Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendars, Advent Books and 23 more days to go!

     Christmas Countdown
       more days!

Inspired by this awesome Advent Tradition idea from Savoring the Details, I decided (at the last minute) to do a Book Advent Calendar this year, which involves reading a Christmas story for each day of Advent. I gathered all our Christmas books together and was quite surprised at how many we had. However, we were short of the required 24. Not wanting to buy any, I popped down to the library and checked out some fun Christmas stories to fill in the missing number. I managed to get the first book wrapped after dinner last night, while the kids waited expectantly on the couch for their “surprise gift.”

I chose The Elf on the Shelf for the first book, since the elf had made his appearance that morning and the kids were asking me where the book was. Then, after bed time, I printed out some number labels that I designed earlier in the day, and spent the remainder of the evening wrapping the other 23 books!!! I randomly stuck the numbers on them, so each day the kids can find the number corresponding to the date, and we will read that story before bed. I wrapped the library books first, so I can return them to the library every few days, so we aren’t hogging them through the holidays.
Although the children already love reading books before bed each night, I love how this idea will make the holiday reading fun and exciting, and who doesn’t like opening a present every day?! This is cheap and fun – and is a great example of how not all “gifts” have to involve spending money and getting caught up in the whole consumerism aspect of Christmas. I like it!

I was also inspired by the idea of a family style Advent Calendar from Oh Happy Day. I printed out a little calendar and stuck it on the wall with some holiday ideas at the bottom, so we can fill in the dates as we progress through the month. I like the mindfulness of it. Life is so busy and I find that after December 1st rolls around, Christmas is here before I have even blinked. This month I am trying to live in the moment more, trying to see life through the eyes of a child, trying to regain a childlike sense of wonder and excitement. Christmas is a good time for this.

Our holiday ideas so far include:
Take Family Christmas Photo in the snow
Design Christmas card and address labels, then print and mail
Finish Gift List for family and friends
Talk with the kids about how the true spirit of Christmas is about thinking of others and helping others.
Open an Advent Christmas Book Present each night before bedtime.
Get Christmas Tree and spend an afternoon or evening together decorating it.
Decorate the house for Christmas.
Make an outdoor garland out of fresh pine and hang.
Listen to Christmas CD’s
Spend an afternoon or evening making Christmas sugar cookies
Make a special Christmas treat or dessert at least once a week
Buy gifts for local toy drive
Take the kids ice skating
Visit Santa
Attend the local Christmas Parade
Take the kids to the holiday market.
Go on a sleigh ride
Take a special trip into town to see the Christmas decorations and Christmas Tree
Drive around the ‘hood one evening with the kids in their PJ’s sipping hot chocolate and looking at all the Christmas decorations
Donate food items and winter clothing to local food pantry
Christmas Family Movie Night

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