Advent Ideas

Many years ago, I purchased one of those wooden advent calendars at Target that has 25 little doors to open. The doors are tiny– big enough for maybe a single Hersey’s kiss or a small note– so most years we’ve just added a little note each day. However, I’ve regretted buying that beshitted calendar almost since the day I brought it home: it’s such a pain to think of something fun for EVERY DAY in December, and the kids nag me about it constantly, and holy shit I almost threw it into the fucking snowbank about fifty times.

I decided that this year it would either A) stay in the basement or B) I would need to have a game plan worked out ahead of time. (Uh, duh, right? I’m sure most people would have been more proactive years ago.) Anyway, I sat down with David yesterday, and between the two of us, and with the help of a friend who sent me HER advent ideas, we came up with a list. Most of these ideas don’t create much work nor require much energy from me. Many of these are things we do anyway (like decorate the tree), but making it an advent activity gets me off the hook for the day AND makes the activity more intentional. This is a busy enough month, right??

Also, this is just a list of ideas that I will use to pick from. I cannot commit to 25 days of pre-planned activities when our lives and schedules are so busy; the oldest two are at gymnastics until 9pm 3 nights per week, for example. I also reserve the right to use “here’s a Hershey’s kiss” or “eat a candy cane from the tree” or “read a Christmas book before bed” as many times as I want. We very likely will not do all of these things, but it is nice to have a nice full list to choose from each day. So anyway, in no particular order (though some would ideally be done towards the beginning of the month, and the last two are for Christmas Eve and Day), here’s our list:

*Decorate the tree while listening to Christmas music
*Write a letter to Santa
*Hang up Christmas lights in your room
*Put up and decorate felt Christmas tree (that I found at Target)
*Take candy canes to school for your whole class
*Elf breakfast: noodles and pancakes and crazy toppings
*Give a sweet, take a sweet: set some post-its and a bowl of candy by the big window. They write something nice about someone in our family and take a piece of candy
*Sing a carol before eating anything all day (snacks and meals)
*Put on pjs and drive around looking at Christmas lights while eating a candy cane
*Have hot chocolate and popcorn by the fire
*Watch the movie Elf as a family
*Start the holiday puzzle (we have a dedicated puzzle table we leave up for the month)
*Read a Christmas story before bed (use as often as needed due to busyness or laziness)
*Eat a candy cane off the tree (can also be used as often as needed)
*Have a Hershey’s kiss (same as the two above)
*Shop for a present for your sisters
*Go to a movie in the theater (probably the new Annie movie)
*New Christmas socks (or hair things, or whatever I find)
*Make a popcorn string and hang it outside for the animals/birds
*Make your teacher a holiday card or write your teacher a letter
*Deliver cookies to the neighbors
*Family concert: take turns playing Christmas music on the piano (5/6 of us can play at least a few Christmas songs, and Olive will happily take a turn playing gibberish)
*Open one present from under the tree (Christmas Eve)
*New ornament for each kid (Christmas Day)

I’d like to come up with a few more “giving” things, like doing the angel tree or donating to the food shelf, so I’ll probably add a few of those things as I figure them out.


One thought on “Advent Ideas

  1. I love your ideas and I can RELATE! I just bought my wooden advent thingy last year (my kids had been satisfied with the paper ones from Hallmark until then), and already I sort-of despise it. The last two nights it’s been a jumble of little pieces of paper, calendars, and not enough variety of small candies and I’ve had to rearrange the stupid little doors to fit our actual life schedule (can’t do “hot chocolate and marshmallows by the fire” on the nights we’ll be out somewhere; gotta put “drive around to look at lights” on the Google cal so I don’t plan something else…)!! I’m just glad I don’t also make our Elf on the Shelf do stupid things or I would lose my mind entirely.

    Some ideas I had this year:
    “When you say prayers today, say a special prayer for ___.” (I used that one at least 3x)
    “It’s the season of giving – what can you give today? A smile? A hug?” (LAME! But on-topic!)
    A small scavenger hunt in the house using post-it notes for the clues – the prizes are packs of Sniffs (tissues) or pencils or something.

    I love your ideas – printing and saving!

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