I have ALWAYS loved advent calendars. When I was a kid growing up my mom always got us one of those ones that you opened the little doors on and there was usually a small chocolate candy inside. Growing up there were 7 kids in one house so that meant we each got to open one of the doors and have the candy one day a week. It was always fun to see what was behind the door but it was even cooler when it was our turn to open it.
When I had kids of my own I knew I wanted to keep the advent calendar tradition alive but when you are living on a shoestring budget things like advent calendars don’t really fit in. A few years back while we were living in Fort Worth I came across the idea of an activity advent. I made these super cute little envelopes, wrote out different Christmas themed activities for each day and each day we would open one up, read the note, complete the activity and make memories in the process. I only did that 2 years while we were there mostly because toward the end of our time in Texas our Decembers were pretty jam packed with things to do. Between classes, jobs, church, and homeschooling I just didn’t have the time.
This year I really felt like we needed something fun to take our minds off of the stress of the world. We made the decision to press pause on our regular curriculum and I have been going through a “Christmas Around the World” unit study. Last week we learned all about Christmas in Australia and how “Fairy bread” (white bread with butter and sprinkles) is the girls new favorite snack. This week we are moving on to Sweeden.
I also decided to bring back the activity advent calendar. I found a fun free printable tutorial on Pinterest for the envelopes, printed out the blank card inserts and came up with some fun activities for us to do during the advent season. Here is a quick look at some of the things we did this week:
We began our advent activity calendar with writing letters to Santa. This is generally the first activity we do because well…Santa needs to know am I right? After all the letters were written I gathered them up to be mailed… but never got them in the mail. So when RaeLynn found them stashed away in the laundry room/school room a few days later I had to assure her I scanned and emailed them to Santa so it was all ok.
Activity day 2 was to create paper snowflakes. I am a firm believe that paper snowflakes are the ONLY acceptable form of snow. I am not a fan of the cold weather. I used this fun activity as our math lesson for the day since it incorporates problem solving (how to fold the paper correctly, how to cut it so it all stays together but still makes the pattern you are wanting), and fine motor skills (folding and cutting). Collin is 10 and has reached that point where he is too cool for arts and crafts but the three girls, RaeLynn and Freyja who are 8 and Madilynn who is 3 really enjoyed it. I taped the snowflakes on to the window which is fun since they are all done on brightly colored origami paper.
We only have school 4 days a week so on Thursday our activity was a fun way to celebrate being done with all our school work for the week. As soon as we had finished our work and Madilynn was awake from her nap I loaded up my Christmas music playlist on Spotify on the Xbox and the kids had a Christmas music dance party. Again, my too cool for all that son only sat on the couch and told me why my particular play list choice had ruined all his favorite Christmas songs but the girls had a blast. They never miss an opportunity to get up and dance so this was right in their wheel house. They danced while I sat and worked on sewing up some Christmas presents and by the end of the day they were just worn out.
December 4th,5th, 6th
Since we only have school Monday-Thursday that means Freyja only comes over to our house on those days. So as I was putting our calendar together I made sure that our more family focused activities, the ones we wanted to have dad be a part of, happen on the weekend. This weekend we had a picnic dinner around the Christmas tree and we drank hot apple cider before bed. Friday became a wash due to dad having a very long Zoom meeting that he couldn’t get out of so we did some shifting of the activities. Netflix has these fun programs that are just video of a crackling fireplace so on Saturday and Sunday evenings we turned that on, gathered together in the living room and played the fireplace. I also turned on the audiobook we are listening to and we just enjoyed the glow of the “fireplace” and our Christmas lights as we ate our dinners and drank our apple cider.
This has been a fun start to our advent season. I am looking forward to the activities we will be doing this week so come back and see what else I have up my sleeve.