I love the tradition of having an advent activity calendar. Some people do candies or gifts each day, and I think those are fun too. We, however, decided a few years ago to start activities.
In the past we have used little envelopes stamped with each day’s number…
But I’ve noticed that it seems like everyone does the envelopes and tiny clothespins now…so I put my thinking cap on and tried to come up with something unique. I have been inspired this year by old-fashioned homemade decorations. In fact, one of our advent activities is to head to a Christmas tree farm this weekend then make decorations for the tree. Think popcorn garlands and candy ornaments! Fun, huh? I’ve noticed that lots of homemade decorations are made from paper, so that’s where I started.
I headed to Hobby Lobby and picked up 8 pieces of scrapbook paper (I figured I could get 3 trees from each piece of paper). I looked for patterns that had sort of a vintage Christmas feel. They were .25 each. I grabbed a branch from our scrap pile out back and decided to hang the mini paper trees from it. Hanging a branch in your house and adding ornaments is not a new idea. I’ve seen it a few times. I just thought the idea would be good for our little advent trees too!
I had already thought of all our activities. My suggestion on this is to start by looking locally for Christmas activities that you’d like to do. For example your town’s Christmas tree lighting, visiting Santa, a charity event or play/concert you’ll be attending. I also have a couple “extra” activities just in case on the day we are supposed to do an activity something comes up and I need a quick change. Here is our list…
- Christmas Jammies
- Christmas Craft
- Make a Lego Christmas Scene
- Choose an Ornament
- Tree Lighting
- Christmas Tree Farm
- Decorate Tree
- Give a Toy – Toys for Tots
- Christmas Music Concert
- Visit Santa
- Christmas Craft
- Read the real Christmas Story
- Watch Elf
- Visit Heard Natural Preserve
- Make edible decorations
- Carriage Ride
- Go Look at Christmas Lights
- Candlelit Dinner with Records
- Family Movie Night
- Family Game Night
- Christmas Puzzle
- Make Christmas Fudge
- Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
- Bake Christmas cookies
- Chinese Food!
- Read The Night Before Christmas
You can see that I have 26 things listed above but I only needed 24. The extra two are the ones I’ll use if something needs to change due to weather, etc.
And here is how I made our simple little “trees”. I already had stamps and the christmas twine (I’ve had both for forever – good investments. That Christmas twine has lasted years and there is still a ton on the roll!) I printed our list out and cut the activities into strips.
I created/cut a template for a tree then traced it on the paper. the template is a shape like a triangle with a rounded bottom.
Then I taped the activity strip on the inside. I also taped a piece of string to the “top”.
Then I folded the paper together to form a tree (cone) and taped it.
Finally, I used my stamps to add the number for the day the activity would be opened.
Then I tied the paper trees to the branch. The kids can easily untie them on the day it will be opened. The branch is hung by the same Christmas twine from the bottom of our mantle with command strip hooks.
So simple and cute! And it cost me about 2 bucks… I knocked it out in less than an hour while watching one of my gazillion Hallmark Christmas movies. I’m obsessed with Christmas movies!
In addition to our family advent activities we also spend a few minutes each Sunday night working through our family advent guide. It has a scripture and stories and songs and is a wonderful way to remind us of the reason for the season. We also light the weekly candle. This year we decided on simple mason jars to hold our candles instead of our more ornate usual advent candle holder.
I’m looking forward to sharing some of out activities over the next few weeks. This is, after all, the most wonderful time of year!
Thanks for reading!