I don’t know if it’s the political climate, the trend for more considered and authentic celebrations, or having a young family, but this year, instead of stuffing the advent calendar with chocolate I felt the need to do something more thoughtful. (Strike that, as well as the chocolate! You can’t leave out the chocolate!) Part of it was wanting Bea to enjoy the build up to Christmas more than just wanting daily chocolate, and part of it was a desire to start creating new family traditions and making memories. So I decided to fill the calendar with prompts for fun and celebratory things to do in the lead up to Christmas.
I thought I would share them here (we were a little late starting due to a sickness bug doing the rounds,) and you could perhaps take inspiration from the idea for the future or just pick a few to enjoy this year.
1. Light the Advent Candle
2. Write a letter to Santa (post before the 8th for a reply!)
3. Buy a Christmas Tree
4. Read ‘The Night Before Christmas’
5. Decorate the Christmas Tree
6. Sing some Christmas songs/carols
7. See some Christmas lights (We are going to an illuminated Christmas trail at Dunham Massey)
8. Make some Christmas cards
9. Put up some Christmas lights
10. Make some Gingerbread
11. Decorate your bedroom
12. Take a festive family photo
13. Decorate a Gingerbread house
14. Watch a Christmas film (Our Favourite is The Polar Express)
15. Go to a Christmas Party
16. Make some Hot Chocolate
17. Deliver some Christmas presents
18. Wrap a Christmas Present
19. Play some Christmas music (on the piano with Daddy)
20. Do something kind or charitable in the spirit of the season.
21. Eat a mince Pie
22. Hang up your stocking
23. Go to the theatre
24. Put out the carrots and mince pies for Rudolf and Santa!
Before you dismiss the idea as being too hard work, I need to let you into a little secret here – make the prompts work with you, not against you! For example, on Mondays and Fridays Pete works late which means I do solo school pick up, dinner, bedtime and all the tantrums in between. So on those days I’ve put in really simple things that don’t require much effort or input and that I hope won’t aggravate an already tired 3 year old. I’ve also manipulated the prompts to include some activities that we already have planned – for example, on the 6th it’s Bea’s school Christmas sing-along, and she has been invited to a party on the 15th. We are going to see The Snowman on the 23rd, and to a light show on the 7th. On the 17th we are seeing family we won’t see at Christmas.
I’ve also included some things kind of twice – buying and decorating the tree for example – as we didn’t feel ready (or able, as Cora has been ill this weekend) to put up the tree today but wanted to buy it. And making and decorating a gingerbread house seemed a bit ambitious for one day!
I’m planning on using my diary to keep a note of upcoming prompts so I can include Gingerbread ingredients in the weekly shop for example, and so I can get the decorations for Bea’s room put into a box ready rather than scrabbling about for them on the evening we need them. More than anything I’m just hoping to make some memories and savour the build up to the season. Particularly as I’m on maternity leave and it’s Cora’s first Christmas (although this is heavily biased towards Bea!) I’m hoping it will go well enough to become an annual tradition.
I’d love to hear if you already do something like this, if you can think of any prompts I could include in future years (I’m thinking ice-skating…?) or if you are inspired to include some in your calendar. If you do join in with any of them, no matter what the order, please do share and tag your photos with #FFAdvent and I’ll have a peep at what you are all up to!