It is nice to pass on some traditions at Christmas. I have fond memories counting down to Christmas Day on my homemade advent calendar when I was a child. This calander gave me an instant answer to my ‘when will it be Christmas?’ question and provided a small release for my growing excitement each day. My father’s family is Danish and one of my Aunts had made me this calendar when I was very young and each year my parents filled it with little gifts for every day until December 24. It was fun getting a small toy, trading cards, or a sweet treat, each day until Christmas. When Annika was born my Mother unpacked this calendar and sent it to us to use each year at Christmas, and we have so far. Now that we have 3 kids (the twins will start to get into Christmas this year) we had to decide what we were going to do with the Advent calendar. We chose to keep the tradition going but to modify it to fit our new motto, experience over stuff.
We did not want to use three calendars as this would mean 72 gifts every year, and we do not need to collect more knick-knacky kids stuff. Even if half of the days contain food treats it still would mean a lot of shopping. We considered having one gift to share each day but that was asking for problems with the age of our kids. Sharing was a key to the final decision however; not sharing stuff but sharing activities. This year we will be tying little hand written notes to the calendar each describing a special surprise for that day. A couple of the surprises will be gifts (I’m thinking of writing down clues to where the gifts are hidden) but most will be family activities we can do that day. We have listed activities we will use for our calendar (your suggestions are welcome). We are going to try to make a schedule but we will change the notes around depending on weather and other things that may get in the way. As you can see there should be plenty of things to do on cold rainy (or snowy) days.
- Sledding (for us this will most likely mean a trip to our local mountains)
- Play on the beach (will be cold but the kids don’t mind)
- Make a gingerbread house
- Indoor treasure hunt with special Coins!
- Bake cookies
- Make Christmas crafts
- Visit the library
- Donate canned goods to the food bank
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Visit Santa
- Go to a kids Christmas Party
- Go see a Christmas light display
- Make Christmas ornaments
- Movie night (New movie with popcorn and a later bedtime)