Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Advent Calendar

I wanted to make a countdown activity for Xander so that the holiday season is full of fun things to do and not just focused on the presents on the 25th. That isn't really a problem now, this is only Xander's 2nd Christmas, but this is something I want to do as a tradition every year-- plus it's a fun way to make sure I get through my to do list with him this month!

We actually have a cloth wall hanging advent calendar that has ornaments in each pocket that you can hang on the tree but using that involves a) getting the ornaments out before December 1st and b) having a tree. While I do want to get the ornaments out this weekend and hang some of our holiday gear I am not an early tree person. I have a total phobia of the tree getting too dry and burning down the house. We put the tree up mid month and I almost always take it down the day after Christmas.

I've seen lots of beautiful countdown crafts around the web, I think my favorite was some lovely sewn mittens that hold notes but seeing as it was November 30th and I hadn't sewn them that wasn't going to happen this year. :D Then I saw the perfect easy countdown for us on By Sun and Candlelight. She used foam trees and tacked them to a bulletin board, I'm not comfortable having the pushpins around Xander so I thought I'd add magnets to the back and put them on the fridge. I couldn't find any foam trees but I did find a package of snowflakes-- perfect! I numbered the fronts, attached self-adhesive magnets to the back, and wrote our holiday activity on the back. I'm actually going to be writing the activities the night before so that I know what our plans for the day are and make sure that we have the supplies.

Our first activity was read a Christmas book with Grandma. Xander was really excited to be held up to the fridge to take down the snowflake, less excited to hand it to Grandma to read the back! He'd start to hand it to her and then pull away. Finally she got him to let her read it.

They read the Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, I was given this book one Christmas when I was a child and have always loved it.

In the second photo he is pointing out the owl in the illustrations, still loves owls! After my Mom finished reading him this book he ran over to get Go Away, Big Green Monster! for her to read. We still have it checked out from the library and he has asked to be read it every single day!
 I just love their expressions as they are telling the monster to "Go Away!"

Our activity tomorrow is to make a paper chain. I'm going to cut the paper into strips tonight and then have Xander draw and maybe paint some of them before we staple them into loops and make a chain to decorate the living room and then later the tree. To get ideas for your own holiday activity list visit The Activity Mom and Confessions of a Homeschooler. There are a lot of crafts on my want to do list, I'll have to sort through them and see which Xander would most likely want to do. Other things on the list are

  • decorate the tree
  • make an easy gingerbread house (I remember making one using graham crackers as a little kid)
  • Skype with Grandma and Grandpa Williams (and maybe some aunts & uncles & cousins too)
  • have hot chocolate with marshmallows-- I really want to try this with Xander but we'll have to call it something other than hot or he'll just refuse to try it and keep blowing on it even once its all cold!
  • make cut out cookies and decorate them
  • maybe go see the Zoolights
  • watch some of the older stop motion Christmas movies
  • watch (the animated) and read the How the Grinch stole Christmas
and many, many more activities. Really need to thin the list. But now I have to finish this as Xander has become bored with his activity of writing on a white board and then washing it up.
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