As I mentioned a few weeks ago, now that November is here, I am looking at my holiday to-do lists with a critical eye and trying to be very realistic about what can actually, and joyfully, be accomplished between now and December.
My goal is to finish as much of my holiday planning as I can during the month of November so that December can be about more meaningful things. I’m also hoping that a little extra work and thoughtfulness now means more rest and playing later!
This week I’m thinking about Advent ideas in preparation for the upcoming season.
Advent: Counting the Days
It doesn’t take too many days of using an Advent calendar for even young kids to start to understand the idea of a count-down. The simple, repeated act – be it opening a drawer on an heirloom calendar to reveal a surprise or tearing the next link on a paper chain every day – is a fun way for kids to mark the passage of time.
Something to look forward to every day is a nice way to measure the remaining time toward an anticipated day.
Making the Days Count
Over the years, our family has had Advent calendars with a small toy for each day, such as the Lego or Playmobil calendars. This year, I have decided that I would like to shift the focus away from things and more toward experiences.
I have been writing a list of simple, but fun things that I would like to do with my kids this holiday season. I’d like to come up with 25 things, but I also want to keep this low-pressure and easy, so I’m not worrying too much about the actual number.
So far, my list has things on it like:
- make paper snowflakes
- drink cocoa from our Christmas mugs
- decorate the Christmas tree
- bake cookies
- call Grandma and sing Jingle Bells
- go for a drive to look at holiday lights
- take a picture in our Santa hats (the sillier, the better!)
- make real eggnog
- color a picture using only red and green crayons
- watch A Charlie Brown Christmas
Old and New Advent Traditions
A new tradition I hope to start this Advent season is to create a simple scrapbook of the season, inspired by Ali Edward’s December Daily project. I’m putting together the album now, as Ali suggests, so that once December gets here all I have to do is add my journaling and daily picture.
Some of you think I’m very organized, and your kind words flatter me, but the truth is I just have a talent for locating good resources that take some of the planning and research off of my own shoulders. I appreciate that there are others before me who have already done the work of compiling stories, songs, and craft ideas. All I have to do is gather supplies and follow along!
My Favorite Advent Planners
Last year I purchased the Seasons of Joy’s Advent: Lighting a Path to Christmas ebook. My kids and I really enjoyed picking from the songs, stories, crafts, and nature table ides and are looking forward to repeating those activities and readings again this year, too.
We’ll be combining the Seasons of Joy ebook with another of my favorite resources: Advent and Christmas with Tomie De Paola from Elizabeth Foss. We’ve used this fantastic, free resource in our homeschool for a few years now, but I don’t think you have to be a homeschooler to appreciate it.
I’ll also be pulling out my favorite devotional book for this time of year, A Child in Winter: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany with Caryll Houselander.
While the Houselander book is for me, I’m still looking for an Advent devotional for my nine year old. Any suggestions?
Do you have a favorite Advent calendar count-down method or devotional?
This post on Advent was brought to you by Back 40 Life, a beautiful etsy store full of handcrafted signs and wall decals. Jodi’s dream of Back 40 Life began as a desire for “…a slower pace that celebrated the simplicity of life and found enjoyment in the everyday.” I can certainly relate to that!