Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent is Upon Us

It's hard to believe it is already December 1st!  I am having a hard time with how quickly this year is passing. 

Every year for Advent, we count down the days to Christmas with our Advent activity bags.  Several years ago, I made 25 fabric bags.  I've always intended to add felt numbers to the front of each bag...but cutting so many numbers out of felt has never felt like something I want to spend hours doing.  Each year, I put a slip of paper in each bag with an activity to do together that day.  You can see the activities we have done in past years here and here.

My goal with the whole experience isn't to make our holidays more busy.  My hope is that by planning one activity, craft, or experience for each day, we will spend more time together on these activities and less time rushing around.  Life has felt much more busy than I would prefer lately, so I tried to keep this in mind when selecting activities for each day. 

And in case anyone is interested, here is this year's list of activities!

1 - Make cinnamon applesause ornaments - We use these to make mobiles to hang in the kids' room.
2 - Make orange, apple, and cranberry garland for the tree
3 - Hot chocolate with Christmas marshmallows in Christmas mugs!
4 - Christmas Parade!
5 - Make gingerbread pancakes for breakfast
6 - St. Nicolas Day - We celebrate by making St. Nicolas cookies, leaving letters for St. Nicolas in our shoes before bed, and reading our St. Nicolas books repeatedly in the days leading up to this day.  We talk a lot about who St. Nicolas really was and what he did for others.
7 - Make candy cane ornaments
8 - Popsicle stick Christmas ornaments like these, these, or these
9 - Make Christmas soaps (annual tradition for us)
10 - Make snowman ornaments from popsicle sticks
11 - Open Christmas watercolor books - These are cheap $1 books I found last year at Michaels.  They are cheesy and cheap, but my kids love them.
12 - Make Christmas cookies
13 - Make a snowman shaped pizza and watch a Christmas movie
14 - Decorate gift bags to use for Christmas gifts
15 - Make peppermint candy ornaments
16 - Make teacher gifts
17 - Drive around and look at Christmas lights - We usually make a box of mac and cheese for the kids and let them eat it out of mugs while we drive all over town looking at lights.
18 - Make gingerbread houses
19 - Visit the live nativity
20 - Make salt dough hand print mittens
21 - Make pinecone and birdseed bird feeders
22 - Make Christmas snack mix and watch a Christmas movie
23 - Zoo Lights - this date may not be one that works and I may have to make something up on the fly - such as hot chocolate or a quick craft. 
24 - Feed the Reindeer and make cookies for Santa
25 - CHRISTMAS!!!!  (I know there should really be only 24 bags, but the kids love having one to look inside on Christmas morning also.)

Every year we have days we miss the activity or things get switched around.  It's not always a set-in-stone plan, but it's fun and not meant to be a cause of stress.  I keep $1 crafts from Michaels and/or holiday treats on hand to fill in on the days when life is more crazed than anticipated.  Because no matter how much you plan, life doesn't always go according to our plans.

I hope this season brings lots of time together for your family also!