Jamie Weitl first published this post on her own blog, Sticky Feet: Part Deux. I'm grateful she shared her creative ideas for enjoying the Christmas season with her three young children.
Pre-kids, I’ll admit to being a bit of Scrooge about Christmas. Now that I’m able to see the magic through their eyes, I enjoy the season a lot more. The key for me (and probably for any Type A perfectionist) is to plan ahead and to finish the stressful aspects of the season (the massive gift buying and purchasing) early to ensure I have time to appreciate the traditions I enjoy.
This year, I’m about 90% done with my shopping – we still have to decorate and wrap – but my main goal is to enjoy the season and spend it making memories with the kids. We’ll be doing Elf on a Shelf again this year with our elf, Hippa, and we’ll read a Christmas story each night as well. I’m also taking advantage of the hundreds of ideas on Pinterest to make our Advent calendar more than just a candy dispenser. I’ve found so many neat ideas and I want to be sure that I accomplish at least a few of them. We already have a few events on our calendar and I decided not to include snow activities like sledding. Although I’m sure it will snow soon, I wanted a specific item for each day and didn’t want them to be determined by the weather.
I made these tags (photo above) using the same punches I used for the toppers for my son Bo’s birthday cupcakes and simply wrote what we’d be doing each day. I was going to put numbers on the back of each of them, but then decided against it to allow for changes to the schedule and the ability to reuse them next year. Another idea would be to punch a hole and add string to place them on the tree as ornaments as each activity is completed. I like that I was able to personalize it and choose activities that I know my trio will enjoy.
Below is what we’ll be doing each day of December as we celebrate Christmas:
1 – Receive a gift – new Christmas pajamas to wear throughout the season.
2 – Attend a Christmas party in our new pajamas. Rumor has it that Santa might make a special appearance!
3 – Decorate our tree.
4 – Open a new ornament that Hippa left under the tree. (New ornament for each child.)
5 – Color pictures to add to a few special Christmas cards.
6 – Make our Christmas wish lists for Santa. (I’m having the kids cut pictures out of magazines and glue them on wish lists I printed online.)
7 – Receive a new pair of special Christmas socks. (I found some cute ones at Old Navy)
8 – Visit the library to pick out some new Christmas books to read.
10 – Drive through a Christmas Light Display to see all of the characters and lights. (Mooseheart Light Display)
11 – Ride the train to the North Pole to pick up Santa! (Polar Express in Wheaton)
12 – It’s Daddy’s Birthday! Help Mommy make a cake and make cookies to take to school tomorrow.
13 – Sort through our toys and select some to donate to the Salvation Army for other children.
14 – Help Mom make a few Christmas goodies.
15 – Make Playdoh snow.
16 – Have a picnic lunch in front of the Christmas tree.
18 – Help Mom make treats to take for Bo’s Christmas program.
19 – Attend Bo’s Preschool Christmas program!
20 – Drive around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights and leave a special gift for the house that the kids like the best.
22 –Watch a special Christmas movie together. (I’m thinking something short – like Rudolph. My girls still don’t sit and watch for long periods.)
24 – Build a gingerbread house.
25 – Christmas Day! Show kids the picture of Santa at our house!
I am sure at least one person will read this, roll their eyes, and think I have way too much time on my hands. In actuality, this list took me about 30 minutes to pull together and the tags took all of 10 minutes. Yes, it will take some time to gather some of the supplies (I made a shopping list while I was pulling the list together), but I’m hopeful that most of the items I can pick up on my next trip to Target. I hope a bit of advance planning will help my little ones to enjoy the magic of the Christmas season.
Does your family have an Advent Calendar? What fun holiday traditions do you have planned for the Christmas season?