We (my sister and I) used to make long paper chains for our Christmas tree when I was a child. They had wonderful pre-gummed paper to make it a little less messy, and we could make long chains for hours.
My sons have not been fond of that sort of activity. Cranberry strings and popcorn strings, also traditional favorites, fair only slightly better because we hang them outside to attract birds. But this year we have been using a paper chain as our Advent Calendar.
We have a lovely one with little doors and beautiful drawings. We have a Madonna one with every window opening onto a Bible verse. We have a felt Christmas tree one from my childhood, where a different tiny ornament is in small pockets at the bottom.
But this year we chose not to get those out, and instead went with the paper chain idea from our church. Each night, we think of another person/cause to pray for, and write that on the chain, one for each day of Advent.
Even if one were not particularly religious, and did not pray, it never hurts to think kind thoughts/loving thoughts of those around you in need.
It is interesting to see what is on the minds of my three sons… 7, 11 and 14. They have people and causes they have felt it important to pray for, and we have a nice chain going. I think we will save it and put it on the tree next year, or perhaps just add to it. I think this will become a new tradition!