat me to it. Cassie planned and designed the chain way better than I would have–and used cool numbers from digital designer, Anna Aspnes. Cassie is using this craft with a group of children, so she set up the file to save ink and paper. Follow her directions if printing for more than one child. If you want to print just one set for your family, you will follow the color directions listed but just print one of each page. On several of the pages you’ll have some extras–just put in your scrap pile ;).
First print out the strips on the colors indicated in the file. Cassie mentioned that one way to really dress up the paper train would be to print on double-sided scrapbook paper that has a pattern on one side.
Cut the strips with a paper cutter.
Now I decided to get all fancy with the star. Since I will probably be using this idea each year, I wanted a more durable star. I had a clear cd in my recycle bin that I thought would work perfectly. If you don’t have a clear one, use any old cd.
First tie a piece of ribbon through the center of the cd to the top. This strip will be the hanger. Next tie another piece of ribbon through the center of the cd toward the bottom. This will be where the paper chain will attach.
Cut out two of the yellow stars. Use a strong adhesive on the stars. I used double-sided Super Tape by Thermoweb. Make sure the top hanger has the knot at the top and the bottom hanger has the knot toward the center. Place one star on one side to hold the ribbons in place. Place another star on the opposite side.
If you use a plain cd, cut 2 circles of Christmas paper or cardstock just slightly smaller in diameter than the CD. I like to have a little bit of the shiny metal showing. Tape the ribbons in place on the cd so they don’t move. Then cover the paper circles with adhesive–spray adhesive, Super Tape by Thermoweb or the Xyron 900 work best. Cover both sides of the cd with the paper circles. It should look like a big circle ornament with a ribbon at the top and ribbon at the bottom. Next add the cut-out stars and any other embellishments. Basically it is a version of an altered CD. For an example of one I’ve done in the past check out Everyday Digital Scrapbooking and scroll down toward the bottom of the page.
We have a whole stash of old cd’s that my children love to decorate with Permapaque Opaque Paint Markers by Sakura. These markers work on cd’s ceramics, wood, metal, glass plastic and more. My older daughter did the cd decorating for this craft.
Then start assembling the paper train. The number 25 will be attached to the star. We stapled all our links because that goes faster, but you can glue them or use other adhesives.
What a great way to keep track of the days and focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
Names Of Jesus Advent Chain
You might also be interested in The Names of Jesus printable advent chain
Check out more free Christmas Printables from Spell Outloud
oh this is so close to the one I was talking about…now I don't have to try to post mine!! Only ours has hymns that go along with it. It would be simple to add a hymn to each one.
I love this…we did the chain count down last year, I am excited to add the Bible readings to it!
Oh, thank you, thank you!!! I knitted 24 little socks to make an advent garland and have been looking for scripture verses to put in each one…the printable is awesome. Thanks again and have a merry Christ-filled Christmas!
What a great idea! Thank you SO much for sharing.
Madonna (Lil' Ms.P) says
I love it! Thanks for sharing. We will definitely be printing it off.
Thank You! I love this–we did the countdown chain last year–but I love that there are specific verses to go w/each one! 🙂
Thank you very much. it is late for this yera, but I saved it for next Advent.
I also shared it on FB, Multiply and in my blogger blog
Ok I know this is an old post but we are using the Advent chain this year and we love it. My son is super excited for his devotional each night. I can see this becoming a yearly tradition. Thank you!
For the 9th it says John 11-14. Is it missing a chapter number or am I supposed to read three chapters to my child??
Carolyn Lewis says
I have been preparing an Advent Chain for each of the children at our Church for the past 3 years and was looking for some new inspiration. Came across this site. This has provided me with plan for this Christmas and now I can get started and get organised early. It is great to see that others are looking to share the real meaning of Christmas. Blessing to you for doing all the hard work for me.
Maureen Spell says
I’m glad to hear that you’ll be able to use it this year! (and way to go preparing ahead!) 🙂
Thank you so much for this! It is just what I need to bring more meaning into Christmas. Cassie, you are a wonder! And thank you Maureen for your great work, I love this blog.
Maureen Spell says
You are very welcome! 🙂
ROTF! I just put this all together with my daughter, but backwards and we read day 25 first. I was thinking countdown, not day of the month. LOL, she said, “Mom that should be Christmas day.”
Maureen Spell says
LOL! I almost did the same thing today. I hung mine the wrong way. 🙂
Hi, I’m trying to download the printable from Anna Aspnes link and the webpage turns up blank. Could you send me the link? This is a very neat idea!!
Maureen Spell says
Did you use the link in the blue box toward the end of the post? I just tried it and it worked. Please let me know if you still have problems opening it.
Justina Gibson says
This sounds like a great inexpensive way for our family to decorate and have an advent calendar. Thanks for the great idea. God bless you and your family and Merry Christmas!