I’ve always wanted to do an Advent calendar with my kids. But somehow, the Christmas season always seems to sneak up on me so fast that it takes me halfway through December to even get in the Christmas spirit.
It seems like the fact that Thanksgiving was so late this year somehow helped me kick things into gear much earlier. I’m not really sure how that works, but it did! It’s not even December and we already have our tree up, our porch decorated and some outdoor lights. I was determined to also create an Advent calendar, and after searching the web for ideas, I came up with this.
My goal was to make the project simple, but cute. I also wanted to be intentional about celebrating the season by coming up with activities in the bags that are a mixture of fun, serving others and spending quality time together as a family.
I started with these supplies, all of which I got at Hobby Lobby:
- plain white paper bags
- gift tags
- super cute twine
- and clothes pins
You could get crazy and paint the clothes pins, but like I said, I was going for simple. I also bought some smaller clothes pins that were cute, but decided to stick with the larger ones.
Next, I created four types of activities to put in the bags:
- Fun things to go do together.
- Food to make.
- Christmas movies to watch or games to play (family game night. Wii night, etc.).
- People to ambush. Our church is starting this cool movement to coincide with the Christmas season, called Divine Ambush. You can check out the web site and Facebook page, (which I created, by the way 🙂 ) to learn more about it. Anyway, we have already been ambushing people, and our kids pretty much think it’s the best thing ever! So, I included different types of people to ambush each week.
I closely consulted my calendar before scheduling the activities. On days when the kids have basketball practice until 6 p.m. and homework, I often gave them a clue to search the house for hidden candy. On the weekends, I scheduled things like watching a Christmas movie or going to the Arboretum to see the Christmas light display. I also came up with some fun food related activities like having a hot cocoa bar, a fondue night or ice cream sundaes (with a variety of special ice cream I plan to buy).
I also kept a master list of the scheduled activities so I would be prepared!
After that, I just printed out some numbers on circle labels. I made half of the labels red and the other half green. I used one of my go-to fonts, Mandingo, for the numbers.
Putting the calendar together was super simple. I just cut up the strips of paper with the activities and put each one in a bag. I folded down the bag and stapled it closed so that the staple also held the gift tag in place. I put the number labels over the staple.
Here are the bags hanging across the front of the piano. I’m planning to hang them all somewhere else, but I haven’t done that yet, so this photo will have to work!
Now, hopefully, my kids won’t read my blog. They are dying to know what’s in those bags! I’m also looking for a daily Advent devotional to read before we open each bag. If you have a suggestion, let me know in the comments!
So… how about you? Do you have an advent tradition with your family?