Starting Advent Traditions…

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!

Rebecca x

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3 thoughts on “Starting Advent Traditions…

  1. Good prompts.
    We bought our gingerbread house ready made – she doesn’t have the skills to bake and then wait a few days to ice. Plus it was a fiver from the supermarket (Aldi is best this year FYI as its sturdy and even Fred could have a stab at it – the Lidl one requires egg whites and just, no – who has time for that?).
    Christmas Tree wise, we went to Clayton Christmas Tree Farm just outside Manchester to pick a real tree although we did Ivy Farm at Wilmslow last year which was just as lovely but not as rural or muddy.
    Otherwise, in Manchester for locals we’re doing
    (1) HOME Mcr show
    (2) Christmas Markets and Ice Skating
    (3) Christmas stories at John Rylands library
    (4) Dunham Massey light walk (we did the normal Reindeer Trail yesterday which was good for £2)
    (5) Pottery Painting – we’ve done a plate each year – I’m working on a dinner service
    (6) Also trying the Panto this year. Going to one near my parents as we are there for Christmas
    (7) Santa at Quarry Bank

    Also, her term finishes sooner than Fred’s nursery so going to attempt ice skating. I don’t think I could manage it with both babies otherwise.

    Any ideas for Carols? I saw Bridgewater has something on the 24th but its too close. I’m looking for a sing a long like the Royal Albert Hall do. Any ideas? Is there anything on at the Cathedral?

    • Bridgewater sing a long is lovely – we have been previously – think the year Bea was born, 5.5m at the time. Def recommend it.
      We have held off the Panto this year… its so expensive, maybe i need to look at more local ones rather than big productions. We went to Sale Waterside Arts centre production of The Bear by Raymond Brigs which was lovely but lots of small kids crying and taken out as the Bear was rather ferocious at times in his enthusiasm! Bea was fine with it tho.
      Re the gingerbread house. I found baking was enough for Beas attention spam and my patience on one evening, then we simply put it away once baked and didn’t mention it until needed to decorate it that day. Didn’t cause problems.

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