Christmas Countdown; Activity Advents


I love Christmas. Like really really love Christmas. The gift giving, the decorations, the food, the music, the wayyy too much family time. I love it all.

Every year I have a list of things I want to do in December and when my son arrived most of the activities revolved around him.

I ended up creating a calendar, an advent that included the activities by dates to encourage us to actually complete what I wanted to do because the days fly by so quickly.

I have a friend who prepares an advent for her sister’s family and her sister prepares one in return. It is their Christmas gift to each other and we conveniently get to join in on some of the fun.

For our family, on Christmas Day the gifts are plentiful. Last year there were too many for them to really enjoy. It was overwhelming.

This year they get the gift of adventure and activity each day of the month!

I even brought out my inner craftiness and created fabric advents for each of my children.

And I can't wait for the magic.

Some days we will simply have a chocolate.

Some will include activities such as: baking cookies, singing carols, looking at lights, picking out and trimming the tree, dance parties, painting ornaments and other crafts.

Some will include tickets to activities such as: train tickets to the Christmas Express, a movie ticket to the theatre to see the new Grinch movie and tickets for a skate at the local arena.

Some will have small gifts such as holiday pyjamas, a snowman puzzle, or a little game (wrapped in a box with a corresponding number).

We always include the gift of giving. One of the days we will let our son choose where we donate to and we go in person and do it together. It could be the SPCA or a present for a family in need.

Don't be afraid to include the grandparents in the fun.

The kids don’t have to know that, “Make cookies and sleepover at Grandmas,” really translates to: “Mom and dad are going to drink too many rum and eggnogs and try not to make you a big brother again!”

The best thing is this can cost as much or as little as you like. It can easily be done for free. There are many events, such as the community light-ups, that cost nothing!

You can create an advent calendar by simply decorating mail envelopes or paper bags and attaching them to string with clothes pins.

If you’re intrigued and might like to try this next year (write some notes and slip them in a box where you store your decorations, somewhere you’re sure to find next holiday season). And it’s not too late to start now and try a version of, "12 days of Christmas," and start on the 13th.

Here are some tips: write a master list of the activities in case you need to switch them up a little (December is a busy month and events pop up out of nowhere).

Plan simple activities around days that are filled with things like work and school. The last thing you want to do is have your toddler remember the advent at 7 p.m. after a full day away from the house and end up baking until 11:30 p.m. because you were 3/4 of a bottle of Pinot in when you wrote the bloody calendar and forgot that little Susie has skating lessons right after school that day (I say this from experience).

So, if you are like me, and want to minimize the gifts on Christmas and stretch the holiday out as long as you possibly can, think about joining in on the advent-ure fun!

Kristy Symes