We were super late getting our advent calendar up this year, so I almost decided not to do it at all. But then I remembered how much fun it was last year when the kids took a bubble bath in the glow of twinkling Christmas lights or when we ate a festively colored, tree-shaped margherita pizza on a picnic blanket beside the tree and watched the Grinch or when we bundled up and took a brisk walk around the neighborhood to see the lights.
Sure, we could do those things anyways, but the best part was not knowing when we woke up what the day was going to bring. I called a few audibles, depending on the weather and general household mood, an advantageous strategy for those of us with children who can't yet read. I made sure to include plenty of acts of kindness too, so that the generous spirit of the holidays was abundantly clear.
It also helps to be able to point to the calendar when you inevitably hear "How many days till Christmas?" over and over. And over. And over. Consider it a handy counting tool for the preschoolers in the house.
There are a gazillion tutorials on Pinterest and cute templates you can purchase on Etsy, but I opted for the cheap, easy route.
STEP 1: Have the kids paint a couple sheets of cardstock in your preferred colors.
STEP 2: After the paper is dry, trace 12 circles and cut them out, then cut those in half.
STEP 3: Write out your chosen activities on each half-circle, then fold twice to make a triangle shape.
STEP 4: Write the numbers on each little triangle and arrange them on a ledge or tape them closed and hang from pieces of twine.
Here are some potential activities to include:
Make homemade cards & deliver to neighbors
Make paper snowflakes to hang in windows
Check out Christmas books from the library
String a popcorn garland
Make bird seed ornaments (use cookie cutters to shape them)
Take a Christmas lights bubble bath
Watch The Snowman
Create a handprint wreath
Make a blanket fort
Christmas themed dinner (think green, red and white)
Kids' choice for breakfast
One random act of kindness
Listen to Christmas music at dinnertime
Christmas movie marathon
Pick out a new toy & drop off for Toys for Tots
Gather up change and take it to donation box of your choice
Picnic by the Christmas tree
Make a snowman
Make (or buy) cookies for mail carrier and trash collectors
Ride the carousel
Rewrite the lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas
Drive around to see the Christmas lights
Make a gingerbread house
Read The Night Before Christmas
Check out the closest holiday train display
Assemble a care package for Operation Gratitude
Write a letter to Santa
Have hot chocolate for breakfast
Decorate the tree
Open one present
That's it! Let us know if you have any other ideas.