Let the Count down to Christmas BEGIN. . . tomorrow!

This is the fourth year that I've written out simple activities on a piece of paper and slipped them into each pocket on my advent calendar. I have Jordan Ferney to thank for the idea. I used to put a small candy into each pocket too, but not this year! My kids always sneak candy out and by the 15th it's usually all gone. Advent 2011 will just be activities, no treats! Bah humbug?

My favorite part of this tradition is that it makes each day in December special, not just Christmas and Christmas Eve. For idea inspiration, I use some of Jordan's, some of mine, and other ideas from a google search. Here's the list for this year in no particular order:

1. Decorate a gingerbread house.
2. Write a letter to Santa.
3. Make new ornaments for the tree.
4. Sing a Christmas song. See the lights at Grand Central Station (thanks for the idea Cstringhamphoto)
5. Read Luke II.
6. Donate a pair of PJ's to Ella's school's PJ drive.
7. Take a bubble bath and make Santa beards.
8. Tell each family member something you like about them (Ella's idea).
9. Mail Christmas cards to both Grandmas and Grandpas.
10. Look at a window display at a department store.
11. Sit on Santa's lap.
12. Watch a Christmas cartoon/movie.
13. Explain the reason why we have Christmas Trees (Ella's idea).
14. Donate Food.
15. Check out Christmas books from the library.

Check out the rest of the list here.

Do you have an advent calendar? I got my Marimekko calendar the first year I started the tradition. I ADORE it. I wish I could have it up year round.

Are you going to do an advent calendar this year? If nothing else, it gives you automatic blog content each day!


  1. We have always bought our girls the regular chocolate/cardboard advent calendars from the drugstore, but this year we are also doing the "slips of paper" idea for the first time. I am having so much fun coming up with all the ideas, which are really focused on family activities, kindness and giving instead of gifts and "getting". My Mother in law gave us her old wooden Advent calendar that has a Christmas scene surrounded by tiny drawers numbered 1-24; inside each is a miniature ornament on a string and I will also place the small slip of paper with the activity for that day. The girls will take turns opening the drawer, reading the note and hanging the little ornament on the Christmas scene. I hope it will become an annual tradition and will help remind the girls what the season is all about.

  2. Great idea. I was just thinking to myself - I'd love to make an advent calendar but what are we really going to put in it! No kids yet, so candy and trinkets don't sound that exciting. This, though, fab idea. Like a seasonal bucket list in advent calendar form!

  3. I just came up with our list of activities yesterday - talk about last minute!
    My favorite of yours is take a bubble bath and make santa clause beards. SO cute!

  4. We don't have kids so an activities calendar is really the only way to go for us. This year we're seeing two plays, making wreaths, decorating the tree, trying a new restaurant, ice skating, etc. It's fun to pull out the slip of paper every morning and see what's in store for that evening.

  5. GreetingsfromTexasMarch 30, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Such a great idea! Makes me eager to have kiddos! =) I have a "link up" on my blog today - always good for some extra traffic to your blog! www.megansilianoff.blogspot.com

  6. I love this idea and the activities you've come up with! My husband and I (who are sans children) were just talking over the weekend about how nice it is to make a big deal of the entire Advent season, rather than placing all the emphasis on Christmas Day. Last year we started the tradition of getting each other a very small gift to kick off the season (last year we both desperately needed slippers to keep warm in our drafty London flat). We also read aloud to each other from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Father Christmas Letters. Last year we borrowed it from the library, so this year's small Advent gift was a copy of our very own! This year I also decided to post a poem about winter or Christmas each day of Advent to share with friends and family (and anyone else who might be interested) and my husband and I take turn reading those to each other as well. It's so nice to find ways to intentionally enjoy and celebrate the season without being steeped in commercialism!

  7. i love advent and for the last couple of year we have started a book advent calendar. each day of december leading up to christmas day the boys get to unwrap a new picture book for our home collection. it costs a lot of money but when i am organised, i try to space it out over the year!


  8. You should add going to see the light show at grand central station! When we lived in NYC it was one of our boys favorite things to do.

  9. ohhh thanks for the idea! i'll take out #4 Sing a Christmas song and replace it with the lights at grand central. I'm a horrible singer anyway!

  10. oh wow! looove this idea. And your wrapping is ADORABLE. nicely done!!

  11. love your Advent ideas, so thoughtful...especially the poems.

  12. haha "A Seasonal Bucket List in Advent Calendar Form!" THAT should have been my title! nice one.

  13. oh, wow, your old wooden Advent calendar sounds beautiful. your girls will have such nice memories from it for sure.

  14. haha, i just bought some Mister Bubbles. we're ready for santa beards!

  15. totally. hey--i just checked out your blog--that wild rice soup looks soooo good. i bookmarked it!

  16. So many great ideas! I will be stealing some! I also have in my list to make caramel popcorn, candied nuts, a Christmas breakfast (I guess it is just a special breakfast), camping in the living room... I also stole your idea of the little cafe and thought about joining it with advent activities, so tonight we will have the little Cafe and read Christmas books from the Library.Thanks for your ideas!

  17. FYI Trader Joe's has great (and inexpensive) gingerbread house kits – we did them last year with our nieces & had a blast!

  18. ha i just saw their ginderbread house today. It's a sweet little A-Frame. i must get it!!

  19. oh! you don't know how happy your comment made me. i'm so glad you're doing the Little Cafe

  20. this is awesome. i love it and will probably borrow it for my littles!

  21. We kind of do this as well. We do 4-5 crafts. The craft is assigned to one/per week, and each night the kids get one {wrapped} items necessary for doing the craft. They try to guess what it'll be before getting the next supply. On the night after the last gift, the kids do the craft. {Example: DIY snow globes. Night 1- jars, Night 2- glycerin, Night 3- glitter, Night 4-wee plastic items for the globe, Night 5- Glue for the lid, Night 6- Do the craft!}

  22. Thank you for the work you have put into your nice blog.


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