This will be the third year for our Christmas Countdown and it’s already become a firmly established tradition.
Older Brother talks about it all year long. I guess when you’re six, a three-year-old tradition adds up to half your life, and all of your remember-able life.
The first year, I actually made a sort of frugal-crafty creation involving a cookie sheet with magnetized calendar squares for each of the 25 days leading up to and including Christmas Day. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but Older Brother loved it.
The following year (last Christmas), I simply was not up to recreating anything remotely involved. So I printed the activities on regular computer paper, cut them into strips and placed each strip in its own white, mailing envelope and sealed them with Christmas stickers. I wrote each day’s number on the front of the envelope. So completely and utterly NOT Martha Stewart or Pinterest worthy. But it worked. Older Brother was five. He doesn’t know about Martha Stewart OR Pinterest.
All the while, I’ve been on the lookout for a suitable wooden advent calendar thing with doors or drawers, hoping to come across one on a thrifting jaunt, or pick up one at a post-Christmas sale.
No dice. So this year I broke down and ordered one on ebay.
It fits perfectly on top of our wall-mounted book rack in the dining room, which will keep it out of reach of little fingers during the day.
I’m excited to break it out this December, especially because it means I don’t have to create anything this year!
For the Christmas Countdown activities, I try to keep things as simple as possible. Many of them are as easy as reading a favorite Christmas book–of which we have many! (List of favorite Christmas books coming soon)…Update: here’s our list of Favorite Christmas Books. I also try to incorporate any events I know of ahead of time, like Christmas parties or visits to relatives.
Here’s our list of Christmas Countdown Activities:
- Visit the Christmas tree farm to cut down a tree (We usually get our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and wait to decorate it until the first day of December. This year it may work out perfectly to get our tree on the 1st).
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Get out kids’ nativity set & “act” out story (We do this early in December, so the boys can play with it all month long).
- Gather pinecones & pine branches for outdoor decorating
- Get out Santa matroyshka dolls
- Make gingerbread cookies (Recipe here)
- Listen to the Nutcracker on CD, read Nutcracker book and hang Nutcracker ornament on the tree (Click here for my recommendations).
- Drink hot cocoa
- Watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
- Hymns for a Kid’s Heart: Christmas Carols (Last year, we did one new carol each Sunday and then practiced it during the week).
- Receive new Christmas PJ’s (to be worn in anticipation of Christmas, as well as on the night when we drive around looking at lights).
- Read one of these Christmas stories
- Assemble gift baskets for friends/neighbors
- Deliver neighbor gifts
- Deliver gifts to friends
- Watch Frosty the Snowman
- Christmas craft: (Crafts with small children sort of stress me out. Older Brother LOVES them, though, so I try to incorporate formalized crafts from time to time).
- Make Christmas cards (for close friends and family members to whom we give or send gifts–Older Brother uses construction paper, glue and recycled cards from years past)
- Share Christmas memories—look at scrapbooks
- Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights (We wear Christmas PJ’s for this).
What would YOU add to the Christmas Countdown list?
Other posts you might like:
- Favorite Christmas Books for Children
- Christmas Carols for a Kid’s Heart
- The Nutcracker for Kids
- Gingerbread Cookies
Kathleen Henderson is the Yankee behind the Homestead, where she keeps up with Mr. Native Texan, three busy boys, a large dog, an assortment of chickens and an organic garden on three beautiful acres in Northern Virginia. Yankee Homestead is where she organizes her tips, tricks and resources for a healthy life. Favorite topics include real food recipes, gluten-free living, essential oils and home remedies, all things natural and nontoxic, plus mommy musings and homeschooling resources. Find out more on the About page