The planning that I have started is that of our Advent Calendar. I found out a lot of great information about Advent Calendars throughout this hunt I am on.
This is what I am looking for:
1. I want to make it myself. I love the homemade Christmas feel. Now that I have children I think it is really important to encourage creativity. I am a super creative person, so this just fills this huge need for me.
2. I want it to be one that can be used for multiple years. I don't want to have to make it yearly.
3. I want it to be filled with more than just sweets.
Now I found several that I like. I am sure that I will adapt them to make my own version and to make it exactly what I want.
Here are the links to the ones I like.
I am really thinking it will be an adaptation of the first link and the third link - I am thinking it will go on our refrigerator. That middle link is just too cute and may be used as well. We are also wrapping 24 Christmas books and reading each one at bedtime. We picked up most of them at Half Price Books (a used book store) and Valley Thrift Shop (books were $0.29 each!).
This link is not to an actual calendar, but it gives a lot of different activities. I will be using this for coloring pages, craft ideas, recipes and the like.
Then I found some great ideas on what to fill our Advent Calendar with.
- Bake Cookies and give them to a local nursing home
- Show the love of St Nicholas by filling an old shoe with treats and giving it to a neighbor
- Clean out closets for donations
- Family Movie Night
- go look at Christmas displays (here in Cincinnati we have a live nativity scene)
- Make Christmas Cards
- Send Christmas Cards
- Visit Santa
- Bathtime with Christmas Carols
- Local Tree Lighting Ceremony
- Make an ornament and give it to a neighbor
- Decorate every door in your house
- Write a letter to Santa
- Write a Christmas Story together
- Make Christmas drawings and use glitter for the snow.
- Create a Christmas Scene with Shaving Cream
- Create Cards for friends and family
- Make gift tags
- Fancy dress dinner
- Dessert first night
- Paper Snowflakes for the Windows
- Hot Chocolate and Popcorn snack night
- Sing and Dance to Christmas Music
- make and hang edible gifts for birds and squirrels
- Christmas Jokes
- Christmas Quotes from Movies and Books
- Christmas Scriptures
- Christmas Treasure Hunt
- Giving Day - books/toys/clothes
- Ice Skating
- New PJ Night
- PJ Dinner
- Ornament Decorating Party
- Christmas Cookie Exchange
- Gingerbread House
- Coloring Pages
- Christmas Crafts
- Family Traditions
- Start planning with activities you will already be doing.
- Do large activities early.
- DO NOT OVER DO IT! (okay that one is for me with the crafts!)
- Write down the activities in your planner/on your calendar so you know what is coming up.
- Get the whole family involved.
- Advent starts 4 Sundays before the 25th. (This year that means it should start on November 27th)
- December 1, place up your Nativity Scene but without the Holy Family.
- December 6, Saint Nicholas Day (celebrated in our family by hanging out our stockings on December 5th)
- December 14, Place Mary and Joseph across the room from the Nativity Scene.
- December 20, Move them closer.
- December 23, Place them in the manger.
- December 25, Add baby Jesus