So, I may have started it almost a month ago, but I have finally finished my Advent calendar for Christmas 2011! It is even hanging up. I’m that ready. With a little more red paint, some ribbon, and a list of 25 Christmas-related activities, the calendar is good to go. Here is the finished product.
Not only do I think it came out really cute, it was also completely FREE! I just used burlap, felt, and paint I had lying around the house. It may have taken some time, but I saved $35 (if I would have bought its inspiration instead).
This Christmas, and for the past couple of Christmases, we have tried to focus on giving more and spending less, hence the free calendar. I try to use this time of the year to live out the true meaning of Christmas: giving, loving others, and celebrating Jesus’ birth. One great resource I have used is Advent Conspiracy for inspiration and ideas on making this holiday meaningful and not focused on gifts and getting.
Advent Conspiracy centers around four simple ideas: worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. We try to purposefully incorporate these into our Christmas. One way I do this, is by using the Advent calendar to have a special activity each day that, hopefully, focuses on one of the four ideas. Some of my activities are more fun than anything, but what is Christmas without joy and celebration? And even though not all of the activities are baby-friendly, I want to try to include Jonah in as much as possible. I truly believe that a child of any age can learn something during this season. You just have to try things and see how they go.
Anyways, here is my list of Advent activities, in no particular order.
- mail out Christmas cards
- make ornaments with Jonah
- buy a gift from the World Vision catalog
- drink hot cocoa by a fire
- wrap presents
- visit a nursing home as a family
- watch a Christmas movie
- make Christmas cookies for neighbors
- read the Christmas story from the Bible
- donate a toy to Toys for Tots
- play with fake snow (we live in Louisiana)
- donate to the food bank
- drive around and look at lights
- invite friends over for a special dinner
- research and try a French Christmas tradition (we love France)
- take family Christmas pictures by the tree
- read Christmas books in our jammies
- leave a gift for the mail carrier
- visit Santa at the mall
- buy coffee/meal for a stranger
- make a gingerbread house
- attend a Christmas eve service
- leave an anonymous gift for a friend or neighbor
- exchange gifts on Christmas morning
- attend a Christmas concert
I wrote out each activity on a piece of cardstock and placed it in an appropriate pocket on my calendar. I am going to try to let Jonah take out the card each day. I am also thinking of putting a few small gifts in some of the pockets that he will find and take out. We will see how that goes.
I can’t wait to get started! Are you ready for December 1st to start your countdown? Do you use an Advent Calendar like I do or do you just check off the days? Any other fun ideas for my list? I’d love to hear them!