Last year we decided to follow Stephanie’s lead and come up with 24 short and simple activities for the family to take part in each evening during the Advent – from the first of December through to Christmas Eve. While I have to admit there were some evenings when the activities fell by the wayside, it was mostly a great success and something AJ has been looking forward to doing it again all year, so I am guessing it has now become a family tradition. The key to this is keeping the activities simple otherwise it can be quite demanding to find the time to do them every day. Some of ours included “Make hot chocolate with all the fixings” and “Give everyone crazy hairstyles”… all very manageable.
You will need:
24 activity ideas appropriate for the interests and the ages of your family members.
24 boxes, envelopes, socks, packages etc. to put them in.
Your calendar or diary or a notepad.
Write a list of your ideas and then pick your 24 favourites. Check your calendar for December and work out how each of the activities will fit in with your schedule. Plan the more complex activities for weekend afternoons or other big blocks of time and save the simple ones for evenings when you guess you might be exhausted. Keep an extra special family activity for Christmas Eve.
I put our advent calendar together in a hurry. In the end I simply folded 24 pieces of origami paper into envelopes with the activity written inside, sealed it with a sticker with the number scribbled on in biro:
and then put them all in a box which sat at our bedside for AJ to open each morning.
Not terribly glamorous but it did the trick and each envelope was opened with great excitement.
Here is another idea which I scanned in from an old Notebook magazine – this is originally what I wanted to do but we didn’t have enough old matchboxes lying around.
Rosa’s beautiful wall hanging is also a wonderful way of holding all the activities.
After writing up all the cards, I kept a list of all the activities and the corresponding dates so I could prepare ahead for each evening. Sometimes that meant something as simple as booking a table at a cheap sushi restaurant, and other times it meant getting together craft supplies, or recipe ingredients and so on.
And what kind of activities do we recommend?
1. Paint everyone’s toenails
2. Have hot chocolate with all the fixings (we might do milkshakes if it’s too hot)
3. Star gazing
4. Give everyone crazy hairstyles
5. Backyard cricket
6. Go out for sushi
7. Have an indoor picnic
8. Write letters to Father Christmas
9. Use puppets to tell bedtime story
10. Have breakfast for dinner (I am thinking pancakes)
11. Make decorations for the tree
12. Have a camp out around the christmas tree
13. Pack a picnic dinner and have it at a park (or Botanical Gardens)
14. Fancy dress for dinner time
15. Wrap a toy and take it to a charity christmas tree
16. Make handmade gift tags for relatives
17. Fish and Chips for dinner down at the beach
18. Fold origami for the christmas tree
19. Dance like crazy to music
20. Watch a christmas movie with popcorn
21. Go out for gelati
22. Take Grandparents out to see the Christmas lights
23. Have a bubble bath
24. Special christmas Eve treat TBA