Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Advent Countdown is On...

Okay, so please tell me that I'm not the only one who woke up shocked to discover that it was December 1st.  Wow... the Christmas countdown is on... time for an Advent Calendar!
A few days ago I was sitting around trying to figure out what to do... what to make... what would be cheap and easy... and I suddenly it came to me-- picture frame... twine... clothes pins.  All things I had around the house.  I jumped off the couch and started racing around to gather my supplies.  I'm pretty sure Doug had thought I'd lost my mind, but soon he got the vision and stepped in to help out.  In the end I think it ended up looking pretty great.  This frame used to be a chalkboard-- so I popped out the chalkboard portion and tacked five lengths of twine along the back.

I really wanted to use vintage looking tags-- but I didn't have any.  So instead I cut some cream colored cardstock into the shape of tags.

Then I used a dollar store number stencil out of Caleb's crafting supplies to number the tags.  I traced them out with pencil and filled them in with a black sharpie.

In the end the clothes pins I had lying around the house were too big-- so I picked up some mini ones at Michael's.  They were the perfect size.

Each day Caleb (& Eme) get to take the appropriate number off of the frame.  On the back of each number is a Christmas-y activity that our family will do together.  Some activities will be big and awesome-- some will be small and easy to accomplish with minimal effort on my part.

I decided that I reserve the right to only commit the daily activity to the card on the night before... I have a list of things we want to do-- but I'm not committing until I know what each day is going to look like.  But Caleb doesn't need to know that... of course :)

I've got a list of activities started... some of these items will be done more than once, some we may not do at all, and I will probably add other things to list as the days go on.  Here's what I've got so far...

Eat some candy canes
Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows—of course J
Go for a drive and find the best Christmas lights in town
Go visit the nativity
Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn and pajamas
Read a portion of the Christmas story from the Bible
Go see Santa in the Mall and admire him from afar (my kids would be way too terrified to sit on his lap-- that I know for sure!!)
Decorate Christmas cookies
Have a Christmas orange
Make a gingerbread house
Make Christmas cards
Decorate the Christmas tree
Do a little Christmas shopping
Make a Christmas Craft
Make snowflakes
Sing some Christmas carols
Read the Grinch that Stole Christmas-- and then watch the movie
Go Skating (I will watch from the sidelines with my bad knee)
Have a Christmas Music Dance Party

And that is our Advent Calendar.  Our activity for tonight is-- eat candy canes... I figured we should start out small and work our way on to the bigger items.  I don't want to set the bar too high right off the bat :) 

Are you doing an Advent Calendar this year?  Any other suggestions of fun activities I could add to my list?


Trev and Rebekah said...

I just posted about what we are doing. I don't have pictures up yet.

Love the calendar you made!

Isaiah also has a little wooden tree he made this week which he get a little candy each day to eat. Then we have an USBORNE advent book that he sets up a different person from the nativity scene too. So excited about this month.

Sabrina said...

Ooooh...this is SO awesome! We started this

but it is a little (or a lot!) heavy for the age of our kids. It's one of those traditions we'll start for the sake of it sticking later.

But I LOVE LOVE LOVE your idea. What about incorporating others into it somehow? Give baking to someone. Fill a stocking with socks, toiletries etc. for a local shelter. Pick up extra items at the grocery store for a food bank.

Might have to try and find my inner crafter for this! Looking forward to hearing what other ideas you get!

Elissa said...

Oh, GREAT ideas Sabrina! Gonna have to add some of those to my list!!

Gord and Andrea said...

perfectly lovely... as usual :)

Jamie said...

It's so pretty. Great idea Elissa. I have a print-out here of tons of ideas for something like this. I could print you a copy if you want!

Erica said...

Looking good Elissa!
I too was caught by surprise this morning and had to un-earth my advent calendar from the Christmas decoration box!
Also, my parents had the EXACT frame in the basement of the house I grew up in! I think it looks much nicer as an advent calendar than it does with family portraits circa 1977 in it!

Jen @ RamblingRenovators said...

Good job on a quick and easy advent calendar! And I like how you think... mom's should always reserve the right to keep some secrets from the kids, ha!

Team AC said...

Great idea, Elissa. You should post this straight to Pinterest... I'm sure heaps of people would love it!
Like your ideas too. Another one: go outside and gather some pine branhes and holly and make a wreath out of it.

Anonymous said...

Hope your knee can take the Christmas music dance party! And your advent calendar is so much better than the Santa ones in the store.
Aunt Char

Unknown said...

This is such a great idea! I love that you are using activities instead of gifts! It looks great too!

Cassie {Hi Sugarplum} said...

So cute! I wish I'd waited to add the activities on ours this year! I was going through all the little tins last night moving stuff around because our plans keep changing! You have a smart idea!