Growing up, I always had an Advent calendar. Now, as a parent, I was looking for some new traditions for all of us to share and to help with the "Christmas countdown" once the kids are a little older. I found this idea 2-3 years ago (I don't remember where or I'd cite the source! LOL) and used it for the first time last year with pretty good success. And, we are looking forward to trying it again starting Friday.
I made a list for December 1 - 24. And, for each day, I tried to come up with one small thing we could all do together as a family. It doesn't have to be complicated or costly but it needs to be something everyone engages in for a little bit. For example, here are some ideas:
Decorate our tree
Hang our new Scandanavian flag garland
Make ornaments for tree
Watch some "old" Christmas movies (see post below)
Make paper snowflakes
Decorate tree for the birds
Make red and green rice crispie treats (food coloring is SO underrated! LOL)
Go see "The Nativity"
Night drive to see houses dressed up with lights
Play carols and games
Make hot chocolate mix
Make Christmas cookies
Take cookies and cocoa to neighbors
Have a cookie swap
We also included a couple local attractions and performances to get us out and about. For example, our city's orchestra and youth choirs each have their concerts this coming month and the city's annual "Reindog Parade" as well as our area's zoo has a program outside for kids.
I'm also using the ABC Family movies for "back-up plans" in case of poor, icky, or too warm weather. (Did I mention that it is November here in Michigan and it is currently SIXTY-THREE degrees outside!?)
A few things I learned last year: I had too many crafts and too many baking/cooking/crafty things so it got too expensive and time consuming (especially since I was 8 months pregnant this time last year!) so I'd suggest spreading those type of activities out over the month. Also, we made the traditional paper chain for the tree last year but, instead of cutting all the paper up ourselves, we just order the materials from Oriental Trading. We also used them for our ornament last year.
Finally, since the point is spending time together doing fun things, don't stress about not getting to your activity each day! It defeats the point! LOL We got about 80-90% of the things done we planned but it was always nice knowing that if we had an hour or so to kill that we could fill it with some pre-planned and family-quality-time related activity.
And, we used about 75%of last year's ideas, tossed a few, added a few, and adjusted a few for more age-appropriate things for our kids. The beauty of this is that it is so easy to change and mold into something appropriate for each family! Just wanted to share this idea. Hope it blesses someone's family as much as it has blessed mine!
For more Christmas ideas, head over to Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer