The second "to don't" took a little longer to form in my mind. Here it is: daily advent calendars
You see, I've tried and failed with so many different advent calendars over the years as a mom. Paper chains, magnets on muffin tins to name a couple. I guess I'm too tired at bedtime to do them consistently. And don't get me started on some of the daily advents I've seen on Pinterest: decorate sugar cookies today, take the kids sledding tomorrow, go caroling on Thursday.
Really? Who has that much time on a weeknight?
I wanted an achievable way to enjoy Christmastime, and I wanted it to involve happy times as a family and the true meaning of Christmas.
That's when I had my idea for a Christmas Sunday Advent.
There are four Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas (not including Christmas Day). If I could make an advent that only needed to be done four times during the month, my chances for success increase exponentially. For us, church gets over at noon, leaving us about eight hours of I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-myself family bonding time. Perfect.
Christmas Sunday Advent
I love the flashing Christmas lights.
The shows and parties are delights.
Better yet are days of rest,
For family time is always best.
Each Sunday until Christmas Day
Let’s meet beside this tree to pray—
For peace on Earth and in our hearts
Begins at home—that’s where it starts.
A gift like this, expect to see
Underneath the Christmas tree.
Look inside and you might see:
A puzzle we can put together
A family photo book to treasure
A small token of the reason
For the joy we have this season.
Some might be old, some might be new.
The real gift is time with you.
If you prefer, you could wait until the first Sunday in December, or until there are only two Sundays left. Your kids don't have to know that I did it for four Sundays.
Since I'm only trying to create four more magical days in December, instead of the 12 or 24 required by most advents, I can afford to put more thought into what special thing(s) might happen. Remembering that the goal is family time and remembering Christ, here are a few ideas that fit well in a gift bag or small box:
- Advent Candles, 1 per week (search Pinterest for some great ideas)
- Candy cane tie (boys) or hairbow (girls) for church/parties
- Books to read together
- Board Book of the Christmas Story
- Puzzle (200-500 piece suggested for school age and up)
- Printed Coloring Pages
- Instructions or supplies for parlor games, such as Christmas Charades or Christmas Pictionary
- A toy nativity set
- DVDs, such as Mr. Kruger's Christmas
- Family photo book (new or old)
- Family photos, unbound
- Christmas craft kits
- "Tickets" to a church choir performance
- Cookie mix, sprinkles and frosting bags
One of the tricks to making this cheap and easy is to get into the garage boxes without the kids seeing. I've pulled out the toy nativity set, cookie cutters, a DVD, and a Hallmark Christmas book that has a recording of the Grandparents reading (since we took the batteries out before storing, it still works beautifully).
At the craft store I bought a couple 50% off craft kits. There were a couple Christmas ties at the thrift store. I printed Christmas charade cards to cut and put in an envelope. I'm almost done creating an 8x8 photo book of the last two Christmases.
Below find links to see what we specifically put into each Sunday Advent bag/box, and how the kids reacted to it:
[to be updated weekly, beginning on or shortly after Sunday, November 27th, 2016]