By now you must know how much we love holidays around here, and especially Christmas! Each year, in addition to our manger scene calendar, it has become a tradition to do something special to count down the days from December 1 until Christmas.
Two years ago, we had a paper chain and cut off one link each day watching it get shorter as Christmas approached.
Last year I had put aside picture books, and a couple of (on sale) family movies all throughout the year. Then, I wrapped them all and let the children open and enjoy one a day until Christmas.
This year though, we've been seeing lots of advertisements for the Elf on the Shelf and the Christmas Angel, and the kids are asking if we will get to do something like that. Our kids know Santa is not real and the whole Elf tattle-tale to Santa thing (not to mention the messes they make!) just doesn't seem like something we should do. The angel idea is a little better, but of course, we can't buy one in southern Mexico, so Hero and I have decided that this year we'll do a family activity each day with the goal of teaching God's character to our kids. We'll have fun, and hopefully learn some things along the way.
I still haven't settled on a fun way to introduce these activities. (I have till tomorrow, after all) but here is a rough outline of the activities we're anticipating enjoying with our family, along with a few extras in case we need options.
- make paper plate angels
- make paper snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling around the tree
- make ornaments for our tree
- spell out words or make Christmas art with cereal – or rice, beans, lentils, marshmallows, noodles, etc.
- make gingerbread cookies and read the The Gingerbread Boy – Paul Galdone's version is our favorite!
- December 5 is St. Nick’s Day – we'll leave our shoes out, should be fun!
- go shopping for gifts for siblings and mom and dad
- wrap the presents marathon- this is a greatly anticipated event each year
- make candy cane wreaths
- create your own Nativity Scene
- candy cane treasure hunt – hidden around the house like Easter eggs
- watch The Star of Bethlehem together – our favorite Christmas documentary
- a family birthday celebration – we have one in our family with a December birthday, so this will be our special activity that day!
- family sleepover by the Christmas tree
- go to a Christmas concert or drama together
- plant candy seeds (tic tacs) in sugar – next morning candy canes appear
- make life-size paper gingerbread people and decorate
- make gingerbread houses
- hand out ornaments and tracks downtown
- read The Candymaker's Gift: The Legend of the Candy Cane
- print Christmas photo booth props and take silly pictures
- make sugar cookies
- watch The Polar Express, cuddle in our pjs and drink hot chocolate
- make mini pumpkin pies
- make silouettes of the kids
- take our family Christmas picture – find ideas for photo poses here!
- eat a red and green dinner – salad, green milk, cucumbers, broccoli, cherries, cranberries, apples, etc.
- make green mint choc chip cookies and watch the Grinch movie
- roast marshmallows and make smores
- have a family game night – I've been thinking about buying this one
What are you planning to do to count down 'til Christmas this year?