The Christmas season blows in hard doesn’t it? We feel behind before it ever begins. When the season actually arrives…like right now, even though it’s only the beginning of November….if we aren’t intentional in our planning, we will find ourselves feeling little joy and much stress.
We want to create memories for our families. But does that sometimes feel like one more to-do? Do we feel the pressure of adorable Pinterest pins and Facebook posts of our friends who have teams of elves entering their homes every single night making Christmas magical? Do we wonder if we are making Christmas special enough?
I’ve found a secret to fighting this type of Christmas stress.
With our advent calendar, we have simplified our Christmas, while making our season more meaningful and intentional. It only takes a little extra planning the first year, then each year that follows, you will thank yourself for making your holiday less stressful and more memorable.
My kids love an advent calendar. They love opening the doors and counting down the days until Christmas. I love it too, and I thought, why can’t we use our advent calendar to create memories, to experience times of togetherness, and to do some of the things on our Christmas to-do list or Christmas bucket list?
Do you remember this post where I listed 18 ways your family can serve others at Christmas? Well, using an advent calendar is a great way to make sure your service projects actually happen. Also, each day in Seeking Christmas, there is an activity that ties into the lesson. When I know the days we will be doing those lessons/activities, I put that in the advent calendar. For me it is accomplishing 2 things at once by simplifying. But it is also about becoming intentional with the fleeting moments of Christmas. Intentional to spend time together, to create memories, to experience moments together, and to serve others.
It’s easy for an advent calendar to become just one more ways kids are given a message that it’s all about them. It could potentially be one more way they run to see what they get that day as they countdown to the day they get even more. It doesn’t have to be that way. Kids love time together. Kids love the surprise of opening the door. Kids will cherish these memories. And one day, they will have a heart that thinks a little more of others and a little less of themselves. We pray, right??
So here is the list we use in our house. Many days I duplicate activities. I usually have several days that the activity is reading a Christmas story together, or watching a movie, or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate together. Don’t feel the pressure to come up with 25 different activities. Some activities will want to be repeated. This list is to give you ideas. I left off many that you might want to include for your family, such as going to a tree farm or decorating the tree.
To simplify even further, I got Christmas card stock, used a gift tag punch, and created these advent activities to use each year. Now I don’t have to think about it. I just pull it out with our other Christmas decorations. And like any tradition, my kids anticipate what lies behind those doors.
25 Advent Days of Memories and Experiences
1-Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate together
2-Enjoy a Christmas movie together
3-Look at Christmas lights
4-Be a secret santa to someone
5- Make cookies
6-Random act of kindness
8- Bless someone in some small way
9-Enjoy a candy cane
10-Sibling exchange shopping
11- Gingerbread houses
12 -Make ornament
13- Choose a Christmas book (we keep a shelf of Christmas books that only come out once a year.)
15 – Write a Christmas poem or story together (we do this every year and I love looking back at what my kids have written)
16 – Wrap gifts (you do this anyway, so make a memory and have some fun with it!)
17 – Write a Christmas letter to someone (compassion child, a relative,a friend)
18 – Choose your activity (each person can choose an activity…a story, movie, etc)
19 – Christmas outing (ice skating, a local town parade or festival, etc)
20 – Christmas scavenger hunt
21 – Make a Christmas blessings list (where today did you see hope, love, peace, and joy?)
22 -Christmas campout- Set up sleeping bags under the Christmas tree, watch movies, make popcorn and indoor s’mores, and snuggle up for an indoor campout under the lights.
23 -Prepare, create, wrap teacher/friend gifts.
24- Christmas Eve church service
25 – Jesus was born – our greatest gift ever (we have a tiny porcelain baby Jesus that fits in our Advent house)
Additional ideas we have used :
- a surprise gift – a small something you have chosen for each person
- call someone to simply say I’m thinking of you and Merry Christmas
- Birthday Party for Jesus
- Special Christmas programs, performances, or musicals you plan to attend
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