Monday, January 3, 2011

Advent Activities

At the end of November I mentioned that I had become aware of this whole world of advent activities as a way to ensure a happy, celebratory season throughout December without getting overwhelmed by the holiday madness. I made a quick list of ideas and then friends chimed in with their own lists as well.  As it turned out, it was a great exercise even in it's most infant stages.

All I did was throw up a ribbon and some gold clothespins with the intention of writing out whatever we did that month as a reminder of all the fun things going on.  The activities definitely came in spurts and not even close to the one-a-day method of a traditional advent calendar, but such is the nature of life.  I think once it's planned out in advance it would actually be pretty easy to stack some simple things towards the beginning of the month when less is going on, put the good stuff in the middle, and then phase out towards Christmas Day to leave yourself plenty of room for all the last minute stuff that pops up.

I'm surprised - in looking at the full list now - how many activities we ended up with.  There will be plenty to choose from next year when I build a more official list.

I also had the idea of doing a reverse advent list. Because life in general, and especially life with a toddler, is unpredictable and not really meant for one-a-day rules. Instead of having the activities assigned to each day, I think you could just as easily hang a list up with a rough idea of the order you want to do them in, and then put the activity into the advent pocket/tin/drawer/etc when it's completed.

2010 Activities List

1. Buy & decorate tree
(to be separated into two separate activities next year)
2. Dance with Charlotte to Christmas music
(We built a monster with this one, but it's the cutest thing ever - she puts her cheek to yours and then you hold your hands extended in a kind of baby-ballroom style)
3. Send Christmas cards
4. Hang Mistletoe
5. Hang ribbon sash for Christmas cards
6. Homemade hot chocolate
(Made with unsweetened Ghiradelli powder and TONS of marshmallows for sweetness)
7. Country Club Christmas party
8. Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
9. Write thank you emails to blogs
(I thought the holidays would be a great time to write 4 or 5 brief emails to the blogs I read to say thank you for all of the great content)
10. Make snowball cookies
11. Make peanut butter kiss cookies
12. Make peppermint bark
13. Make peanut clusters
14. B's work party
15. Make pizzelles
16. Donate to various charities
(This year all donations were in honor of people - Parkinson's, MS, animal organizations for family pets, etc)
17. Leave cookies for mailman
18. Leave cookies for garbage men
(This required a large sign directing them to the back tire of the car where the cookies were so they wouldn't accidentally throw them away)
19. Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
20. Homemade ornaments for gifts
(pics and details coming in Friday's post)
21. Homemade gift tags
(Done totally impromptu while wrapping gifts and not even remotely fancy - just nice parts of old cards cut out and written on)
22. Open presents & Take Christmas PJ pictures

Possible Additional Activities for 2011:

* Watch It's a Wonderful Life
* Watch White Christmas
* Decorate a gingerbread house
* Christmas Eve drinks by the tree with B
* Have Charlotte paint branches for a Christmas centerpiece
* Make a jingle bell door hanger - since the sound of jingle bells is so lovely and Charlotte mangled the one I made years ago by using it as a toy
* Have B play Christmas songs on his violin
* Make holiday pancakes
* Salt dough ornaments or something similar
* Open Christmas PJs
* Make Christmas potpourri - orange peels, cinnamon stick, boiling water

So that was how our last minute list went, but I'd love to know how yours went. If you did one, what would you change next year? What worked great this year? Would you do one if you didn't have kids or is this mostly a kid-centered thing?


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