Since I saw the idea of an advent ACTIVITY calendar on several blogs last year, I've wanted to do one for my boys. In fact, I had a whole list of activities ready last year but didn't get around to pulling it off. Oh well, always another year, I say. Last Monday afternoon I saw this idea on the Skip To My Lou blog and decided to jump in with both feet and tackle it. I happened to be going to the craft store that day so I bought some green and red glittered felt and pretty ribbon. By LATE Monday night (almost Tuesday AM) I had sewn almost all 25 stockings. Yes, I stayed up late, but they really stitch up very easily. However, you could easily and very quickly replicate this whole idea using ready-made little stockings. See some close-up views of my stockings below.
The next photo shows the first four stockings hung up on a long piece of extra-wide rick-rack. I used little clothespins to hang them up. I used round metal tags (found in most office supply stores) and number stickers to number each stocking. I removed the wire ring on each tag and used some silver thread to tie the tags onto the stockings.
Inside each stocking is a little piece of paper that tells what our special activity will be that day. I typed these up in a word document on the computer, but you could easily just handwrite them. My boys will take turns pulling out the paper each day, but the activity will be for all of us to do together. The photo below shows a few of our papers close-up. Following that you will find a list of our activities with links provided.
Our activities list is as follows. (NOTE: There are not actually 25 activities on the list because on several of the days our special activity will be going to one of the boys' various programs that are in December.)
*Make a red and green paper chain of 25 links to count down to Christmas. One link will be removed each day.
*Make and play with peppermint/glitter homemade playdough using our Christmas cookie cutters.
*Make glitter-covered pinecones to hang on the tree.
*Work on our Christmas lapbooks. (I'll do a post next week on what we're using for these.)
*Make snow globes.
*Make merry marshmallows.
*Drink hot cocoa under the tree with merry marshmallows, sprinkles and whipped cream.
*Make paper snowflakes and hang them in the windows.
*Hand-stamp wrapping paper. (I'm ordering these stamps from Let's Explore along with some of her giant stamp pads.)
*Hand-stamp gift tags. I have LOTS of Christmas rubber stamps in my stash that we'll use.
*Wrap gifts in hand-stamped paper. These will be our grandparent and teacher gifts.
*Make holiday pretzel treats. I make these every year. They are so easy, so good, and are a great gift for bus drivers, secretaries, etc.
*Make sugar cone Christmas trees. Just take a sugar cone (for ice cream) and frost it with green frosting then decorate with mini m&ms, sprinkles, etc.
*Make Handprint Santa cards.
*Make a cut paper garland. I just googled to find a link to explain what this means and can't find one. I will try to do a post on it to show you. I got the idea from a great book I purchased this fall. I need to blog about that as well.
*Bake and frost Christmas cookies. Deliver cookies to neighbors.
*String popcorn and cranberries for a garland for our outdoor trees and outdoor animal friends.
*Make beaded candy canes and beaded Christmas wreath ornaments. These are both such easy and classic Christmas crafts. However, I've never done either with the boys and I know they will love making them.
*Make up a batch of snowy trail mix and munch it under the tree while we read every Christmas book in the house. This will be a real treat because I NEVER make sweet snacks like this for the boys. They will be in heaven!
*Bake and frost cupcakes for Jesus' birthday. We will do this on Christmas Eve and decorate the cupcakes like ornaments. I bought a cupcake holder a few months back that will be perfect for displaying these on Christmas Day. (We host everyone at our house on Christmas.)
WOW! I think that looks like an ambitious list! But I may just be tired from looking up and typing all the links. Actually, I have a VERY short shopping list for things to get to do the above activities. Pretty much everything we can do with things we have around the house. My goal is just to focus on doing something fun together each day. I am excited to start this new tradition.