Now that we howled through Halloween I feel like life becomes a game of Chutes and Ladders leading up to Christmas! On the one hand, time slows down the hourglass a bit as your to-do list becomes filled with larger projects and many social gatherings. On the other hand, it always comes too fast for me. I always wish I had a few more paychecks between now and then to play, gift and donate to everyone I want to.
So let me start by leap-frogging to December 1st! For me, anticipation builds my excitement for any holiday! For Christmas, my internal clock gets a break because Advent calendars builds my holiday spirit – one day at a time! While some people carry a traditional method of counting down, I love to mix it up a bit to keep my kids on their toes.
In no particular order, because my vision of the holidays changes annually, here are my family’s favorite Advent Calendars!
1. Lego Star Wars – After getting this calendar you may not need to do Christmas. Lego and Star Wars tie for favorite toys with my children so while this calendar carries a larger lifetime – the life of its daily toy is longer than any other from this group. Plus these daily lego toys spawn creativity and the engineering side of my children’s minds which also goes a long way.
2. Chocolate – Coming off of Halloween, you may not be as eager to rush out and get a chocolate calendar – until I tell you it’s made by Cadbury! You may want to buy one for yourself (and a bottle of red wine) and treat yourself during the season where you’re considering everyone else’s treats!
3. DIY Paper Rings – I’d say most of us made these rings out of construction paper and hung them on the wall or framing our door to count down days for the holidays or vacations. Whether as a calendar or decoration, its a fun tradition to sit together and make these. During these still quieter moments, the fun stories of old come forth again.
4. Melissa & Doug Tree – This lovely calendar will become a family tradition as everyone remembers their favorite ornaments to hang on this wooden tree. The whole family’s excitement will grow as the ornaments decorate more and more of the tree! Melissa & Doug products last long enough to be passed down.
5. Nativity Scene – As a beautiful reminder for the reason for the season, these calendars recreate the Nativity story with a new addition each day. This gives one plenty of time to ponder each new addition to the story and stop to really consider its significance!
6. Tsum Tsum – Your favorite Disney characters win you over again now that they’re adorably oval! Tsum tsums were this year’s hottest collectible and create stacks of smiles! Again, the hours spent with these will outlast the holiday!
7. DIY Grab bag – Who doesn’t love opening presents? This way your family gets a small daily gift you can tailor to fit your style! Go as simple as a brown paper bag with raffia, all the way to decorative cellophane bags. Gifts can range from Bonus tickets: Watch an extra Christmas special! to favorite treats, or notes to your family! To really torture them, give them 1 clue a day about some surprise that will come their way at Christmas!
8. Gratitude – I saw this idea on another blog and LOVE it! This idea is similar to the one above, only fill each bag with a random act of kindness to complete for others. OR you can create a Gratitude Journal as they do in the blog post and write down the things you’ve completed – or write down one thing you’re grateful every day. Warms your heart better than hot chocolate!
9. Alcohol calendar – To warm your hot chocolate one step farther – may I suggest Alcohol Advent calendars. I found a company that creates a calendar for you featuring scotch whisky, bourbon, rum or vodka (to name a few). You can peruse their site like a kid in a candy store and custom make your own calendar. You’re welcome!
10. Wedgewood blue and white jaspar ware (Limited edition of 3; only 1 available online) – For that relative who has everything, why not surprise them with this amazing calendar. Wedgewood’s delicately decorative exquisite pieces set the tone for an exquisite holiday.
What about you?
Do you mix it up each year or use an heirloom calendar?
Can you share other ideas for wonderful ways to count down to the holidays?
Feel free to share ideas or links!