Our Advent Calendar
Growing up one of my favorite things about the month of December was our advent calendar. My mom made it from a kit when I was very young. I can’t remember a Christmas season without it hanging up some where in our house. Each day I would (and then eventually my sister) would take a felt ornament out of one of the pockets and pin the ornament to the tree. The pocket labeled 24 always had Santa inside. It was a great way to countdown the days until Christmas as a child.
After Henry was born I started to look for a similar calendar so that I could continue the tradition with him. My mom found one and ordered it through a catalog. It was very similar to our “original”, but the ornaments were pretty lame and always fell off the round gold button knobs. So, for last Christmas I created 24 new, handcrafted felt ornaments with wire hooks for the calendar.
This year we started something new with our Advent calendar. In each of the 24 pockets we put 2 pieces of leftover Halloween candy (one for each kid). That way each day not only can they put one of the ornaments on the tree, but enjoy one piece of candy.
I’d love to hear ways YOU count down the days until Christmas! Please leave a message below!
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Growing up we had an advent calendar where each day you untied a little package off the tree and unwrapped it to find a surprise inside. To be honest I don’t even remember what the surprises were, but I was thrilled each day to carefully take one down and find out what was inside. On the 25th there was usually a note that said to look outside for the bicycle, or tampoline, or whatever santa brought that year.
We started simliar traditions with our own children year before last. We actually do 3 advents in fact. Originally mostly as a way to help the kids with number recognition, but as they support differing sizes and have differing themes we will probably continue all 3 for a few more years. We do 2 in the morning – one is a 3D gingerbread house with doors all over it. Behind each door they find a little piece of candy each morning brought by our elf on the shelf. Doors other than the “right day” are empty so as not to reward the wrong date. 🙂 The other is a felt tree like the ones from Pottery barn. It has fairly large pockets big enough to hold little suprirses. Mostly though (5 or 6 days of the week) the kids just find a rolled piece of paper telling them something fun we will do that day (see Christmas lights, watch a Christmas movie, bake christmas cookies, make snowmen out of sand, pick an extra book to read, or shop for Operation Homefront, etc.) The 3rd – is a stack of Christmas books our Elf on the Shelf wraps. Each day the kids take turns getting to unwrap a new one to read. Then the child who didn’t get to unwrap a book gets to pick another one off the shelf to read again.
Other than the initial wrapping of the books it doesn’t actually take much time, and while I often plan the whole month’s of advent by Thanksgiving I don’t write out notes until the night before most times in the event we want or need to move things around.
My 4 year olds now are most excited about the candy and books which present instant gratification. They have a little harder time waiting for something like a movie that they know about first thing in the morning, but can’t actually do until later in the day. Not that they EVER forget. 🙂 They start pelting me with questions about it the second I pick them up as to when they can watch it (before dinner? Can we skip dinner?, etc.) 🙂
I absolutely love that idea!