Right now, most mom’s are making their shopping lists for Christmas—gifts for kids, decorations for the house, food for the big meal.
Not me! I am getting so excited about my favorite part of the holidays—our family advent calendar.
Forget the $1.99, cardboard contraptions with the horrible chocolate—our family advent calendar is all about the special events and activities of the holiday season. It makes every day in December worth celebrating in little, and sometimes big ways.
We started this a couple of years ago when Grandma Debbie made us this really cool quilted, pocketed advent calendar. It hangs by the front door and on November 30th—I fill all the pockets with goodies. When they wake up on December 1, they run to check the calendar for that particular day.
You can tailor it to perfectly fit your own family, your own interests and your own timelines.
And, it really makes the holiday spirit last all month.
Since I am more about doing things, rather than buying things—I usually fill up the calendar with little cards indicating the fun holiday related activities we will be doing that day. And, we do something everyday between December 1 and December 24th.
You might be asking yourself, “How in the world is there time to do all the holiday stuff (i.e. parties, mailing packages, shopping for gifts, cooking) and add in another FAMILY thing, EVERYDAY?!?”
Here is my trick: I plan our calendar ahead of time and I try to figure out a way to include our holiday obligations into our calendar.
For example, this year The Bean is in a play on December 5th. So, in the pocket on December 5th will be a festive note card plus the tickets to the play. There is our holiday activity for the day!
On days that I know will be super busy, I fill the pockets with the small toys and candy. See! Easy!
I always make sure to include activities in which the kids can help with holiday festivities. I try to keep the kids as involved as possible in the holiday excitement. Instead of setting them aside during the holiday preparations, I include them. Those little things have such an impact on them. Don’t you remember how fun it was to wrap presents? Or, to deliver small gifts to friends and neighbors? These are things the kids can help with and want to be a part of.
Have a potluck party to go to on December 15th? Plan to make cookies together on December 14th.
Wrapping presents to send off to family? Work together to do it and schedule it for when you need it done.
What if something comes up unexpectedly? Swap a couple of the cards later in the month—or always have a second on hand to toss in there when you need to.
I decided to get a bit fancier this year—and made some card templates that include festive graphics and old fashioned holiday quotations. On the flip side, I wrote in the activity for the day or just a sweet holiday note. Feel free to use my cards….if you scroll all the way down to the bottom you can download the files.
I printed mine on cardstock, cut them out and did the writing in fake calligraphy (the kids don’t know the difference).
Below are our ideas for how the calender will be filled this year. I always like to change it up so I would love to know what your ideas are for the holiday run-up.
Happy Holidays! I hope you have as much fun planning your advent calendar as I did ours. Now, the fun really begins as we start to do all of the activities!
Links to the Printables:
( I used Box.com to store the printables and you can download straight from my site. Just click the arrow on the bottom of each imaage and you should get the option to download the files. Enjoy!)