In order to be even more intentional about family time and keeping Christ in Christmas, we're going to try adding an advent calendar to our tradition. Looking on pinterest for ideas was completely overwhelming, but I found enough simple ideas and free printables to make ours relatively quickly.
The advent calendar by Simple Mom was my primary inspiration (her site also has a great list of possible activities to include in the calendar)
-- I used an old cork board, scrapbook paper, ribbon and paper clips.
-- The numbers printable was found at Green Owl Crafts.
-- Inside each card is one of the cute daily scripture cards from Happy Home Fairy and a festive sticky note with a fun activity to do together.
It was good to sit down with my husband and discuss what activities we wanted to include and which ones to put on the weekends so he could sure he would be home to participate. Our list includes things like reading a Christmas book, local holiday events, baking cookies, and making crafts that will be gifts.
The beauty of the sticky note is that if I need to rearrange activities based on our schedule, weather, or something else, I can. For example, we included "have a snowball fight" as an activity mid-month but if we wake up to new fallen snow before that I can make a quick switch before breakfast (oh so sneaky). (Activities that include snow though also have an indoor or non-snow alternative just in case, for example an indoor snowball fight with socks)
No, my calendar isn't all that original or beautiful, but it is functional and looks nice enough to hang up. It was great that I had almost all the supplies on hand. The only thing I ended up buying was the curly paperclips holding the cards onto the ribbon, though I could have just used thumbtacks (I had visions of the thumbtacks falling out and sitting on the floor waiting for a barefoot). I originally wanted the small clothespins but it would have required an extra stop on errands day :)
Our schedule was pretty light this week so it only took part of two afternoons to finish. My little boy "helped" cutting extra paper, gluing, played number games with the cards while I worked on other parts, used extra pieces of folded paper to make tents for cars, and had a Veggie Tales dance party (in a cowboy hat of course).
Honestly though, my pre-stay-at-home-self would be rolling eyes at all the work to put this together so if you're looking for something simpler...
- Activities and/or scriptures in envelopes work just fine and there's lots you can do just between supper and bedtime (Christmas color sheets, wrapping presents, fun books, simple crafts, etc)
- Create a countdown paper chain (I've seen some nice printables for this on pinterest)
- A bowl with activities on small slips of paper to choose from each day.
Blessings to your family as you prepare for Christmas, remembering to celebrate the waiting along the way, keeping Christ at the center of the whirlwind month ahead.