With a couple of extra days after Thanksgiving this year before December 1st there is time to try something new for your advent calendar, possibly even getting your child involved in creating a new family tradition. I am not a big believer in over-gifting for the holidays so I have included some options that could include a family activity as the present, or some time reading a favorite holiday book, even making the calendar part of decorating your tree.
1. I love this giant advent calendar created with this years Christmas tree fabric from IKEA. You can find a step by step tutorial at OH, Happy Day! Tuck anything you like in the small felt pockets, special notes, or clues to find a small gift or a special craft/activity you have set up.
2. Chalkboard paint is always fun! You can find spray paint with a chalkboard finish. When you have larger boxes like these you could put art supplies into the boxes, hot chocolate and marshmallows, sheet music for a simple Christmas carol on the piano. You don’t have to buy new items – if you have a harmonica around the house for example it probably is buried in a drawer, find fun toys your children haven’t played with lately and make them seem like new again!
3. I am a sucker for pennants and this darling pennant garland serves the double purpose of creating a fun tradition, decorating the mantel and bonus your child can probably reach the mantel height garland by themselves! If you are a sewer this is definitely worth a try!
4. If you don’t sew try these simple cloth bags with iron on or painted numbers. You can tie them onto a rope or a braided fabric rope, so simple!
5. This is one of my favorite garland style advent calendars. Baby socks on a ribbon with clothes pins, could there be anything cuter! If you don’t want to sew the numbers onto the socks you could add numbers onto a larger wooden clothes pin. It’s like Christmas morning everyday.
6. Paper cones make a darling forest of Christmas trees. I would do something to tape them down or secure them so they don’t accidentally tip over.
Make simple construction paper trees like those above or dress them up a little so they create a cute decoration as well!
7. A wall pocket calendar is the perfect option for activity gifts. “Sing Christmas Carols,” “play a game with dad,” “put together a puzzle with mom,” there are lots of options!
8. A beautiful fabric covered board next to the tree with some favorite, or special meaning ornaments is a great way to count down to Christmas without the candy or gifts. Just remove the ornament from the board and hang it on the tree. Make sure the ornaments you use for this calendar can be hung by your child without your help, your most delicate ornaments are not a good choice!
9.This is my favorite idea, it’s been around on Pinterest but I think it is worth reminding ourselves. As you get out your holiday books or even just some of your child’s favorite story books wrap them in a pile under the tree. Let your child pick one book every night, unwrap it and snuggle up to read it together. If you want to save one special book for Christmas Eve like T’was the Night Before Christmas you can put a star on that book or a sign warning, “Do not open until Christmas Eve!”
Have fun counting down to Christmas and creating new memories!