Ok, I realize that Advent technically started last Sunday. But our countdown calendars all countdown the days in December… so for that sake we’ll start Advent today 😉
Yep, I said calendarS… we have 3!
I got (well, my mom paid for it, as a gift for Miss A 😉 ) this cute one at our local Christian store: it’s a felted manger scene, with 24 characters to place as you count down to December 25th. I thought it was very cute! And we can use it for years to come. I find it a bit weird though, that you would end up placing Baby Jesus in the manger on December 24th… but oh well.
Combined to that, I’m using this cute countdown boxes kit I got from Stampin’ Up. I had been wanting to make boxes or envelopes in which I would put a family activity in for each day since a year or two ago, but never really had to the time to get around and do it. This kit came with all the boxes pre-folded, the numbers and layer at the back, the string, the ribbons, and the tiny clothspin – perfect 🙂
I’ve hanged it over the fireplace:
My original plan was to get Miss A to decorate the boxes with stickers, glitter glue, pom poms, and a bunch of craft stuff I got at the dollar store. Our 3 yrs neighbour helped too – she did boxes 1 and 2. But, after sticking (after come coaxing) 2-3 stickers on the back of box 3… Miss A called it a day! Ah. Well. So much for that! I have to admit I was starting to wonder if letting her do all the boxes as a 2.5 yrs was a wise idea – I hope to re-use these over the years, and what if she finds them baby-ish by the time she’s 5 or 6? Her non-interest gave me an idea: we will decorate 4 per year, 2 for each girls. So we will have them until Miss A is 7 and Miss C 5. I finished boxes 3 and 4 for Miss A this year. 😉
In each boxes, I put daily Bible verses, which I got from this site. I printed each of them on little cards, with the daily symbol as a background, which I then laminated with book covering for durability. This year, we will only read them, and hopefully, talk about them a little bit – but frankly, I’ll be lucky if I get through the card’s first reading 😉 But over the years, we can plan activities around the daily symbol – a craft, a treasure hunt, a book… (sorry for the flash of the camera in the picture!)
Starting Dec. 9th, I’ve placed the felt animal for the felted calendar, to place in the manger scene. Miss A was yanking out of their pockets, anyway 😉 Maybe another year we’ll use the pockets from Dec. 1st, but I felt it worked well doing it this way this year! Because, starting Dec. 19th, the daily symbols from the Bible verses correspond to a character in the manger: the angels, the Star, the shepherds, the Magi, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. These characters went in their corresponding boxes, and so when we read the Bible verses relating to them, we will also be placing them on the manger scene. The reason we start the manger scene on Dec. 9th is that some characters boxes, like the Magi one, use up all 3 Magi and their 3 camels – so 6 characters in one day, instead of 6 days. But it made sense to do it that way! So when all the characters were in their boxes, I took the remaining manger animals (sheep, donkeys, etc.), and placed them in boxes Dec. 18th, 17th, and on, and it came up to start on Dec. 9th!
The idea of daily activities isn’t loss either 😉 Using an ornament stamp and punch, I punched one ornament per day (from Dec. 1st to 24th), and wrote our activity of the day on the back. In the box they go!
And finally – some boxes get a treat! I got some candy canes, and had 18, just enough for 2 canes ever 3rd day – one for Miss A, and one for me 😉 (my husband is not forgotten, he doesn’t like them LOL) Dec. 13th’s symbol is the candy cane, so I thought it would be nice to have some in that box. It just works out perfectly that every 3rd day brought them down to Dec. 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, and 25th – it’s like the candy cane symbol was place specifically for including canes every 3rd day LOL! I did cheat a bit and moved the 22nd’s canes to the 21st, as the 22nd is the Magi day, and the box was simply too full with 3 Magi, 3 camels, the Bible verse card and the ornament activity… 😉
And what are our activities?
Dec 1st – Make a hand print Christmas card
Dec 2nd – Make salt dough ornaments & hand prints
Dec 3rd – Make wooden and cinnamon ornaments (I got the wooden ornaments at the dollar store and we just colour with markers)
WEEKEND – Dec. 4th – Trim the tree, decorate the house, go see Santa/Santa pictures; Swiss Chalet Festive Meal dinner (that’s why all the ornaments crafts came before the 4th! hih)
WEEKEND – Dec. 5th – Church; Holiday party at a friend’s house after nap
Dec 6th – Christmas games (I printed a bunch of stuff, laminated, made folder games, etc. – more details on the 6th!)
Dec 7th – Library trip to choose Christmas related books, read them (and re-read them for the rest of Advent!) I also printed a Christmas Story booklet, from the text found on this site – it’s pretty much Luke’s Christmas Story, but worded a bit more geared to children. I inserted a couple of colouring pages in the booklet.
Dec. 8th – Bake Christmas cookies (for an exchange on the 10th) We’re making haystack cookies!
Dec. 9th – Make a popcorn and cranberry garland
Dec. 10th – Christmas Story Colouring Book – I googled colouring pages to illustrate scenes from the Christmas story, and added some text to make it a little booklet. We will re-visit the Christmas Story, while colouring it! So Miss A will have that booklet, the one I made for Dec. 7th, and she has a Baby Bible Christmas Story board book – repetition is key for young ones… 😉 hehe
WEEKEND – Dec. 11th – We have an Advent potluck playdate with the ladies from my Christian playgroup. I believe she will have a small craft to do, and we’ll be watching Veggie Tales Christmas movies.
WEEKEND – Dec. 12th – We have an appointment for our yearly family pictures; Church after
Dec. 13th – Family Starbucks Breakfast
Dec. 14th – Hand print Christmas tree (did it last year, it will be fun to see the hand print cut-outs grow!)
Dec. 15th – Address & decorate Christmas cards envelopes (and send!)
Dec. 16th – Prepare dough for sugar cookies (it needs to chill overnight); go raid the bulk store for decorating candy/icing
Dec. 17th – Bake & decorate sugar cookies
WEEKEND – Dec. 18th – Christmas party with the neighbourhood playgroup
WEEKEND – Dec 19th – Church; Wrap Christmas gifts; Make a gingerbread house
Dec. 20th – Christmas Party/potluck with our dear neighbour friends (we are really good friends with our backdoor neighbours, and our girls are about the same age and best friends too! In fact, a lot of the craft activities we’ll be doing together too 😉 )
Dec. 21st – Swiss Chalet Festive Meal dinner; Christmas Movie Night (I ordered Rudolph and Frosty from Zip, we’ll have some treats and sleeping bags in the living room, hope Miss A likes it!)
Dec. 22nd – Bake a Happy Birthday Jesus cake (early, but we’ll be getting ready to visit family afterwards)
Dec. 23rd – Christmas Light walk around the neighbourhood with hot chocolate and candy cane for stirring
Dec. 24th – Attend Christmas Eve Mass
Dec. 25th – MERRY CHRISTMAS! Family breakfast, then off to visit relatives!
And there you have it! Advent 2010!