I know it's December 6 (already! Happy Birthday Dad!) but I wanted to share our Christmas Advent with you this year because my littles have been loving it...and I figured if my kids love it then your kids may too. If you haven't started an Advent this season Do Not Worry! You still have plenty of time to jump in and if your kids are anywhere near mine in age (5, 3, 1) than they probably won't know that you are starting a few days late anyways and I'm sure they will still love the daily activity of it all, heck I do!
I know I've shown you our Christmas Advent house before, but for those that are new to the blog here is a peek at what it looks like. It's a simple little house containing small 2 x 2 inch doors leading to little compartments behind each one. Last year I filled our house with candy which the kids loved but it was just a bit of a candy overload for me as their momma. Especially since they wanted to eat the candy at 7 in the morning. So this year I decided to do an "Experience" Christmas Advent where we would forget the candy and instead I would place little pieces of paper inside each door printed with something for them to do each day. I saw this idea on Pinterest a while ago and I thought it was so neat that I had to make up my own!
PS. Have you joined Pinterest yet? It's sooo awesome, inspiration galore...you have got to join! My Pinterest boards can be found here if you want to follow!
Here's a little look at my printed "Experience" Christmas Advent above. I came up with 24 ideas for days 1-24 in December and then on Day 25, Christmas Day, the kids will get to unwrap the little baby Jesus that belongs to their Nativity set since he really is the best gift of all!
If you would like to print one out for your family just click here: Christmas Advent 2011
You could always change some of them to suit your family's needs better, I realize not everyone may have our family's traditions. But maybe some of these you'll find you like and will want to add to what you already do. Some other ideas I had that didn't make this list that we will also do include:
Write a Letter to a Soldier Overseas (with mom and dad's help of course!)
Send a box of goodies to a Soldier Overseas
Sing Carols at a Nursing Home
Shovel the Sidewalk for a Neighbor
Bring a Tray of Goodies to a Hospital (for the staff or the patients)
Make Popcorn or Cranberry Garland for the Tree
Make Homemade Marshmallows
Decorate a Gingerbread House
I cut each Experience into strips with a paper cutter and then used a calendar to match them to a day that I thought fit best since we have to work around the kids' school and activities schedule. I also placed "Visit a Nativity" and "Drive Around to See Christmas Lights" and similar ones like those on weekend days since we have more time to do those types of activities on the weekends.
Then I stuffed each door with an Experience and Voilà! our Christmas Advent was ready to party!
I made sure December 1st had the slip of paper with "Read Elf on the Shelf" as I thought this would be the perfect kick-off to reading the story and having our Elf (named Stocking by the kids) start magically appearing in our house.
If you don't know about Elf on the Shelf you can read more about it here. It is basically a little Elf that appears in your house in a different spot each day and watches over your children. He or she reports back to Santa every night when they sleep to tell him the Good and the Bad of the day. Then Santa writes it all down and decides on Christmas Eve if you belong on the Naughty or Nice list. I saw a commercial on CBS saying that there is going to be an Elf on the Shelf movie this Friday so I think I'll switch a couple slips of paper around so that will be our 'Christmas Movie Night" Activity!
I put the "Sprinkle Food for Santa's Reindeer" slip of paper in the December 24 compartment. For this one I'll make my usual mix I make every year for the kids...
1 cup dry Oatmeal
1 Tbsp Green Sugar Sprinkles
1 Tbsp Red Sugar Spinkles
Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar or ziploc bag. Let your kids sprinkle handfuls on the driveway or lawn on the night before Christmas to give Santa's reindeer a snack to eat while they wait for Santa to do his job!
I hope you try out our Christmas Advent, it really is so much fun to do.
And as always, if you have any questions just let me know!