For about a year I’ve been planning to make an Activity Advent Calendar for Christmas. Despite the plan, I still didn’t get it done until 2 days after Advent had commenced, but no one but me really seemed to mind. So just in case you’re looking for some some late-start advent ideas, I thought I’d go ahead and share what I did. (Or maybe you’ll be cooler than me and tuck this idea away for next year and actually get it done on time!) Anyway, back to the calendar. I love the idea of being intentional about celebrating the season and creating family memories. I also knew that Charlie would be just old enough to enjoy some special activities each day. We are just beginning to form our family Christmas traditions, and I feel like this advent calendar is something that will grow with us through the years.
The advent calendar was also a great outlet for my Christmas-y desire to craft! I had been looking at advent calendars on Pinterest for quite some time (like, since last year) and was feeling very inspired by all the fun and pretty ideas out there. But many of them seemed to revolve around a creative way to wrap a small gift for each day of advent, and I knew that I wanted mine to be focused activities. So after perusing Pinterest and wandering the aisles of Hobby Lobby, I managed to find the materials to suit our needs.
I started with a long cork board. The nice thing about this particular one is that the cork actually wraps around the edges of the board and a little onto the back so I didn’t have to think of a way to dress up a wooden frame.
Then I took some red burlap and wrapped the board in it. I was going to use staples, until I realized I didn’t have any. But for some reason I had an abundance of flat white thumbtacks, so I used those instead.
I decided I wanted to display the activities with small numbered pockets with a slip of paper explaining each activity in them, working kind of like a library card pocket. To make these pockets I actually bought some small craft paper envelopes. I sealed shut the envelope and then cut off one side to open it up.
Then I used a hole punch to make a hole in the back of each pocket.
After writing a number on each pocket (which took me FOREVER for some reason – this is why I was two days late), I used some yarn to string up enough pockets to go across my board. Once again, I used some flat thumbtacks to connect the yarn to each side of the board.
Then I was finally ready to fill the days with activities! Despite my desire to do everythingunderthesun, I tried to keep it simple and pared down to things we could easily fit into our days. I have a one year old after all, so many of the cute Christmas crafts out there just wouldn’t work for us right now. All I needed were simple activities to help introduce Charlie to some of the fun of the season. I also used this as an opportunity to think ahead and plan out some of the things that would need to get done anyway, like decorating the tree and baking Christmas cookies.
- Christmas music dance party – Charlie is really into music and dancing these days, so this activity is planned a few times.
- Christmas treasure basket – Charlie loves his treasure basket, so for the month of December it will be filled with Christmas-y items.
- Read a Christmas story – this is planned several times.
- Bake cookies
- Decorate the tree
- Santa’s beard craft – I plan on finding a print out of Santa’s face and letting Charlie glue cotton balls to his beard. We’ve never used glue before, so this will be a learning experience.
- Red and green finger painting
- Make a paper chain – I’m not sure how this one will go, but it’s worth a try.
- Look at Christmas lights around town
- Go to our town’s Christmas festival
This is a tradition I hope to continue for years to come. As Charlie gets older I want to try to include more activities to help him connect with the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe we’ll find some service opportunities or spend time making gifts or cards for others. However the activities might evolve, I am hopeful that this advent calendar will be the source of many family memories through the years.