Advent Activities Rundown

>> Monday, November 28, 2011

I cannot believe it is only three days until I begin our annual advent activity tradition. I posted last year about the things we included in 2009, the first year we switched from candy to fun, you can find that post here. Last year I had planned to post our activities six days at a time as they happened but the month was just far too busy for blogging and I only posted the first six. Instead of blogging them in January I saved it for a more timely! I've had several requests for our list of activities. I'm still working on this year's list. Many of these will remain the same since in just two years they've become things the kids really look forward to.

But without further ado here's what happened in 2010:

December 1st
Decorate Your Own Christmas Tree in Your Bedroom

December 2nd
Ice Cream Sundae Bar After Dinner
The slip of paper had to specify after dinner or the kids would've been asking for these as soon as breakfast was over.

December 3rd
Write and Mail Letters to Santa
After they created their letters to Santa we drove to the mall to drop them in the large red mailbox Macy's has set up specifically to collect letters for Santa. The kids enjoy the large Santa mailbox and I like the fact Macy's donates a dollar for every letter to the Make a Wish Foundation.

December 4th
Visit Santasaurus and Eat a Cupcake
The natural history museum we have a membership at does a Christmas event with themed national decorated trees, carolers, crafts and free cupcakes.

December 5th
Create Christmas Cards
Post on how we make new Christmas cards from recycling old Christmas cards here.

December 6th
Visit Santa and Ride the Pink Pig

The Pink Pig isn't nearly the same as it was when I was kid growing up in Atlanta and rode it on the top of the Rich's building downtown but I still have to include this tradition, if only for me.

December 7th
Make a Handprint Wreath and Deliver to Great Grandma Gene
The blog post on how we made the simple handprint wreath here. We specifically worked with three different shades of white hands covered in blue and silver accents since those are Grandma Gene's favorite Christmas colors.

December 8th
Make Homemade Christmas Ornaments
These were made with pipe cleaners, old night light bulbs, pom poms, ribbon and googly eyes.

Then we cut some felt and Thing One made an owl ornament.

They were having so much fun it couldn't stop there. With google eyes, pom poms, felt and a glue gun on the table I grabbed a bag of pinecones I'd purchased at the Dollar Tree and more wacky ornaments were made.

December 9th
While the kids were asleep I hung snowflakes from the dollar store all over the ceiling in the playroom.

And for breakfast they ate snowmen. Refrigerator biscuit dough mashed together. Bacon bits for eyes. Pepperoni cut smiles. Shredded cheese scarves and noses. Edible markers made the buttons.

Out of the oven and ready to be devoured.

December 10th
Family Car Ride To See Christmas Lights
There are plenty of Christmas light events we could pay to see in town. But they are quite pricey. Instead we all pile in the car, including the dog, and drive around our local neighborhoods. Plenty of great light displays there. This miniature tree farm is super creative.

This one has its own radio station to listen to music.

The night always ends with the kids wanting to see our own neighbor's Santa in his sleigh.

December 11th
Cheer on Thing Two and Dad at the Jingle Jog
This past year Thing Two wanted to run the Jingle Jog 5K with his dad. We all woke early to cheer them on. 

The event has lots of free activities and food. Free face painting for Princess Fierce.

Thing One stayed bundled and near the free hot chocolate truck.

The Jingle Jog always has lots of costumes and fun characters running, both human and canine.

And if that isn't enough there are free Snow Cream Popsicles and a delightful Santa and Mrs. Claus mingling. 

But the highlight was watching our boys finish their 5k together...literally with bells on.

December 12th
Wrap Sibling Presents

Each kiddo helps me wrap the presents they chose for their brothers or sister. And then with great flourish and pride places them under the tree.

December 13th
Build and Decorate Personal "Gingerbread" Houses
In the past we've decorated the gingerbread house kits but I'm always disappointed with their lack of frosting and candies and how to properly divide a four sided house between three artistic kids. This year I made individual houses from graham crackers. 

For the front and back of each house use two full graham cracker sheets. Score the top as shown with a serrated knife.

Gently snap where scored. Use two halves to make the sides and two more for the roof. Secure with frosting. Then turn them over to the kids to create...

Princes Fierce with her subtly decorated home with pretzel wreath.

Thing Two had fun with the candy and mini chocolate chips.

And Thing One created a mosaic door with a side walk for his.

December 14th
Make Crystal Snowflakes
All the details on how we make these can be found here.

December 15th
Make Reindeer Candy Canes
Candy canes, googly eyes, pom poms, and pipe cleaners along with a couple of low temp glue guns were the necessary supplies.

Use the glue gun to attach a pom pom nose and two eyes. My low temp guns are safe for the kids to use.

Twist pipe cleaners to create antlers.

Or create a horn for a candy cane unicorn if you're Princess Fierce.

They loved making these and when we were finished decided to package them up with a little note and put them in the mailboxes of all the kids in the neighborhood and a few local friends too.

December 16th
Playdate with a Friend

This was a new one this year the kids were very excited about. Didn't seem to matter that they play with this same friend all the time. Somehow when it's in the Advent Activities it's even more special.

December 17th
Destroy and Eat the "Gingerbread" Houses
While this picture may look like fun. It turned out over the past couple of days these houses firmed up quite a bit...

Heavy knives had to be used....

...this only added to the fun...

and the awesomeness!

December 18th
Make Magical Reindeer Food

Apparently I have no pictures but we make reindeer food every year. We mix quick oats, glitter, mini chocolate chips and whatever else the kids think the reindeer might like and put them in small plastic bags set aside for Christmas Eve. Since I'm without pictures you can check out this gem of blog post that has lots of pictures and poems and ideas for Reindeer Food.

December 19th
Homemade Hot Chocolate from Candy Bars
Two like milk, one likes white chocolate. I bought chocolate bars for each. Heated heavy cream in a saucepan and melted the chopped candy bar in the hot cream. This was a decadent treat for all.

December 20th
Bake a Cake for the Piano Teacher
The kids chose vanilla butter cake tinted green and baked in my Christmas tree bundt pan. They opted to dust it with powdered sugar to look like snow instead of using a glaze. They were very proud to hand this gift to their teacher the next morning.

December 21st
Create Miniature Fireplaces
This was a happy accident. I had plans to do a completely different craft but there was a supply failure. A quick turn to google produced this project with pattern. I had all these supplies on hand and the kids enjoyed finding all the "logs" in the yard themselves. They glued all the pieces on and then added their own extra decorations with the wreaths and photos, mantles, clocks, and stockings. It was a lot of fun and one year later they each have these still in their rooms. They've become fireplaces for stuffed animals and Barbies.

December 22nd
Build a Cookie House at MomMom's
Another popular repeat activity. And one that has already been secured for this year too. My mom builds a house out of boxes then invites the kids over to decorate with homemade frosting and a lot of cookies.

This year the boys took one side and...

...Princess Fierce with her cousin claimed the other as the girl side.

The final product showed a clear difference in boy and girl design styles.

December 23rd
Bake Cookies for Santa
We had it on good authority these Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies were what Santa wanted. You can find the recipe here.

December 24th
Watch Polar Express with All the Extras
For several years each Christmas Eve we don our pajamas and watch Polar Express. We drink hot chocolate on the train when the kids do on the train. We spread magic reindeer food in the front yard when the caribou block the tracks. And we let the kids open the first present of Christmas at the end.

Are any of you planning a full calendar of activities to countdown to Christmas? I'd love to hear what different things you include. I must confess I wish we were all girls so I could toss in have a spa day and paint our toe nails Christmas colors. Actually one of my boys would go for that. I love how different they are. Here's hoping we're all ready for December and have a very Merry Christmas Season!


I'm woefully negligent in blogging but here's the list of activities we did in 2011. Some have become expected traditions and others are brand new.

Decorate Your Bedroom Trees
Campout Under the Christmas Tree
Christmas Pancake Breakfast and see The Muppets with Dad
Caroling and Cupcakes at Fernbank Museum
Photos with Santa and Ride the Pink Pig
Write and Mail Letters to Santa
Get out Christmas Books and Make a Candy Necklace
Make an Ornament
Parents' Night Out, Kids' Fun at Church
Watch AChristmas Story with Mom and Dad After Dinner
Build Santa's Sleigh Craft and Watch The Flight Before Christmas
Make Cyrstal Snowflakes
Build Graham Cracker "Gingerbread" Houses
Destroy and Eat Your Houses
Make Christmas Cards
Wrap Sibling Gifts
Sleepover at MomMom and PawPaw's
Build a Cookie House with MomMom
Go Look at Christmas Lights
Reindeer Day: Reindeer Food, Reindeer Pasta, Reindeer Cookies
Snuggle, Drink Cocoa and Watch a New Holiday Movie with Mom
Make Elf Donuts
Bake Cookies
Polar Express Night

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