I've never done an advent calendar, but I know that they are super popular. Tell me more about them! What's the fun in having one?
I think its just the fun of opening a little something - whether it be just a little window on a paper calendar or a drawer with a little ornament in - every day. Its like a miniature Christmas every day.
I like the ones that actually have a story behind each day. Like an ornament for a Jesse Tree with the story behind that day's particular ornament, etc. I think its a bit late in the year to try and make one from now, but if you could find one already put together...
The kids just love to count the days till Christmas, I love watching the kids open their "door". We have one they received as a present many years ago. It has all sorts of Christmas songs. Huby built a shelve in a tree form where we put little presents with numbers on. Some chocolates, some stickers, a stamp, a body tattoo, and a book on the 5th, a shirt on the 24th.
I have always been obsessed with advent calendars and have several that I put up each year! This year, I'm making a digital version of this one:
On each card, I have planned out an activity for that day, things like the kids choir performances, driving around to see lights, writing letters to Santa, Taking a hayride and seeing a light show, visiting a live nativity, etc. This way we can hopefully make each day count in December!!
i never had one at home growing up. we had a calendar, with a little mouse that we moved from pocket to pocket, to count down the days (mom still puts it up, and we're 21 and 26). but when my uncle and aunt got married, the first christmas, they sent my brother and i one that had different chocolate treats in each box.
i think the fun of it is that it's something little to open/do each day. i love the idea of activities like ramona said! i've seen LOADS of examples on pinterest. i love how many different ideas there are. when i have kids, someday, i can't wait to do little things like that with them.
You are my hero Ramona! I had all intentions of making that one too, but sadly never got around to it. Maybe next year.
This year, the boys both have Lego advent calendars. They've had them for the past few years now and LOVE them. Such a fun treat to get a little Lego gift every day. Growing up, we used to have the ones with the chocolate.
Advent calendars are invaluable for our family because of our autistic son. He struggles with understanding time and waiting. For example, we had our first snow last Saturday. He was convinced (complete with total meltdown and everything) that it meant Santa was coming that day and we had to put the tree out, etc. So, by having something that he can visually see and count down, it helps him understand the concept more. We did one for Halloween too. I made it from digital scrapbook products too!
We only started doing advent calendars about 3 years ago and I must say Chrismari loves doing them. I include fun activities that are also a bit educational...she has such a hard time writing but some of the activities we had were write a letter to santa, make a wish list, write letters to family back home and write christmas cards etc. even her teacher noted how her handwriting improved over this period.
I also added some activities like making ornaments, baking cookies, drinking hot chocolate under the tree in PJ's, reading from the Bible the real story of why we are celebrating this special event etc. it can be anything we do everyday but with that special twist of Christmas. It is just something really fun and it gets us into the spirit. Also make it as simple as possible...KWIM? Shoot for easy activities that will not be too labor intensive...yes you can do cookies from scratch but even the cookie mixes works wonders and the kids love it so that is most important?
To be honest my favorite memory is of Chrismari running to the calendar each morning to see what we would do for the day...the pure excitement!
We've done them for years, last year when DS could read we had an elf (not the shelf one, that thing is creepy lol) leave him notes and little gifts - he had to read the note to find the gift. Other years we've done the Lego ones, His favourite one was little gift bags hidden in the tree (with numbers on them). This year I think we'll go back to the gift in the tree, maybe with hints on where to find things. I usually get him Christmas books, Lego, art supplies and candies with a few other little toys thrown in.
We had one when I was a kid...St. Nick visited each night and left a small candy or toy for each of us. My parents used it kind of like the Elf on a Shelf things. I do the same with my kids, and tell Maggie that St. Nick watches and reports to Santa. This year I am doing it a little different, in that on the 1st Maggie will get a small tree from St. Nick (can't change that tradition without raising red flags!), and an ornament or decoration for the tree each day leading up to Christmas. I know I probably could have gotten away with one more year without doing it for my son (who will be 2 in January), but decided I would start it this year, with a Little People Nativity Scene...so he will get a new piece each night (while he's sleeping). Next year I want to do a nativity for Maggie too, but she REALLY wanted her own tree this year...2 birds with 1 stone!
We love the Lego advent calendars because you get a little mini-build each day. And this year they have a Star Wars-themed advent calendar!!
I've always done advent calendars. Or candles - went through a advent candle phase as a teenager. It's really difficult to find ones that aren't a misshapen lump of chocolate for each day though. I made one last year which the girls loved but kind of fell apart so I've bought one for this year. It's the lego one and I think they're going to be very excited! My father in law sends us one to look at on the computer every day which the girls LOVE. It's from a website called Jacquie Lawson or something.
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Definitely not alone girls. 2 of my 3 boys are on the spectrum. My oldest has Aspergers, and my middle one has classic autism. I never had an advent calendar growing up, but made it part of our tradition when I had kids. It was so helpful for them especially in those early years of learning about waiting and anticipation. And taking turns! We have a Play Mobile one that builds a Christmas Scene as you had each piece day after day. They would be so excited to be the one that got to open the daily surprise, that we had to mark the real calendar with their names to know whose turn it was to open the advent surprise. And this was even with using the same advent calendar year after year. Of course I would switch up which surprise was in which box.
My boys are teens and still look forward to the advent calendar!
I'm looking to make a new one that is a bit more grown up. But they still want that little Christmas scene!
i used to make one for each girl when they were younger, as its a tradition in Denmark to get one small present everyday until the 24th when Christmas was celebrated...so for them, it was fun to get that one piece of chocolate or whatever...here, they sell packs of 24 small items for this tradition. But its changing quite a bit and lots of families to advent calendars in a smaller way. The gift comes on each sunday before advent so there are only 4 gifts (starts tomorrow). My girls requested 4 larger gifts in place of the 24 smaller ones, rofl...oh yes, LEGO is made in Denmark, they have quite a number of advent packs here...
We have been doing an Advent Calendar since my 11 yo was about 3. My mom buought a cute wooden version with little doors. The doors are only about 2in square. When we first filled it we used a variety of candy/dollar store trinkets. Now we have 4 kiddos and can't fit all into the little doors and they have grown past the dollar store trinkets. We do candy most days and on random days (usually 1 per week) we have a note that says see mommy and I give them a larger gift that wouldn't fit. We do puzzles, games, a new Christmas book, christmas shirt and on Christmas eve it is always new pjs. Christmas morning is the first clue to a scavenger hunt that ends at a family gift. I think that scavenger hunt is the part they love the most!
After reading all these entries though I am feeling on the lame side It never occurred to me to do fun activities. Next year were certainly look different.
This year my yougest and I will be 8 hours away from the rest of our family for the entire month of December. I got the advent box ready for the 3 remaining at home with daddy and left a list of instructions for hubby to dole out the gifts on "see daddy" days. I felt it was important to keep this tradition going since things would be so out of sorts with us being separated this year. For my youngest who will be with me I got an advent tree with little pockets and a wooden cady cane that moves each day. I will have her trinket in a special box that she will check each day after she moves the candy cane.
I wish I had some expired gift cards. I always cut them so I won't be confused. I can get more, though. The PTO at Maggie's school sells SCRIP, which is a fundraising program where they sell full value gift cards that they buy for a lower price. For example, the school can buy a $20 Wal-Mart gift card for $16. They get to keep the $4 profit. BEST fundraiser ever because I buy stuff I'd be buying anyway and I don't have to sell wrapping paper or cookie dough or popcorn or whatever.
But I digress...lol. I was just thinking that I'd love to alter those cards for a project like this.