Any ideas for an Advent?
Shortly after Christmas of 2009, my wife and I bought a cheap advent. We tried to think up of some activities and things to do to place in the slot of every day, but we couldn't think of things to fill the full 25 days. As much as I hate to say this, some days we just got lazy and placed a piece of candy in the day. It certainly didn't turn out the way we wanted.
Ironically, after this past Christmas, I found a really neat advent from the San Franciso music box company that was on sale. It plays music and figurine elves dance about. We thought it was pretty neat and think our kiddos will get some enjoyment out of it for years to come, so we upgraded the previous advent with this nifty one.
If you do an advent (or remember your family doing one as a child), what what are some of your traditions? We came up with a few special activities, baking cookies, etc...but I'd love to get some ideas so this year (and others to come) will be much better than this past attempt.
We bought an Advent calender a few years ago in the shape of a chimney and there are bricks numbered 24-1, and for each 2 days (bricks) pulled, a little Santa Claus slides down the chimney. My older son loves it and when Santa is about half way down the chimney, he knows how much closer it is to Christmas. when Santa is in the fireplace its Christmas.
I have a tradition I celebrate for myself. I have a few different Advent calendars one of which has scripture behind every door. Every morning during advent I open them and I always save the scripture one for last. It helps me to reflect what the Season is all about for me, to remember Who it is about.
You could put in a combination of activities to do together, Christmas treats, Christmas jokes, etc. If you want to give a bigger Christmas treat or trinket that doesn't fit in the slot, you could hide it and then put a clue in the slot and let them do a treasure hunt for it. For example...maybe new Christmas socks or a new Christmas book to read together. As far as activities, here are a few ideas:
1) Christmas movie night with popcorn and hot chocolate.
2) Driving around to see Christmas lights.
3) Gingerbread houses (we make graham cracker houses....super easy and the kids each make their own)
4) Doing acts of service for family members.
5) Deliver goodies to neighbors
6) Go Christmas caroling
7) Decorating the Christmas tree
8) Making candles- (Can use the beeswax candle kits. Roll the candles and then use mini Christmas cookie cutters to cut out shapes from contrasting color beeswax sheets and stick to the candles)
9) Make Christmas treats- ie fudge, cookies, dipping chocolates, etc.
10) Read a Christmas story together
11) Make Christmas ornaments or Christmas crafts
12) Make your own marshmallows, using cookie cutter Christmas shapes
13) Go ice skating or sledding
14) Put together Christmas baskets or packages for military personel, someone in need, etc.
15) Play a Christmas game (We have Christmas Yahtzee, Christmas Trivia, Christmas Carol game, etc)
16) You could also intersperse nativity pieces throughout the month where you gradually *build* a nativity set and save Baby Jesus for Christmas Eve. (You could use a mini nativity set so the pieces fit in your Advent or you could give clues as to where to find the next piece). That would take up as many days as there are nativity pieces. You could also add a scripture to go with each piece if you wanted.
17) If you have school parties, church parties, recitals, etc., just put those in on the appropriate days.
18) Visit to Santa
19) Christmas shopping day (We take our kids shopping so they can find gifts for each other)
20) My husband is sitting here saying, "eggnog and gingerale". It's his favorite Christmas beverage.
21) Make homemade peppermint ice cream
22) Host a Christmas party--could do an ornamnet exchange, white elephant exchange, etc.
23) Decorate gingerbread men.
There are a few ideas to get you started. Hopefully that's the kind of things you were looking for. Have fun planning!
The Family Fun magazine always has great ideas....you could browse their website for ideas on family activities, crafts, treats, etc. I save all my past issues and pour throught them regularly.
Oh, and one other thought...I don't know how old your kids are, but last year we sat down as a family in October. I asked everyone to come up with one Christmas activity they wanted to do as a family, as well as one Christmas treat they wanted to make. We made sure we included those things in our Dec. calendar so that everyone had a chance to do something that really sounded fun to them.
I thought of a couple more things:
24) Have Christmas pancakes for breakfast or dinner. (We have a Christmas pancake pan that has shapes like snowman, star, Santa, angel, reigndeer, etc.) But you could easily do snowman pancakes (3 circles stacked, and decorate face with edibles) or Santa pancake (round pancake with banana eyes (chocolate chip pupil) and whipped cream mustache and beard)
25) Have a *campout* in the living room, next to the Christmas tree. Our kids LOVE to do this. You could watch a Christmas movie, have smores in the fireplace, etc. and then go to sleep in your sleeping bags.
26) Make bird feeders for the birds- pincones with peanut butter and birdseed, bird feeders made from oranges, etc. (I haven't done the oranges kind but a friend of mine did).
This link here has a great list of Advent activities that you could consider. I personally like to do a mix of gifts/trinkets for my daughter and activities. It still lets her get some gifts through out the season, but also shows her that Christmas should be about building memories together as a family. We do try to find an age appropriate way to tie in the real reason for Christmas each day. Right now it is really simple b/c she is only 2 (will be 3 this year).
Here are a few more ideas.
1.New Christmas story books
2.Go pick out a new ornament
3.One night have child #1 pick a Christmas movie to watch
another night have child # 2 pick a christmas movie to watch
4.Take the kids out shopping to pick out their gift for each other
6.Make bird feeders (tie a thread on a pinecone, cover the pinecone in peanutbutter and cover in bird seed, hang outside)
I think I'm obsessed with this thread. cheesy
We have a Nativity Wall Hanging Advent Calendar where there are felt Nativity pieces in the pockets and then you put a piece a day in/around a stable so that by Christmas you have a full nativity scene. It's been a favorite and is pretty worn out. We use it every year and then use a variety of other Advent Calendar ideas but don't use them all every year.
One Advent *calendar* we have done, but not every year, is a Christmas sock nativity. It was an idea taken from the Family Fun magazine. We will be doing it again this year, so after Christmas last year I started searching for 12 pair of Christmas socks (making sure everyone in my family had a similar # of socks). We have a garland with 24 clothespins, each with a countdown to Christmas number. Then we hang the Christmas socks from the clothespins. We will fill those socks with little trinkets, treats, family activities, Christmas jokes, etc. Then we hang the garland, with 24 different sizes/colors/patterns Christmas socks. It is super cute and I LOVE it.
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