Saturday, November 28, 2009


This year, instead of our usual seasonal tree advent calendar, we've decided to change things up a bit. We'll still be keeping our trusty tree painted on our living room window; but we'll be using it for other seasonal decorations (snowflakes, winter birds, gnomes, etc.)

At Liv's farmschool recently, they made paper cups from folded squares of...well, paper. Liv has become very interested in origami and drinking from these folded pieces of wood pulp. After finding dozens of these things around the house, I had an AHA! moment when thinking about our advent calendar. (And then I found that someone truly fabulous had had this AHA! moment before me and had already made them, but oh well, today I celebrate my own AHA!)

Instead of the long crafty day of creating a variety of winter and Christmas decorations from construction paper, we just gathered up a plethora of these cups, folded a few more, wrote numbers on them and hung them with clothespegs from the fishing line we have hanging through the living room (good for hanging art work on when all the bulletin boards and fridge space in the house is full!).

I still had the list of Advent activities saved on the computer. After a quick search of the local Christmas events, I added a few to our list (make sure to only add a 'few' or you may get tired out. Also, have one or two low-key standins for days that you find that although you had some parade written in, someone is vomiting on the couch, thus dashing your plans.) Also, put on the things you would be doing anyhow. I know this sounds like 'cheating' but, man, the holidays are so crazy and busy that just GETTING the tree is an event worthy of the calendar!

Anyhow, here is a quick list of things that we have done on our countdown to Christmas:

Santa Claus Parade
Christmas at museum
Read a Christmas book
Write letters to Santa
Make paper snowflakes
Face painting
Get Christmas tree
Put up Christmas lights
Decorate Christmas tree
Candlelit bubble bath
Family game night
Donate gift to needy kids
Make bird food pine cones
Go skating
Moonlight walk
Christmas train Cut down tree
Dinner by candlelight
Make gingerbread cookies
Watch Christmas movie with popcorn
Christmas light drive in jammies
Christmas carols
Donate food
Homeschool Christmas concert
Make snowflakes
Wrap presents

Please add to the list in the comments section if you can think of any!!!


Anonymous said...

Thats pretty extensive... although you forgot rum & eggnog for Mama. As far as watching movies "Elf" w/ Will Ferrell is great!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing Jackie - I've been struggling terribly with this whole upcoming season and have been trying desperately to think of ways to make it fun for the girls still, but not be constantly reminded of what's missing. This may be just the perfect soloution . . .

Hope you don't mind if I may 'steal' it from you???


Anonymous said...

I have no additional ideas. I've been sitting here for 10 minutes, and every time I come up with one I see you already have it. So, mostly, I just wanted to say I think this is great, and I love the cups. Happy Advent!

Suddenwidow said...

Great ideas Jackie! Thanks for sharing! We usually have a fun advent calendar but this year I went with the dollar store chocolate one. I now feel a little more inspired and my kids will appreciate it!

Love Debbie

Krista said...

I have to ask - what is "Christmas Train"? Is this something local? Sounds fun! Enjoy your month of activities :) We did this a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed how the month panned out. We kept many of our activities very simple, but it was a neat way to focus on fun and get through what can be a very difficult, dark month for many. I think we also need a daily advent to get us through November and January! The rest of the year can stay spontaneous, but those months are doozies!

Krista said...

Oh! I found a photo of our calendar that year...

... and a post with our activity list. Many of the same ideas! I'll share it with you:

Go to the “Singing Christmas Tree” performance.

Have fancy sundaes after dinner.

Attend our Teddy Bears Christmas party.

Go on a Christmas lights tour after dark.

Deliver our Christmas cards our neighbors and friends.

Bake mint Nanaimo Bars.

Write a letter to Santa.

Christmas tree hunting @ Gogo’s.

Decorate Christmas tree.

Watch a Christmas movie before bed together.

Bake shortbread.

Donate non-perishables to the food hamper.

Make Christmas cards.

Sing Christmas carols together.

Go to our home school Christmas craft fair and concert.

Make hot chocolate with peppermint sticks and whipped cream.

Go skating.

Make paper snowflakes.

Have breakfast for dinner.

Have a big bubble bath.

Go feed the ducks.

Make pinecone bird feeders.

Eat dinner completely by candlelight.

Great memories!

Jenn said...

This is the time of year for celebration, joy and light. Such a lovely, hopeful time of year!! I will be thinking of you this holiday season.

I also wanted to tell you about a craft book give-away I am having, in case you are interested in them. You may already have them, I don't know...but if you don't, I wanted you to have a chance to win them so you and your kiddos can do some fun crafting!!


Anonymous said...

You are such an inspiration Jackie. Thank you. I was looking for a way to have the Christmas tradition of the advent calendar without the junk or cost. We are now doing this in our home and it is such a wonderful way of celebrating the holiday season. Keep the fabulous ideas coming -- the less creative of us rely on your fabulousness.