This is the third year I'll be using this Advent calendar. It is a simple calendar to put together. I purchased tiny envelopes from the craft store and, using a stencil, numbered them with black ink. Then I took clothespins and painted 12 white and 13 red. I have a never ending ball of twine in my craft supplies that I used to hang clothesline style and clipped the envelopes to the twine with the clothespins.
The neat thing about this count down calendar is that instead of little gifts or pieces of candy, they are filled with little notes describing activities that my son gets to do that day. Here is a list of some of the activities I use:
- A trip to the Christmas display at our train museum
- Leave holiday cards on the doors of our neighbors when we go on our evening walk
- Make paper snowflakes and use them to decorate our windows
- Purchase and deliver books to the children's shelter
- Bake cookies and deliver to someone special
- Go see the holiday lights
- Make our annual trip to World Market to buy a new animal ornament to add to our tree
- Enjoy hot chocolate and a holiday movie together
- Buy blankets from the thrift store and hand them out to the homeless
- Make holiday crafts (craft kits can be purchased about anywhere, or come up with your own).
The idea is to get the child excited about activities and giving, not just about Santa bringing a sleigh load of gifts. I do throw in a couple days where he gets to open a small gift, like a Lego figure or a craft kit, but there are only a couple of these. As you can see, there are plenty of creative activities you can include. Some may be very specific to your area, like build a snow fort (snow is scarce in south Texas) or visit a local museum or tourist attraction (here we have the Riverwalk and can take part in a tamale festival and La Gran Posada, a reenactment of the procession of Mary and Joseph).
What are some activities on your Advent calendar?