Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Advent Calendar

This time last year I was on maternity leave with Dustin.  I wanted to do something special with the kids to countdown the days until Christmas.  So after pinning many ideas I settled on an advent calendar filled with festive activities and special treats.  It was so much fun!

I mention that I was on maternity leave because that is how I had the time to do all these activities.  As I prepare to do the same thing this advent season I just can't help be slightly disappointed that I am now working 40 hours a week instead of having 40 hours a week to dedicate to Christmas crafts and activities.  I have a feeling this year's advent calendar is going to be scaled back significantly.  

Anyway, as I prepare for this year's advent calendar I had to go back and refresh my memory on all the things I did last year.  So here is it:

First the advent calendar. I bought an old wooden frame at a local thrift shop.  I wrapped cardboard with Christmas paper and strung twine across it.  Then I hung 24 squares using mini clothespins.  On the back I placed the activities of the day.  This is something I'll do differently this year.  I spent a lot of time planning the 24 activities but things would come up and I'd have to change things around.  This year I think I'll just plan a few days ahead.

Here was the 24 activities we did:

1.  Make hand print ornaments.

The original pin I found is not working anymore but if you search for salt dough Santa recipes there are many options. 

2.  Write a Letter to Santa

3.  Go to the "Old Time Fiddling Show"

4.  Make Cinnamon Ornaments
 Click here for the recipe I used. 

5.  Bake Christmas cookies

6.   Set-Up Nativity scenes

We set-up two Nativity scenes at Christmas.  One is the Fisher Price Little People one which I bought for Emma her second Christmas.  The other was handmade by my Aunt Margie. It has so much sentimental value for me as my mom has one identical to it.  I even had a friend build the barn which also matches what my mom has. 

7.  Do Hand/Footprint Crafts

8.  Collect items for the foodbank
9.  Watch a Christmas show with treats
10.  Make gingerbread houses (planned by local play group)
11.   Open special gift (Christmas books)
12.   Make special hot chocolate treat just for you

13.  Pick out Christmas tree
14.  Go to special Christmas brunch (planned by local play group)
15.  Decorate Christmas tree
16.  Help Mommy wrap gifts
17.  Drive around and look at Christmas lights
18.  Decorate Christmas candy trees
Love this idea of using waffle cones for decorating Christmas trees.  So much easier than gingerbread houses.
19.  Have a picnic in front of Christmas tree
20.  Make Christmas crafts
21.  Have dinner by candlelight
22.  Open special gift (new Christmas socks)
23.  Breakfast for dinner (special pancakes)

24.  Open One Gift (Christmas Eve Gift)
This was always a highlight for me when I was a child - getting to open a special gift on Christmas Eve.  I usually give the kids pajamas, a new book/toy and a special treat. 
I loved doing these 24 days of special activities with the kids.  Some days were easy-some days I cursed myself for starting it.  But the kids (especially Emma as Dustin was really too young to notice) I know really enjoyed it.  I've been thinking about all the activities for this year's advent and can't wait to get started (I better get on that...December 1st is on Sunday!).


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