Back before my real food kick I used to love the cheap-o Advent calendars filled with chocolates. I haven’t gotten them in a few years now though, something to do with not wanting my kids to have chocolate every day (I figure they get so much junk already, no need to add to it!). So now it’s advent again and I really want to mark it somehow. I want my children to understand that Christmas is all about Christ’s birth, not Santa Claus. I want them to be in touch with the liturgical calendar, and I want them to learn that the wait is worth it. Last year during the post-Christmas sales I bought a felt advent calendar for a couple of bucks. I wanted something homemade but spent months last year planning that masterpiece, and the end result was this purchase. It’ll do the job.
This year, we’re doing an activity calendar using the felt pockets in the one I purchased. Each day, the kids will open a note or find a surprise in the pocket. Mondays they’ll receive something, Tuesdays we’ll do a craft, Wed and Thurs will be something quick, Friday a Christmas movie suggestion, and Sat/Sun we can do something bigger as a family. At least, that’s the general guide to help me along, but it’s not set in stone or anything. I can’t imagine they’ll notice the pattern, but it just seems to fit into our existing rhythm. I read the suggestion somewhere to fill each pocket only the night before because that gives greater flexibility based on time, energy, and materials available. I made a masterlist and wrote some activities in my calendar, but have lots of blanks too. In case you want to do something similar (this year or next), here’s the list. I’m open to suggestions or additional ideas!
I’ll admit that many of these ideas are not very Christ-centered. I guess we’ll have to keep working on it. Right now, I’m full of mama-pride at the all-American moment where my children sat at the table, intently using icing to paint their sugar cookies. Then one had the idea to wrap some up for their teachers and the other promptly fell in step. There was no “but then I can’t eat them.” They were all about giving, which warmed my heart.
Not-Yet Scheduled Ideas:
- Bible verses
- actual money/coins
- prayer: “We’re thinking of all the people in the world who, like Mary and Joseph, won’t have somewhere nice to sleep on Christmas day”
- decorate the tree
- sing xmas carols together
- participate in a wishing tree
- drink hot chocolate and pray for those who don’t have enough
- go for an after-dark walk to look at decorations
- coloring page
- decorate some ornaments
- play a game together
- family pictures around the tree
- watch a xmas movie
- go to a caroling service or other church thing
- random act of kindness
- make paperchains, which each link representing a person who is in our prayers.
- xmas puzzle
Write a letter to Santa if not already done It was already done so we baked cookies instead.
Fri 12/3 Watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (netflix streaming)
Sat 12/4 Attend Christmas concert with birthmom.
Sun 12/5Make salt-dough ornaments and/or attend Lessons and Carols
Mon 12/6 Receive xmas stickers
Tues 12/7 Make paper snowflakes
Fri 12/10 Christmas Party with mommy and daddy’s old work. We will also pray for those who can’t spend Christmas with family and friends.
Mon 12/13 Receive chocolates
Tues 12/14 Make xmas bookmarks
Fri 12/17 watch Miracle on 34th Street (we own this)
Sat 12/18 Bake a xmas treat and share with neighbors. Pray for our neighbors.
Sun 12/19 Wrap teacher present and write a card. Pray for teachers.
Mon 12/20 Get a candy cane
Tues 12/21 Make paper chains
Fri 12/24 Christmas Eve!! Going to church and dinner
Sat 12/25 It’s Christmas!
And just to point out how woefully inadequate the list above is, compare it to my dream advent calendar here. Amazing.