Saturday, November 14, 2015

Activity Advent Calendar

You're possibly already familiar with the chocolate Advent calendar: a piece of cardboard with little doors numbered 1 through 25, behind each of which rests a piece of chocolate.  The idea is that you open one door each day of December leading up to Christmas.  When I was a child, we also had an Advent calendar with a little bear whom you moved each day to a new "room" of his fabric banner house.

For the past 4 years, we've done an activity Advent calendar, where each day of December has a special activity planned.  There are a million pinterest-worthy ways to set one of these up, but ours is just index cards in pockets.  I've worked hard to make the activities not about sweet treats and either 1) something we would be doing anyway or 2) something that can be done at home without disrupting the schedule.  We also acknowledge Hanukkah in our celebration every year.  Mostly because we like playing Dreidel, and the story of Hanukkah is a great story.  We're not Jewish, though, so we don't light a menorah.

One thing to make the activities work for me: I plan the month in advance, but I write each card the night before.  This has two advantages.  First, it lets me rearrange things as necessary.  Second, it reminds me of anything I need to get organized for the next day's activity treat.

December 2015 Activity Advent Calendar

1- Start Christmas crafts for family gifts
2- Set up Nativity scene
3- Make paper snowflakes
4- Christmas Lights bubble bath (light candles on the counter and put glow sticks in the tub)
5- Joyful Traditions (our town tree lighting ceremony)
6- Buy Christmas tree
7- Play Dreidel
8- Read Hanukkah Stories (I check these out from the library in advance)
9- Decorate our tree
10- Sesame Street Christmas videos on YouTube
11- Tell holiday jokes
12- See the lights at a local park
13- Church Christmas party
14- Christmas song sing-along
15- Christmas for animals (we smear pine cones with peanut butter and roll in birdseed, then hang them with ribbon from our trees outside)
16- Read Christmas Stories by the Christmas tree
17- The Gibbon's holiday concert
18- Support group Christmas party
19- Watch a Christmas movie
20- Children's Christmas program at church
21- Make snowman pancakes
22- Pajama Dance Party
23- Board Game night
24- Midnight service at church
25- Merry Christmas!

In case you don't have as many parties as we do this year, our backup activities are:

  • drink tea from the fancy china cups
  • wrap presents together
  • decorate bedrooms for Christmas
  • carol for our neighbors
  • dress up and take glamorous photos,
  • a winter scavenger hunt in the back yard.  

Of course, if you had fewer parties, you could spare a few extra sweet treats, and then you might want to bake cookies, decorate a gingerbread house, or drink hot cocoa.

Any other great ideas?  I'd love your suggestions.

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