Growing up, my parents would buy one of those cheap advent calendars that had a piece of chocolate in each day.. which I loved, but there were five kids in our family, and only ONE chocolate per day. 5 kids.. 1 chocolate--> family fights over a tiny piece of crappy chocolate. I did like opening the tiny little doors every day, though.
So, I decided to do an activity-based permanent advent calendar for Carter this year. I thought that Carter is old enough to understand and enjoy the Christmas-related activities. I researched calendars from Pottery Barn Kids (I thought about making one myself, but let's face it.. I'm not crafty), and my mom ended up surprising us with a personalized one with our last name on it (I blacked the part out).
I looked up some activity ideas on various blogs via Pinterest, and I picked the most applicable ones for our family and Carter's age. If you've been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you likely have noticed I've been posting lots of pictures of our activities. I made sure to include Christ-related activities, such as telling the Nativity story, reading passages from Luke 2 telling the story of Christ's birth, or providing service to others. Some days in the calendar only held a small piece of candy (I used Dove's dark chocolate peppermint bark, which is fantastic), and some days had an activity and a piece of chocolate. Here are a list of our activities:
1) Read Luke 2:1-21 (we read this, and also did the story using an LDS felt story board)
2) Read Christmas books by the Christmas tree
3) Watch the Polar Express movie
4) Ride the Polar Express train
5) Make paper snowflakes
6) Make salt dough ornaments
7) Paint the ornaments
8) Make popcorn balls
9) Make reindeer food
10) Make chocolate dipped Oreo treats (I used candy cane Oreos with candy cane/peppermint candy melts--this didn't melt very smoothly and was pretty thick, so I was definitely use almond bark next time).
11) Go caroling and give Oreo cookie treats (we visited some single or widowed elderly ladies that we knew from church)
12) Go drive and see Christmas lights
13) Open 1 present early (this will be a Christmas story or Christmas pajamas)
14) See the movie Frozen in the theater
15) Make cookies for Santa
16) Read The Night Before Christmas
17) Play "guess the toy in the stocking"
18) Eat a picnic breakfast by the Christmas tree
19) Watch "Mr. Krueger's Christmas"
20) Fly to California (obviously this is specific to our Christmas vacation)
21) Decorate the Christmas tree
22) Make a gingerbread house
23) Call/Skype the grandparents and sing "Jingle Bells" with bells (they LOVED this)
24) Drink hot chocolate after dinner
Doing this calendar has absolutely made this time of the year magical for me (and Carter). I've loved doing these little projects and seeing Carter's face light up with all of the possibilities. Carter has LOVED doing this, and has asked to do the "Chwistmas cawenduh" every morning! I will definitely be doing this every year from now on, although I'll probably be changing some of the activities as Carter gets older.
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