I LOVE Christmas – I may be borderline obsessed with this time of year. I know I’m not alone when I say that there is something magical about it all. Even though I enjoy Thanksgiving, it’s really just a roadblock in my way to Christmas 😉
I know I have a few days to go before we are officially in the Christmas season but over the past few years I’ve found the best way to truly enjoy this season is to plan ahead. I want my children to grow up surrounded by the magic of Christmas and to understand why we celebrate each year. The best way I have found to do this is through an Advent Calendar. There are countless options in stores and online of various Advent Calendars but nothing compares to having a homemade one that focuses on your specific family.
It is my goal for December to enjoy as many Christmas-themed activities as possible. Equally important is focusing on the concept of giving (not receiving!). To do this, we try to complete as many acts of kindness as possible throughout the month.
Which is why creating our own Advent Calendar is my favorite option – I can mix both of these ideas into a month of activities that the entire family will enjoy. If this is something you’d like to do with your family but don’t have the time to start from scratch, I’ve done most of the planning for you. At the end of the post, sign up to receive my Advent Calendar with Acts of Kindness PDF. In the document, you will find:
- 24 cards with pre-selected activities
- 4 blank cards for adding your own activities
- Blank calendar for planning purposes
To make the most of the Advent Calendar, I suggest loosely planning out the month. For me, that means putting activities that the whole family would enjoy (such as getting our Christmas tree) on the weekends, when my husband isn’t working. I also try to plan any gift making days towards the beginning of the month, so that if it takes longer than expected we still have time to finish. Undoubtedly, we will miss a day here or there throughout the month. Sometimes the logistics of the day just don’t work or an unexpected activity or idea pops up – that’s ok. The point is to intentionally spend time each day remembering the true meaning of the season.
Some of the activities on the cards include:
- Reading the Nativity story (this is always December 1st!)
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Bring coffee to the Salvation Army workers
- Make homemade ornaments for the tree
- Donate food to the local food pantry
- Make hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie
- Leave a treat for the mailman
- Bring cards to a nursing home
- Go for a drive to see Christmas lights
I’ve also included a page of blank cards, because I know every family is different. These cards can be used for your own traditions, other acts of kindness or anything else you want to do this Christmastime. I’m always looking for new ideas so I’d love to know what you add for your family!
Above all else, let this be something fun and enjoyable you do together this year. Do not let it add stress to your life or extend your to-do list. It is too easy to get wrapped up in shopping, decorating and hosting this time of year. My hope is that this Advent Calendar will serve as your daily reminder that we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and at the end of the day, none of the “stuff” matters.