I have had this URL for 4 years (thanks to my husband, who knew I always wanted to start a blog), but I have been so afraid to start, and I struggled to figure out where or how to start. I never really felt like I had anything important to say.
I know we’re already a month past Christmas, but I had a few questions about the advent calendar I made for the kids this year, so that felt like a good place to jump in (plus, we’re still in winter, so it still counts, right?!).
I have always loved creative little projects, even as a kid, one of my favourite parts of school was getting to draw title pages for different subjects or reports, or creating maps and cities. Since having kids of my own, my passion has grown into a bit of an obsession. I love to DIY as much as possible to make holidays and special events even more exciting for them. My original plan for the advent calendar this year was to wrap up a new book for each day, however I wanted to be very intentional with the books I chose, and that started to get really expensive, so I decided to just include a few through-out the month. From there, I decided to incorporate some of the fun holiday activities that I wanted to do this year anyway, and some fun crafts for us to do together.
We did have to make a few adjustments throughout the month based on weather, or other things we had on the schedule, but it was really easy to switch out an activity or move some around to different days even after it was made. Below is the list of what we did each day of the advent calendar this year.
Day 1 – Letter to Santa
Day 2 – Opened and read a Christmas book (Dr. Seuss: Tis the Season)
Day 3 – Made Christmas cookies
Day 4 – Visit and get a photo with Santa (poor Nora)
Day 5 – Do a Christmas craft
Day 6 – Open and read a new book
Day 7 – Watch a Christmas movie (Henry picked Klaus on Netflix)
Day 8 – Have a picnic under the Christmas tree. This was Henry’s favourite day from the calendar. We ended up having a super busy day, so instead of doing lunch under the tree as I originally envisioned, we did ‘dessert’ (after dinner Timbits)
Day 9 – Paint a Christmas ornament
Day 10 – Open and read a new book
Day 11 – Do a Christmas craft
Day 12 – Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows
Day 13 – Listen to Christmas music and have a dance party (both my kids love to dance)
Day 14 – Open and read a new book
Day 15 – Make reindeer food (oats, mixed with holiday sprinkles and/or glitter)
Day 16 – Do a Christmas craft
Day 17 – Open and read a new book
Day 18 – Do a Christmas craft
Day 19 – Decorate a gingerbread house
Day 20 – Open and read a new book
Day 21 – Go for a winter walk to look at Christmas lights
Day 22 – Make gifts for our friends at daycare
Day 23 – Open and read a new book
Day 24 – Make cookies for Santa, and put out reindeer food
To make the calendar itself, I just picked up a few different kinds of small envelopes from Michaels, a bit of gold washi tape, and some mini cloths pins. I used to scrap cardstock I had to put in each envelope detailing the activity for the day, and used some twine I had to put it all together. I decided to alternate number and written form, as well as a plain font and calligraphy to make it a little more interesting to look at (and as a bonus, to teach Henry what numbers look like spelled out). I added a stripe in washi tape every few envelopes to add some sparkle. Once I wrote out each activity on the cardstock and stuffed the envelopes, I just cloths-pinned them on to a long strand of twine and hung it in our livingroom (high enough that little fingers couldn’t reach it). Henry had so much fun finding out what each day held for him, and I loved seeing his excitement so much.
My biggest tip for anyone that wants to make this kind of advent calendar next year is to include any activity you normally do throughout the holiday season, like pictures with Santa, or baking Christmas cookies. Michael’s is a great place to get small crafts for a reasonable price (especially if you spread purchases out and use discounts), and I even got a few cute ones from the dollar store. And books are a great way to fill up space on the busy days when there is just no time for an activity. Whenever we had a day that included a book or a craft, I wrapped those up separately to add the fun of getting to open a gift.
I’m already thinking about what I want to include in our list for next year, and I’m excited to make the holiday season even more special for my kids as the grow