Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Advent Calendar

With Thanksgiving being at the very end of November this year, it really threw me for a loop when we had to start decorating for Christmas while still eating Thanksgiving left overs.  I usually like to have Thanksgiving stand as a holiday by itself so I was in a scramble to get our decorations changed.  If it wasn't for our Advent calendar and celebrating every day until the 25th, then I wouldn't have been in such a rush.  This is a tradition we do every year and I know every one really enjoys it.

In years prior, we filled each day with one piece of candy to count down the days until Christmas.  It always brought excitement because candy is pretty limited in this house, so to get a piece (a Hershey's kiss or Tootsie roll ) everyday was cause for celebration.

This year, I decided to do something different.  I have seen numerous ideas and suggestions online for doing activities instead of getting candy.  On every day before Christmas, you do something special to celebrate the season.

I love this idea.

Even though Matt and I grew up in religious households, we haven't quite found our "calling" (bear with me) to start attending church, to tell our children the stories we learned growing up or to teach them about the real reason Christians celebrate Christmas.  This year is a little different.

Gabe has started getting more curious, wanting to know more and more about religion.  At his school, there is the option to go to Bible Club and miss a recess.  A lot of his friends go to Bible Club and bring their bibles to school.  Gabe doesn't really know what to make of this.  They tell him about the birth of Jesus and other stories from the Bible.  He has asked for a Bible for Christmas so he can read it and learn more about what his friends are telling him.

I am glad he is taking interest in this.  I want him to believe in something bigger than this world, that there is a larger plan in place and that we need to put others before ourselves.  Matt and I decided when we first talked about raising our kids that we would let them decide for themselves, if they chose to get baptized and accept Jesus as their Savior then that would be their choice and it wouldn't be forced on them.

With that in mind this holiday season, I decided to research different advent calendar activities to do every day before the 25th.  There are A LOT out there.  I have included my Pinterest board at the bottom full of great ideas!  After making my list, I realized I couldn't make all of them donations or with giving in mind, I just don't have time to be running donations all over town or bringing kids to and from different events every day.  The best part of this is idea is that you can make it whatever you want.  For our family, I combined some donation ideas, outside activities, art projects and "field trips."

Here is our list!

Catch snow in a bucket

Water color the snow

Paint snowflakes on the windows

Cut out snowflakes

Make paper stockings

Family board game Night

Make a Santa Beard in a bubble bath

Snowman Soup

Polar Express Story time

Write letters to Santa

Make Cookies for the Neighbors

Watch a Christmas movie with 

Sprinkly Popcorn

Take a Picture with Santa Claus

Read the Story of Jesus

Read the Night before Christmas

Make Popsicle Stick snowflakes

Have cookie cutter pizzas for dinner

Sort through toys to donate

Make Christmas cards for relatives

Drive around to see Christmas lights

Decorate paper bags for the 

Children’s Food Bank

Go to a Hockey game!

Glue cotton balls on Santa’s Beard

Blow bubbles in the snow

I printed these out and put arranged them inside our Advent calendar in the order of events I already had planned or based on traditions (like reading The Night Before Christmas on the 24th).  Some of these we have done before but I included a lot of new ideas and the kids have really enjoyed every day.

Cutting snowflakes out of coffee filters:

Catching snow in a bucket (or on your tongue):

Sort through toys to donate:

Take a picture with Santa Claus:

Make a Santa beard in a bubble bath:

Every day brings something different and it has been a lot of fun doing this activities and well as planning them!  What do you and your family do to celebrate the season?

Don't forget to pin this and save my ideas for your Christmas Advent activities!

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