As much as I hate to rush any holiday especially Christmas I am starting to make notes on what I’d like to do for our advent calendar. I believe I posted a year ago about the advent calendar I made with big pockets that I could stuff with my own treats. I try hard not to have our advent calendar be filled with candy or toys. I want it to be filled with memories. For me as I think back over Christmas it really isn’t about what gifts I received or gave, what I remember are the activities we did as a family. Having a gingerbread house decorating contest, going to the symphony and finding that our tickets were row 1 and moving seats at intermission, seeing the nutcracker, doing funny holiday photos with fun props including a blinking reindeer nose, decorating cookies etc. etc. I can hardly remember what I received last year much less any of the other years and in some ways coming up with a list of things I want and then finding a place for them in my home seems more of a burden than a treat.
So with just over a month to pull it all together I am starting to brainstorm ideas for memories to fill our advent calendar with. This year I feel like there is a bit more of a challenge in that our son is now in kindergarten and has less time to go and do fun activities. In years past I’ve gone on a Tuesday morning to ride the holiday carousel when there was no line or crowd to contend with. Now with kindergarten going on the weekend doesn’t sound as much fun. Here is what I have thus far in no particular order and numbered simply to keep track of how many ideas I have and how many more I need.
1. Christmas Mad libs
2. Bake Christmas cookies
3. Choose a child off the giving tree and shop for them
4. Complete a Christmas maze
5. Read a new Christmas book (this I’ve already ordered in the last school Scholastic book order, Olive the other Reindeer)
6. Write a letter to Santa (usually I have special paper)
7. Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights
8. Go shopping for gifts for our family
9. Make a holiday ornament- ideas for this year are TP reindeer, or button tree/wreath or cinnamon ornaments with cookie cutters
10. Decorate the Christmas tree (receive a new ornament for each family member to represent something significant from the year- ornaments have already been ordered off Etsy)
11. “Elf” a neighbor
12. Check out the reindeer cam- see Santa feeding the reindeer
13. Play Christmas Bingo
14. Make a snow globe
15. Make a wreath to hang on our front door
16. Go to Swanson’s to see the reindeer and holiday train
17. Visit Santa
18. Make snowflakes to decorate the windows
19. Have a Christmas movie night with hot chocolate and popcorn
20. Ride the holiday carousel
21. Go Christmas caroling
One little trick I do which still works because our son is not reading yet is that I write a note on the outside of the envelope or wrapped package in each pocket so I know/remember what is inside. This is super helpful if I need to move things around for scheduling reasons. I am sure that won’t work much longer but it’s been great in the past.
I’ve still got three empty spaces and plan to troll pinterest for some more ideas. Who knows what I will find and what I may decide to scrap at the last minute!
What are your favorite family traditions and memories over the holiday season?