December 5, 2012

advent calendar blues

I'm feeling a bit behind already and it's only December 5th.

I've got lists made, presents half way complete, decorations underway and meals/parties planned but I'm slacking in one area. The advent calendar.

We have a lovely felt calendar we pull out each year, and each year I feel under pressure to find stuff to fill each day. So I usually end up buying a bunch of crappy little things to hand out that break an hour later or I give the girls candy and treats when they already get enough of that at this time of year.

Pottery Barn Kids
I tried going to Pinterest for some inspiration, but have you ever done a search for 'advent calendar' in Pinterest? It's like googling 'mysterious cough'. You are going to get way more information than you'll even need.

I love the idea of filling each day with an activity or something, but it's hard to find an activity that works well for both a 5 year old and a 20 month old.

So I'm all ears. Do you do an advent calendar? How do you do it? What do you fill it with? Want to come take care of mine?


  1. I don't and have never....thankfully those elves came late, too. it is just too much work. But, I won't leave ya hanging. How about cards that say 1)Make a picture for you sister and hide it. 2)Write a nice note for Dad, and put it in his shoe. 3)Wrap cookies for your friend and drop it off on their door, and run.

  2. I like the ideas from the My Crafty Home Life. Some others might be... Read a special Christmas book before bedtime. Take candy canes to the the employees at the post office, grocery store, etc. Somewhere you go often and just want to say an extra thank you! Sprinkle a little glitter on the lawn on Christmas Eve so Santa will find your house easily:)

    Hope this helps a little.

  3. Don't be so hard on yourself! It sounds like you've done a great job with the decorating and shopping portion of the season. I'm not a parent, so I'm not fully well-versed on what to suggest...but why not have an activity connected to each day? For example, a 30-minute trip to the park, an afternoon of cookie-baking, etc?. That shifts the purpose of the advent from gifting to spending time together.

  4. We're trying to put activities in our advent calendar this year as our 2.5 year old is much more aware of the holidays than in years past. Some of them are bigger items - we're going to NYC so Rockefeller Center is on it - and others are smaller like reading a Christmas book. I have a feeling we'll be learning and adjusting these every year.

  5. You're way more ahead on Xmas than I am...I've wanted to do an advent calendar for years and never have pulled it together...The one tradition I started when my older two were younger was putting goodies in their shoes the night before St. Nick's day, it usually requires a late night trip to Target b/c I forget every year!

  6. We have a Little People Nativity advent calendar, but it is truly just about counting down the days till Christmas. A friend sent it to my boys for Christmas a few years ago and they love adding a new character each day. Odd days for Andrew, even days for Duncan this year (so no fighting).

    I grew up with one that my mom made (and Daron's mom also has) which is a felt Christmas tree that you get to pin an ornament on each day. Again, just about counting down the days. For me coming up with activities or treats for each day is too much, but I do enjoy the focus the advent calendar gives me as we look forward to Christmas.

    Maybe rather than doing an activity each day, you could write a little note about what you did that day. Then next year you'll have a mini diary of Christmas 2012 awaiting you when you pull out your Christmas decorations.

    And since I have boys that love legos, I really want to get this one:

  7. I used to get those $1 ones for fun!

  8. I love Lori B's idea of writing down what you did together and next year pulling it out and remembering!
    Another idea could be each day, to sit down together and write a page of a story and get the kiddos to draw pictures. At the end, you could have it bound and make your very own Christmas book! It would be a great memento to look back on years down the road.

  9. Well, I say kudos to you for even having one! (I don't and have been guilty about that.) I think the thing that hold me back is the exact pressure you're speaking of -- 25 surprises is a lot! :)

    That was helpful, no?

  10. So my husband's grandparents gifted Wells a chocolate nativity advent calendar at Thanksgiving and we told her she had to wait until we got back home to open it. We had cleared house by Nov. 26th. Whoops. Going to try for something different for next year. Really love the idea of action advent calendars when you "do" things like go ice skating or movie nights or hot chocolate for breakfast. So you could have two different activities on the same night. New jammies or new new books or things that don't fit inside the calendar also work this way too.

  11. I don't do an advent calendar and I don't have kids so that leaves my views out. However, I do think we put way too much pressure on ourselves at this time of year. After all, the season is about family and friends and enjoying precious time together. So I'm all for the idea of activity-based treats rather than physical ones... or you can just make sure you do stuff through the month rather than have an advent calendar that stresses you out ;) xxx


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