>> Wednesday, December 1, 2010
When my second was born my in-laws gave us this beautiful Advent Calendar Cabinet. However, it took me until last year to figure out the right way to use it. The drawers are too small to hold gifts for all three children; candy was the only fit. However, I did not enjoy counting down the days with only candy. Then last year I came across the idea of an activity Advent Calendar. Simple genius!
I set to making my list and writing it on curls of red paper to tuck in each drawer. Occasionally I'd stick three Hershey's Kisses in as well. I mean, I don't mean no candy, just wanted something more than candy. The activities were a huge success with all three of my munchkins. They're very anxious to start the tradition again tomorrow morning. While I was preparing this year's list I took a trip down memory lane. Here's what happened last year:
December 1: Get out Christmas books
December 2: Make Christmas cards
We made recycled cards for the card swap and friends. I cut apart old Christmas cards and let the kids make new cards by gluing the old pieces onto folded card stock. We'll definitely be doing this one again.
December 3: Ride the Pink Pig and take pictures with Santa at Lenox
While this is by far not the Rich's Pink Pig I grew up riding around the Great Tree on the roof of Rich's downtown, we've still made this a family tradition. Admittedly maybe more for this Atlanta born and bred momma.
Lenox gives us a two-fer. The Pink Pig and a gorgeous Santa Claus. I go early in the morning and early enough in December that schools aren't out ensuring no lines for the pig or the man.
December 4: Put Christmas lights and bows along the fence outside and drink hot cocoa to stay warm
December 5: Play the snowman game under snowflakes
I purchased several boxes of glittery snowflake ornaments at The Dollar Tree and strung them from the ceiling the night before. The kids had to run through the house to understand what "under snowflakes" could possibly mean.
December 6: Paint everyone's toenails Christmas colors
December 7: Ice cream sundae bar after dinner
An inexpensive at home ice cream bar beats paying over $3 per kid for a scoop at the Ice Cream shops.
December 8: Stay up late to watch a Charlie Brown Christmas in pajamas
December 9: Entire family, including the dog, go on car ride after dark to see Christmas lights
There are some fabulously overdone yard displays close to our house, example being the photo above. No need to pay high prices to drive through Lanier or Stone Mountain with this fun trip.
December 10: Make crystal snowflakes
This craft does double duty as science experiment and will be another must do again this year. The kids hung their large snowflakes in their windows all the way until Springtime last year.
December 11: Build a gingerbread house
An inexpensive pre-baked kit from Target was super fun. All it needed was extra frosting and candy from our own stash.
December 12: Go to Jingle Jog 5K to cheer on Mommy then to the Zoo for free hot cocoa and visit with Santa
I had an early morning 5K to run with my girlfriend. The kids came and had fun waiting on us with all the freebie booths, rock climbing, face painting and characters.
Then we headed to Zoo Atlanta for their members' Christmas event featuring free food and hot cocoa and another great Santa. Turned out these pictures that I took at the zoo were the ones I used inside our family Christmas card last year.
December 13: Destroy and EAT the gingerbread house
Something much more fun than building a gingerbread house...demolishing it.
December 14: Write and mail letters to Santa
Macy's had a large colorful mailbox set up last year for the kids to drop their letters in. I'm thinking this year the post office and a trip next door to the library will be just fine.
December 15: Make candy snowflake necklaces
While only my daughter let me take her picture wearing it the boys had no problem making and eating theirs.
December 16: Help MomMom build a cookie house
I'm fortunate for my mother to live only two doors down the street. Last year she wanted to make a cookie house with the kids. She'd pre-built the house out of old boxes and had all the icing, candy and cookies ready to go.
December 17: Make wreaths from hand print cutouts
December 18: Stay up late to watch Frosty the Snowman in pajamas
December 19: Go skiing...wii skiing
December 20: Go see a movie at the theater
December 21: Have breakfast for dinner
December 22: Make reindeer food
December 23: Stay in pjs, play games, watch holiday movies all day with mom AND dad
December 24: Watch Polar Express; drinking hot cocoa when the kids on the train do; sprinkle reindeer food in the yard when the train stops for the reindeer; open the first family gift of Christmas when the boy does.
I love this time of year and can't wait to start all over again this year!
Edited December 2011: The list of advent activities for 2010 are here.