I know this one is a little early, but I figured if anyone wanted to try this idea for filling their advent calenders they would need a few days to get everything together. Plus, the Christmas tree lighting in town is tonight so ready or not, here come the holidays!
I love our advent "calendar." It is from L.L. Bean. I actually dreamed about owning it for a few years but couldn't justify the price tag. One day The Hubs' mom showed up at our door with it. Love her!
Every year I try to come up with something interesting to hide in it for the boys. The first year I bought a bucket of little green army men which fit okay in the little boxes on the lighthouse. Certain men fit better than others and it took a little bit to figure out which ones we could use, but it wasn't candy which was my whole goal so I felt like I was winning.
The next year I caved and bought Hershey Kisses to put in the boxes. It was easier since I had two boys who I needed to make happy and more than one kiss fit in some of the boxes. The year after that I resorted to the chocolate again because I was tired and running out of ideas that would work for both boys.
Last year we had little Lego kits that we stole from a Lego advent calendar that Grandma got us. That was a hit for a few days, but I ended up putting most of them together in the end.
Then, one day, I was wasting some time scrolling through Pinterest when I can across this:
What??? Give "experiences" rather than little trinkets or chocolate? Sounds good to me! And, this idea comes with bonuses (even better)!
#1 We try to squeeze in a ton of events every holiday season. These events can easily become cards for the lighthouse and since I get to load up the advent "calendar," I can make sure that the events are pulled on the correct day.
#2 There is an "unwrap a book" card. I have always loved the idea of unwrapping a book as a kind of countdown to Christmas, but I didn't really want to have 25 new books (holy expensive) and have to find homes for them in addition to the new gifts.
#3 Some of the cards that I have seen/came up with have to do with the kids doing something nice for someone else, i.e. buy a gift to donate, wrap and bring a gift to the neighbors, etc... This way the boys can see that the holidays are also about doing nice things for others and not just about getting presents.
It took me a little while to come up with a variety of things and, I will admit, some have to do with candy, but overall I think there is a nice variety in the adventures that we will be experiencing this December. Thanks to Kim and her awesome blog post I had a great starting point. Many of the experiences below are borrowed from her.
1. Go to the Sparkle Parade
2. Cut down our tree (more on that tradition here)
3. Put up some holiday lights/ decorate your bedrooms
4. Walk around town and look at the lights
5. Buy and donate a gift to a needy child
6. Make hot chocolate
7. Unwrap a book (this one will probably be used more than once)
8. Family movie night
9. Go out to eat as a family (the boys LOVE restaurants and we hardly ever go.)
10. Decorate Cookies
11. Go for a walk in the woods and collect branches for a wreath
12. Wrap a gift for the neighbors
13. Go on a light drive (LOVE this! We do it every year and have been since before we had kids)
14. Eat a candy cane
15. Go to a holiday movie at the movie theater (one of the local movie theaters has a free movie morning for kids)
16. Visit Santa
17. Go ice skating
18. Make a gift for someone else
19. Bake a treat
20. Go snowshoeing/skiing (depending on the snow)
21. Go to a holiday party
22. Get Chinese Food and have a picnic by the tree (the Chinese food request has been happening weekly and we have yet to get it.)
23. Decorate a tree. (This one has many possibilities. There are lots of "trees" that you could decorate.)
24. Open our Christmas Eve box (More on this little tradition later...)
Make a gingerbread house
Take a winter walk on the beach
Go to a holiday party/ Have a holiday party
Bring a dinner to someone else
Donate food for a needy family (we actually do this one before Thanksgiving)
That is what I have so far. I plan to blog about some of these experiences as we go. Do you have any other ideas that I could add? How do you countdown to Christmas? What is your advent calendar tradition?