When my good friend Ann sent me this link and invited me to join the 25 Days of Christmas project, I didn’t hesitate to jump in. I absolutely love Christmas. I pretend to roll my eyes when people complain about Christmas coming too early, but secretly I’m jumping for joy. When I see Christmas decorations in the stores in October, my heart does a little cartwheel. I start playing Christmas music way to early (see: October). And once December is here, I am full-on cuckoo for Christmas.
And my fervor — to put it mildly — only got stronger after my girls were born. Christmas with kids is awesome times a thousand. So putting together an advent calendar of fun/festive/heart-filled activities for us to do together was a no-brainer.
Then November hit. Sophie got a cold, then an ear infection, then a stomach virus. Then Lily got the virus, then Marc and me. And before I knew it, I was sitting at my kitchen table on the day after Thanksgiving without a single craft supply or idea written down for our calendar.
I decided to bail. There just seemed like no way to pull it off.
So of course I logged on to Facebook because why try to be productive when you can get online, right? And my news stream was filled with the most beautiful advent calendars made by harried moms just like me. The calendars ranged from simple to complex, colorful to neutral, big to small. And on top of those lovely images were words of encouragement among the women in the group, telling each other that it’s the thought that counts, not the level of difficulty or your expertise with needle and thread.
I felt inspired. I wanted back in.
After a quick trip to Michael’s (where I spent less than $15 on kraft paper tags, twine, clips, stamps and an ink pad), this started to happen:
And then it became this (I commissioned the star from Lily):
We’re only three days in, but Lily and I are having a total blast. She can’t wait to turn over the next little card every morning.
And of course little sister wants to climb the chair too. I tried to create activities that involve Sophie, too, but she doesn’t really know what’s going on. Except that she wants to grab the cards.
Here’s our calendar:
1: bake cookies with Nonna (we also made jingle bell necklaces, by some stroke of luck/Christmas miracle)
2: hide a special note for Daddy to find
3: sing carols on the way to school
4: sneak a treat into Sophie’s school lunch
5: red + green sprinkle pancakes for dinner
6: Christmas movie night with popcorn + pj’s
7: buy + wrap gifts for family in need
8: Holiday Express at Pullen Park
9: wrap family gifts
10: play holiday “I spy” on the way to school
11: look at Lily’s first Christmas photo album at bedtime
12: Frosty-shaped pancakes for dinner
13: Christmas movie night with popcorn + pj’s
14: bake + deliver treats for neighbors
15: Frosty the Snowman play downtown
16: make cards for teachers
17: deliver gifts to teachers, after-school care director and crossing guard
18: build-your-own Christmas sundae
19: Lily’s holiday celebration at school
20: Christmas movie night with popcorn + pj’s
21: Nutcracker with Nonna, Aunt Laura and Olive
22: make craft for family gifts
23: hang balloons on the Teddy Bear Tree
24: build gingerbread house
25: wish everyone in our family “Merry Christmas!” and give big hugs
There’s a lot of repetition, and it’s really simple, but it’s the best I could do and I’m so happy with it. I’m trying to stay focused on the doing, not the documenting. But on a good day when I can pull off both, I’ll share it here!