In case it’s not evident by my other Christmas-related posts, I loooove this time of year. I really do. I look forward to Christmas more than any other time. Christmas brings up so many warm and fuzzy connotations for me. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I hate the consumerism of Christmas. The stress. The hustle and bustle. The debt. The family fights. It saddens me that Christmas has been overtaken by all those things, and that there is nothing but a sea of Santas and Rudolphs to tell the Christmas story.
What I most want to pass on to my tots is the story of Jesus. I also hope to instil in them the joy of giving, making things instead of buying when possible, caring for those less fortunate, and the importance of family. But how to do it? Enter our second advent calendar.
Sausage and Chip LOVED their advent calendars last year. It was the highlight of their day. I liked the idea of making an interactive calendar – one that has an activity each day. If an activity a day seems overwhelming, fret not. Advent should not be a time of busyness or stress. The trick is to fill the calendar with things that you would do anyway. In fact, spreading all those things out over 24 days is actually less daunting than a flurry of activity the week of Christmas!
As I’m doing a Buy Less Christmas, I made an advent calendar from some paper bags, scraps of wrapping paper, numbers printed off the internet, pegs and ribbon. I think it cost me $4. I’m stoked with how it turned out:
I’ve seen some cool calendars done in frames like this which I may do in the future,
but I’m going to hang our one on our mantelpiece (the joys of Christmas in summer) this year.
Here’s what my tots and I will be up to in the countdown to Christmas:
- Decorate the Christmas Tree
- Make and send a Christmas cards to relative in the Netherlands
- Read the story of St Nicholas with Daddy
- Make a Christmas wreath with Mummy
- Put your shoes out for St Nicholas
- Give out gold coins to your friends today, like St Nicholas
- Donate toys and books you don’t want anymore to less fortunate kids
- Read the story of Baby Jesus with Mummy
- Make Christmas stars with Mummy
- Watch a Christmas movie for family night
- Learn a new Christmas carol (Te Harinui)
- Have a dance party to Christmas music
- Buy each other a Christmas present, and for a Birthright child
- Make a card and a present for your teachers
- Make wrapping paper
- Get Christmas photos taken at the museum
- Sing Christmas carols with our church
- Make gingerbread cookies and give them to our neighbours
- Make Christmas presents for the grandparents
- Make Christmas presents for the Uncles
- Take a trip to see the Christmas lights
- Make Christmas presents for your friends
- Make and deliver Christmas cards (and the presents) to your friends
- Call Opa, Auntie G and Uncle J in the Netherlands and sing them a Christmas carol
So that’s it. Nothing complicated or earth-shattering. I’m going to let the kids decide what gifts to make – within reasons, and with plenty of suggestions. Both will be given a small amount of money to buy the other one a gift, and to buy a gift for a child who is less fortunate. I figure it’s a good lesson for them to go into a toy shop thinking about what someone else would like. I’m pretty sure Sausage will insist that her brother really wants high-heel dress up shoes, and Chip will think his sister is dying to have a toy combine harvester, but hey, we must start somewhere.
What are you up to this Christmas season? Chime in below.