Mary on the Mantel
Each day Mary is moved around your house as she prepares for her new baby. Mary is busy "nesting" and doing simple, ordinary tasks. When the children find her in the morning, Mary delivers a small act of kindness that they can perform that day. The note can be tucked into the tiny tote bag that comes with our Mary dolls.
The idea is that we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus in the manger by loving others. With the Elf on the Shelf, it is said that he tells Santa if little boys and girls are good or bad. We really encourage you to stay away from this concept of Mary telling Jesus if children are good or bad and rather teach them that Mary is a friend, a companion, a confidant who helps them be more compassionate.
There are so many cute ways you can immerse your children in the Advent and Christmas story. As it gets closer to Christmas, Mary can receive a piece of mail that tells them they need to travel for the census. She can then begin the journey to Bethlehem. The day before there might even be a sign that says No Room in the Inn! You can also make Mary's belly "grow." Add paper towels, fabric, or a little pillow underneath her dress!
We know there are so many responsibilities right now and being the Mary mover might feel like just another added thing. Hopefully this list below makes it easy for you to do. Pick and choose acts that are age appropriate for your children and of course make up your own, if you wish!
Share your Mary on the Mantel journey on social media with the hashtag #maryonthemantel and be sure to tag us @beaheartdesign!! We will be sharing your photos throughout the month.
Lastly, the Advent coloring sheet is a fun add on for children to visually understand how many days until Christmas and that Christmas is an entire season, not just a day!
Ideas for Mary's Preparation
- Mary sets out Advent wreath and candles with matches
- Make a little baby shower scene for Mary
- Mary sits by a home altar or bed praying
- Mary rests with her feet up
- Mary reads the Bible
- Mary drinks a cup of tea
- Mary tidies toys
- Mary does the laundry (washes and folds baby clothes)
- Mary visits Elizabeth
- Mary receives a letter with the census announcement
- Mary rides a donkey (or another animal)
- Mary packs a suitcase
- Mary reads a book about having a baby
- Mary cooks
- Mary sweeps
- Mary writes Christmas cards
- Mary prepares the tree
- Mary hangs stockings
- Mary sits on the Mantel
- Mary wraps presents
- Mary goes to the doctor
- Mary makes the bed
- Mary dusts
- Mary goes grocery shopping
- Mary bakes cookies
- Mary reads a books
- Mary sews a baby blanket
- Mary eats lots of carbs!
- Mary soaks her feet in a bath
- Mary playing music or singing
- Mary gets a prenatal massage
- Mary naps
- Mary stretches over a ball
- Mary gardens/waters plants
- Mary cooks enough food to fill the manger
- Mary eats ice cream
- Mary holds things in her heart
- Mary notices something beautiful
- Mary serves something
- Mary sings the magnificat
- Mary writes a letter to Elizabeth
- Mary practices swaddling
- Mary takes a bath
- Mary in lamaze class
- Mary does dishes
- Mary talks to baby Jesus in her womb
- Mary researches the best route to Bethlehem on a map.
Ideas for Acts of Kindness:
- Go through toys that you don’t use anymore to donate to a foster home.
- Go through your clothes to donate things you don’t wear anymore.
- Ask your mom for an extra chore that you can do to help.
- Make Christmas cards for your grandparents.
Write a letter to someone who is in the military.
- Do a chore for someone without them knowing.
- Call your grandparents to say hi and ask about their day.
- Clean your room.
- Set the table for dinner.
- Take out the trash.
- Bring your neighbors’ garbage cans up for them.
- Give your parents extra hugs.
- Send drawings or cards to a nursing home.
- Rake leaves, shovel snow or do a little yardwork/weeding for your neighbor.
- Help a sibling clean up (or with homework or anything)
- Give someone your undivided attention.
- Pick a flower for someone.
- Write a poem for someone.
- Make mom or dad a cup of tea (for older kids)
- Tell your friends something you like about them.
- Pick out a toy that will be given to a child in need.
- Grocery shop for foods to donate to the local food pantry.
- Bake cookies for a neighbor.
- Say something genuine and kind to a family member.
- Write a letter to Jesus.
- Write a thank you note to your teacher.
- Do a chore you don't normally do without being asked.
- Read a book to your younger sibling.
- Deliver a surprise treat to a neighbor.
- Make a Christmas card for a parish priest and hand deliver it after Mass.
- Write notes/cards to elderly and homebound in your parish.
- Send some snail mail to friends.
- Learn a new prayer.
- Pray for refugee families as a family.
- Do a sibling's chores for the day.
- Donate baby clothes to a crisis pregnancy center.
- Send a hand written letter to a quarantined family member.
- Make a gratitude list.
- Write a thank you note.
- Share your favorite toy with a sibling.
- Look in the newspaper for someone to pray for.
- Learn the Hail Mary in a different language.
- Let your sibling go FIRST at something.
- Make a prayer list.
- Play a game a sibling wants.
We can't wait to see how you integrate this new family tradition into your home!