Advent Calendar 2009

Last year, we introduced a new family tradition, as suggested by Andrea over at a peek inside the fishbowl. She provided the templates and ideas for a family advent calendar and it was such a fantastic experience. We did a special family activity every day leading up to Christmas, and it really made December feel special.

As well, it gave the kids something to do every day, so there was less of the “WHEN WILL CHRISTMAS BE HERE????” hysteria. A good thing.

Here’s a picture of our advent calendar from last year — it’s a set of tiny envelopes (made from leftover scraps of wrapping paper) clipped to a thick strip of ribbon and taped to the wall.

advent calendar

We open one envelope per day, and each one has a little slip of paper inside with the day’s activity on it. This year will be a little harder since the Captain is in school all day, leaving us less time in the afternoon to play. I’m still really looking forward to it, though — it’s going to be so much fun!

Here is my activity list for this year.

1. Hang up the stockings.

2. Put up the tree.

3. Make rice krispie squares.

4. Visit the LEGO exhibit at the Science Museum.

5. Wrap presents for your brother and sisters.

6. Family Swim!

7. Build a fort in the front room.

8. Have a bubble bath in the big tub.

9. Make pictures for Ba and Nanny, and mail them. (Ba and Nanny are their grandmothers)

10. Make peppermint bark. (Recipe here.)

11. Watch a Christmas movie with chips and popcorn. (I’m looking for suggestions for a good movie — last year’s The Sound Of Music was way too long!)

12. Visit Santa and take a toy to Toy Mountain.

13. Make gingerbread houses.

14. Make a book about Christmas. Or Star Wars.

15. Make beaded snowflakes.

16. Dance Party!

17. Glue pictures of toys to make a mural.

18. Make a silly crown and have a parade.

19. Get dressed up for dinner – we’re having take out!

20. Family Skate!

21. Make a giant floor painting.

22. Build a train track all around the Christmas tree.

23. Go for a drive in your PJs to look at Christmas lights.

24. Bake cookies for Santa.

25. Pancakes for breakfast!

And here are some alternate activities — last year a few of our planned activities fell through due to illness or lack of snow or missing baking ingredients, so it was good to have a few extra activities in case I needed to make a last minute swap.

Make paper snowflakes and hang them in the window. (This one was a little hard for the kids last year, so it got bumped in favour of the beaded snowflakes craft.)
Go to the library and read books about Christmas.
Make a big city map on the floor. (Always popular with my kids, but we do this often, so it isn’t as special.)
Take a night walk.
Make puppets from paper bags or popsicle sticks and perform a show.
Go to the video store and rent one movie each.
Go sledding. (If there is snow!)
Make a snowman and have some hot chocolate. (If there is snow — or we’ll make a snowman craft from cotton balls and paper.)
Play a board game and do puzzles with Mommy and Daddy.
Make a paper chain and hang it up. (Again, a little hard for the kids last year.)

I hope you’ll join in — we had such a great time last year that I definitely plan on doing this every year from now on.

13 thoughts on “Advent Calendar 2009

  1. Awesome! I loved this idea at Andrea’s place and I love the ideas you’ve compiled! #14 made me laugh — do you remember that wretched Star Wars Christmas special, circa 1978 or so? A high in lows, even for an inveterate SW fan like me!

  2. J.

    A. and I did this last year two, just for the two of us. It was fun. You and your husband should try it. Our things are very similar to yours, we put things like:

    – Take out by candle light.
    – Watch a Christmas Movie
    – Take a walk at night with hot chocolate or beer
    – Bake cookies for friends and family
    – Host a small cocktail party with friends
    – Go to Starbucks, buy a latte and read a magazine
    – Make a Christmas ornament
    – Go see an Imax movie

    I like allot of the suggestions you have for your kids too, I wrote them down for our advent calendar this year.

  3. I really love this advent idea too. But in theory only. I can’t imagine doing one of these every single evening — you know, exhausted after a full day and through the 16-month-old’s ‘witching hour.’ You’re a stronger woman than me, Ms. Turtlehead! Maybe I’ll try for one a week?

  4. I may do this next December if I am not working yet. I am still not sure when I will go back to work. I love the idea, but find it overwhelming with my full time work schedule.

  5. I’m taking my puppy to see Santa as soon as he is close to our area! Adorable photo plus donations to The Humane Society-Sounds good to me!:)

  6. mel

    I love this idea. Maybe I’ll actually get around to trying it this year! I automatically thought of the Star Wars Christmas special when I read #14 too. I agree with DaniGirl – it’s just dreadful. But it’s something you need to watch at least once.

  7. This is so cute! I hope you have fun this year. My two favorite Christmas movies are A Muppet Family Christmas (the one where they all go to Fozzie’s mom’s house), and the original version of Miracle on 34th Street.

  8. Fabulous idea. I saw this on Andrea’s blog too and really want to get organized and do it this year. It is nice to see someone else who put it into action . . . I think my kids would really get a huge kick out of it and it would put some “FUN” into a sometimes stressful and awfully busy holiday month.

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