Are you doing an advent calendar with your kids this year? I have always wanted to do it, but never managed to fully make it work. This year, I was determined to make it happen, and it's been so much fun.
But . . . it can feel tricky. If you have two or more kids, it's overwhelming. Do you have to put little trinkets in there every day? And if you do, that is a whole lot of little stuff. Or candy. Or whatever.
After doing some thought, and asking some others what they do, I wanted to share our plan in case you could use a little inspiration.
But Joni, you might be thinking, it's already December 12th. Isn't it too late? Well, friends, that leaves 13 days until Christmas, which is essentially two years if you measure it in kid minutes. It's pretty much an eternity to them.
So, here are some tips for you, and then a breakdown of each day for us:
(1) It can be simple. I followed A Beautiful Mess's idea, but really, all you need are envelopes or folded pieces of paper taped to the wall with washi tape. Easy peasy. Don't overthink it. It took me like five years to finally actually make one.
(2) Don't forget it doesn't take much to impress kids. As an adult, I find myself frequently thinking it has to be perfectly incredibly awesome and thoughtful and well put together, etc. etc., but my kids will lose their minds over a tiny candy cane, so don't forget that.
(3) A lot of these are activities. And activities can seem like a lot on top of what is already happening in December. But let me remind you of two things: Firstly, if you are like me, intentionality is key for making things happen. I want to slow this season down and soak it in with my kids and not constantly be baking a dish for the next thing, or heading out the door to the next party, etc. etc., so this really forces me to make family time a focused, intentional, priority. Secondly, use your schedule to your advantage. My kids have no idea what we have going on; work in what's already happening to the calendar. If the grandparents are coming in for their Christmas program, make it the advent surprise for that day - "yay, JeeJee and Grandpa are coming for supper! Such a fun surprise!" and you get credit for something that was already happening. Go you!
Also, don't feel like you have to have it set in stone for the whole month - edits or changes the night before are perfectly fine. You just need to be one day ahead, mamas.
Ok, here are our ideas - hope it helps you!
(1) Bake Christmas cookies together. We went all out with a cookie press, sprinkles, and icing and it was SO FUN.
(2) Bake a cake and celebrate Ellie's third birthday!
(3) Two chocolate kisses each.
(4) Watch a Christmas movie and have a picnic supper in front of the Christmas tree.
(5) Make hot chocolate and walk around the square to see all the Christmas lights.
(6) Christmas dresses (I bought them on sale for them to wear for their Christmas programs, and I hung them on the tree - they loved it!)
(7) Set the table for a special dinner guest (we invited over their favorite babysitter they haven't seen in awhile).
(8) Go see the Grinch at the movie theater.
(9) Make gingerbread men and decorate them.
(10) Candy Canes!
(11) Set the table for Grandpa and JeeJee to come for supper!
(12) Little chocolate bears.
(13) Leave for Jekyll Island!
(14) Tour the lights at Jekyll.
(15) Go see Santa.
(16) Pop Rocks!
(17) Go caroling to the neighbors' houses, and bring them cookies.
(18) Make handmade cards to send to great-grandparents.
(19) Go shopping with Mama & Daddy for sister gifts.
(20) Pack up to go to visit grandparents.
(21) Make gingerbread houses with cousins.
(22) Christmas tea at Nana's.
(23) Open presents with the cousins at Nana & GDaddy's!
(24) Bake a birthday cake for Jesus, and set out the nativity (we travel to the farm, so we will set it out on this day).
(25) Christmas Day!
Hope that helps!! xoxo!