Every year I say this and every year I mean it, but how the hell is it December already? It feels like just yesterday I was complaining about the summer fog and now, suddenly, you can’t go two feet on the internet without running into a gift guide. Last year I was pregnant during the holidays so my family was lucky I even lumbered out of bed to open up presents. (I feel like the years you’re pregnant should be “bye years” like the “bye weeks” we used to have in soccer. You get to sit everything out, sleep in late, and if anyone asks you to do anything you tell them it’s on the schedule for next year). This year, however, I’m starting to feel (dare I say) normal-ish and it also has hit me I have a responsibility to these two little people to prevent them from becoming insane present monsters.
So I’ve very (nobly) put together a “Doing Advent Calendar” (title still in the works) to help remind us about the spirit behind this whole thing and to make sure we don’t end up in January with a huge gifting hangover. (I realize that this post is going up a full week into December and if I were a responsible blogger I’d have put this up in November to give you time to get it all together, but, let’s recall last year’s double holiday card and say together, “Baby steps.”)
We don’t have many holiday traditions yet as a family (does putting off buying presents until the week before Christmas count?), but I’m feeling like this is one that is going to stick around, mainly because it’s fun and involves copious amounts of sugar. This all came about because my dear, insanely talented and inspirational friend, Kathryn from Snippet and Ink, told me (ahem, last month) she was putting together an “Activity Advent Calendar” (better, but still lame-ish) and sent me a list of activities she’d brainstormed. The very next day, the (very responsible) gals over at A Beautiful Mess posted this super-easy looking DIY of an envelope advent calendar and the pieces all fell into place. Well, it took about ten days, but, I eventually managed to cram the pieces into place.
The assumption, I think, is (fairly) you have all the supplies and a certain level of competence. For me, by the time I’d bought the supplies, cut the paper, figured out what pieces looked good together, Photoshopped the photos, sent them to Walgreens, realized I’d bought iron-on numbers instead of stickers, exchanged said numbers, got home and realized I needed a lot more 1s than I’d planned for, went back to the store for more stickers, relearned how my sewing machine works, finally put everything together and then realized I didn’t have anyway to hang the whole damn thing, ran to the store again for Command hooks and then finally got it up on the wall, it seemed a bit larger of a project than the Beautiful Mess girls ever could have anticipated.
I tried to include a range of activities for the calendar days (again, per Kathryn’s brilliance) to hit on all the sides of the holidays. Here are a couple of examples:
Eat and Drink: take Alice for her first hot chocolate, gorge on Christmas cookies, drink hot cider
Make: paint Christmas ornaments, bake Christmas cookies, make a paper garland for the tree
Give: donate presents to a Giving Tree, send holiday mail for heroes, take canned goods to local shelter
Do and See: take a Christmas light tour, put up Christmas tree, have a family sing-along
Now, two big questions: Are you doing anything advent calendar-like or do you have any new holiday traditions this year? And, two, what in the world can we call this thing?
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