Every year I look forward to celebrating Advent with my boys. Since Matthew was born, we have had some sort of Advent calendar. The first year I picked up an organic, fair-trade chocolate advent calendar at the natural food co-op while shopping for our Thanksgiving meal. Allan and Matthew tore open the doors each day and Allan enjoyed the candy. Matthew was too young to realize what he was missing.
The next year, inspired by this post on the blog, Passionate Homemaking, I came up with a combination of 25 gifts + activities + outings + books. The activities were things that we were already planning to make Christmas Traditions in our home, so this wasn’t extra work, it simply gave us a date reserved on our calendar for the outing .
I then created little sheets of paper that included the day’s adventure and a photo representation to place in a small wood Advent calendar from Target. Some days included a present, so I placed the wrapped gifts (mostly books and a few matchbox cars) in a special place, all wrapped in the same paper and labeled with a matching piece of paper to the one in the Advent calendar. That way Matthew could search through the gifts and match that day’s activity sheet from the advent calendar with the one labeling the present.
Last year, we did not do a full-blown advent calendar, because we were living in temporary housing (with my inlaws) and most of our Christmas items were in storage at my parent’s house. We did a small advent calendar activity with some matchbox planes that I picked up on Black Friday and lots of our regular activities, just without the official advent calendar.
So, this year, when we unpacked our Christmas decorations and found the advent calendar that my mother-in-law found at a thrift store, the boys were very excited. I stayed up late wrapping presents (Christmas books and Veggie tales DVDs that I picked up on Black Friday) and finalizing our daily activities, lining them up to appropriate days based on what we already have planned this month.
Sunday was the official start of the Advent season, however, if you haven’t put anything together yet, you still have LOTS of time. Here are a few ideas of simple activities for you and your children.