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.
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.