My name is Melissa — I am a stay-at-home-mom, and I’m married to my best friend, Mike, and we have two wonderful kids who are our favorite people in the whole world! Our family is the most important thing to us, and we are always trying to do things together and come up with new ideas and traditions to create fun, happy memories.
It seems to be super easy to get into the Christmas Spirit when you live in Canada…. Cold and snow are abundant, and for me it is WAY easier to enjoy that if I have my Christmas tree and decorations up. At least that way it feels like the cold and snow are here for a good reason!
Doesn’t that just make you want to go put on another sweater and turn up the heat!??! BRRRR!
A few years ago, we started doing a Christmas ‘Activity Advent’, and I thought I would share with you today about what that all entails. We have so much fun with it, and it really gets us excited for Christmas, but more importantly, it really brings us together as a family, since there is something every day for us to do. Together.
In its simplicity, the Christmas Activity Advent is just a bunch of envelopes and presents with numbers on them from 1 to 24. Inside the envelopes and gifts are books, videos, and ideas for family activities, crafts, and other fun things to read, watch and do from December 1st until Christmas Eve. I’m sure there are some wonderfully creative people out there that could make this WAY cuter than what I have done in the past, but hey, this works for me. )
Here is how I displayed the envelopes one year — I just tucked them into the tree and my daughter would look each day to find the number that corresponded with the date. The numbered gifts were under the tree.
I am really looking forward to doing our Activity Advent again this year — It is my hope that the activities, etc, will help us enjoy each other as a family, and, most importantly, to remember the Savior at this special time of year, as well as feel the magic that is Christmas.
Here are the activities that we are going to be doing, just in case you’re interested… (Obviously not all of these will work for EVERY family, so feel free to adapt! Oh, and if you have other ideas, PLEASE send them my way!!)
Day One: Read the story “Teach the Children” — This story helps us to understand the meaning behind the various Christmas decorations we see, and gives them a deeper meaning.
Day Two: Write lettters to Santa Claus!!
Day Three: Watch the video, “Joy to the World” — This is a short video that can be purchased for really cheap, focusing on the birth of Jesus Christ.
Day Four: Sort through extra winter clothing and gather food to donate to community clothing/food drives, or deliver to a shelter or food bank.
Day 5: For our family today, we plan to watch the ‘First Presidency Christmas Devotional’ that is put on by our church — it is a wonderful, one hour program that is sure to bring the spirit of Christmas into your home, no matter what church you belong to!
Day 6: Unwrap a Christmas story to read together as a family. (We usually just check out a bunch of stories from the local library and wrap those up for our Christmas stories.)
Day 7: Skating and Hot Chocolate!
Day 8: Watch ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ (or another Christmas Favorite)
Day 9: Have fun with Red & Green Play dough together… See what fun Christmas shapes you can make, or play ‘Sculptorades’ style — have the family guess what you’re making…
Day 10: Visit a care facility for the Elderly — read Christmas stories, sing carols, or visit with them.
Day 11: Make fun Christmas shapes with Red & Green Play dough together…
Day 12: Time for another Christmas Story!
Day 13: Christmas Craft Day! Enjoy making some Christmas crafts together! (This can be paper crafts, like snowflakes or snowmen, etc to decorate the kids rooms or front windows; it could be edible crafts like snowman cupcakes, or whatever.)
Day 14: Watch another Christmas movie while munching on a favorite Christmas treat!
Day 15: Watch a live Nativity presentation, or, if none are available, drive around to look at Christmas lights while singing Christmas Carols.
Day 16: Write a letter a family member. Tell them why you love them, and what you admire about them. Put the letter somewhere you know they will find it later.
Day 17: Watch the movie “Mr. Krueger’s Christmas”, starring Jimmy Stewart (Or another of my Jimmy Stewart Favorites, “It’s A Wonderful Life”.
Day 18: Make yummy Christmas treats and deliver them to neighbors, family and friends. (And make sure to snitch some for yourself, too!)
Day 19: Time to decorate a Gingerbread House!!! (I’ve never attempted making one of my own from scratch… I always cheat and buy the $9.99 one from Costco or wherever…)
Day 20: Take your family sledding, or build a snowman family in the front yard to greet your guests! (Or, if you’ve got an artist in the family… get really creative with some snow sculptures! This sea turtle is thanks to my husband, Mike!)
Day 21: Be a “Secret Santa” to a family you know. Be generous, and don’t get caught! (This usually ends up being one of our favorite days, as it is SO fun to see the faces of those receiving this surprise drop-off — our kids love it too!)
Day 22: Read another Christmas Story together. (Another favorite is “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” — SUCH a great story!
Day 23: Watch another Christmas movie together & eat a favorite Christmas Treat! (Can’t live without my Christmas treats!! The link is for the ‘Sweet & Salty’ pictured below — a favorite in our house! Yum yum!)
Day 24: On Christmas Eve we usually spend the day with family, have a big dinner together, and then our evening is spent playing games, putting on a talent show full of Christmas songs, etc. To end the evening, we read ‘Luke 2′ from the bible and dress up to act out the Nativity. It is a great way to wrap up the Advent and remember the reason for this Christmas Season.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about one of our favorite traditions, and I hope you will be able to use some of these ideas to help your Christmas be a more fun, happy and memorable one this year, full of the Spirit of Christmas!