I like to do an Advent Calendar for our family. We do like to do the chocolate ones, but I also like to do a calendar that incorporates some off the values we as a family have around christmas.
I am not a super woman though, It needs to be simple.
We have a wooden calendar with wooden boxes (from Bed, Bath and Table), and every day is a little bit of paper with a range of topics and activities.
I keep this list that I am sharing with you below and pretty much repeat it each year with slight modifications. I print it out and cut out each activity to put into a box. There are more options below than there are days to do them, so I certainly do not do everything on the list, and yes I absolutely miss some days- but my kids are pretty forgiving.
The key for me to make this manageable is that I usually put the bits of paper in the night before so that I am not committing to whatever I put in there should my plans change. I have a rough outline of the month and when certain activities will fit e.g christmas tree, christmas gatherings but during the week I give myself full permission to change it up… in the inevitable case that I just do not feel up to organising a craft the next day, or its going to be too hot to be baking.
Our family likes to include our Faith into our Advent Calendar as well as generosity to others, gratitude for what we have, creativity and fun aswell as a bit of history and culture . Some of these ideas may not be suiting to your family, but maybe you might find some inspiration here.
PRINT OUT AND CUT OUT 24 OF THESE IDEAS/ACTIVITIES TO PUT IN AN ADVENT CALENDER:
– Today is Gingerbread House making! Get ready to get messy with icing and lollies…YUMMM!
– Today we are going to pick a new decoration for the house. Maybe an ornament for the tree? Maybe a new festive figurine?
-Today we are going to make your rooms look as festive as can be. Let’s decorate!
-Today we make Reindeer food. Lets get all the stuff out ready and try not to make too much of a mess :).
-Let’s write a letter to Santa. There is a post box at the post office so we can send them off.
– Santa is going to need a snack for when he arrives on Christmas Eve… Today we are going to bake him some cookies.
– Lets learn some fun Christmas jokes that you can share with our friends over the coming weeks. (I print off a list of christmas jokes to share over dinner)
– Lets make some snow flakes to hang up for Christmas.
– Today we are going to do a Christmas craft. I thought this year we could make…. (This year I am planning to make some paper angels- paper and toilet rolls)
-Today we are going to paint our nails in some festive colours!!!
– Today we are packing hampers at church. So you know what a Christmas hamper is? Why is it important that we bless others at Christmas.
-Today we are going to do some Christmas cards for some of your friends. Why is this a nice thing to do?
– It is time to organise a special gift for your teachers. Why are we grateful for our teachers? (We usually gift a christmas ornament from fair trade store, so will pop up to the shop and the children choose them)
– Lets wrap up some of our extra santa cookies and gift them to some of our neighbours.
– Today we are going to donate a gift to a child that may not get anything for Christmas. Presents are a wonderful thing about Christmas, but more blessed is it to give than to receive.(For this I grab a tag or 2 from a store like Big W that runs these programs, we may buy the gift on this day or just discuss what I should then buy and we can drop it another day)
– What is your favourite Christmas memory so far? Why is it your favourite?
-Today we are going to visit a Christmas market. A great opportunity for you to find some gifts for your siblings. (Or teachers? I will give the kids some money to spend and also have a conversation about the difference between supporting local businesses instead of the big department stores- never too early to start these conversations right?)
-Why did Jesus come to Earth as a baby? Why do we celebrate Christmas?
-Who can tell the Nativity story? You can use the Nativity set to help you.
-Tonight at dinner lets discuss all the things that we are grateful for. Christmas is about remembering what we have not just wishing for what we don’t.
History and Culture
– Do you remember the story of the original Santa- Saint Nicolas. Lets read about who he was and why he is so special.(You can google stories about St Nicolas)
– Why do we put up a Christmas tree? What do Christmas trees represent? (You can google the history of Christmas trees)
– Today we are going to discuss what another culture does for Christmas. This year we are going to look at…..(I pick a culture and write it on the paper. This year I am thinking we will talk about German culture)
-What is everyones Favourite Christmas song? Why is that your favourite?
-Its Christmas tree day! Yay….Lets put up our Christmas tree!!!
– We are going to watch Christmas Carols tonight…. YAY. Lets be festive and wear our Christmas hats.
-Christmas Eve….tonight we will be opening our Christmas Eve box. (We have a traditional Christmas Eve box with pyjamas, a movie/game and a snack to enjoy with it- we open this before bed and watch the movie after putting out Santa and Reindeer food)
-Today we will be seeing some of our family for christmas. Grab the gifts under the tree that are for your cousins. We are so blessed to have loving family around us, let’s remember that today.
-What is your favourite Christmas movie ? Lets put it on tonight and eat yummy dessert while we watch it. (Sometimes I might put this one in a box twice… Its a nice easy default activity if nothing else seems doable)
-Tonight we are going to go and look at Christmas lights. Should we wear something Christmassy???
-Christmas Party time. Get dressed in something Christmassy to come celebrate with our friends.(This might also be different this year as many events aren’t happening but I have included it in case you do have something on)
-Today we are going to go visit Santa and get some photos.
– Tonight we are going to go see the Christmas lights in the city. (We will visit the giant Christmas tree in Martin Place and then walk around to see some other lights, maybe stopping by Myer as well)