Oh man I love this time of year. The dark days, the bitter chill, the cosy evenings, the fact that it's practically a crime not to fatten oneself up on stews and roasts and pies and puddings and... And I know I shouldn't be wishing my life away but I can't deny that I do spend most of year looking forward to now. Thank goodness then, that some clever soul thought up an Advent Calendar to help us squeeze every last tinsel clad drop out of the festive season before it's all over, all over again!
This is the Advent Calendar I made last year (tutorial here) and it really was the best I've ever had - for each day we thought of a little Christmassy something to do, with the odd treat or silly present hidden in random pockets. Last year my little man (who was three at the time) would get such a kick out of finding the right numbered pocket every morning, while I got all over excited about decorating the tree and making infinite batches of some cakey deliciousness or other! This year he's wanted to be more involved in the planning of our calendar, thinking up ideas of how he'd like to spend his holidays, and dedicating long hours to the decoration of his den... hmmn... let's just say he's nicked my favourite star fairy lights, and I'm down an entire roll of doubled sided tape and box of rhinestones. I'm actually a little envious. It looks really cool.
~ Advent Activity List 2012 ~
2. Decorate the Christmas tree.
3. Write a letter to Father Christmas.
4. Decorate the den.
5. Read stories about Saint Nicholas.
6. Go to our local street party to see the Christmas lights being switched on.
7. Hang out wreath.
8. Read stories about Hanukkah.
9. Movie night! Make popcorn and watch Christmassy movies.
10. Make Christmas cards for family and friends.
11. Gather unwanted toys, books, clothes etc and donate to charity.
12. Ice-skating at the Natural History Museum.
13. Practice singing Christmas Carols.
14. Wrap up warm and take a hot picnic to Kew Gardens. Remember bread for the ducks!
15. Escape to the country...
16. Bake and decorate sugar cookies to hang on the tree.
17. Make hot cocoa and roasted chestnuts and read stories by the fire.
18. Make Christmas spice cupcakes to take to school for the Christmas Party.
19. Appointment with Father Christmas!
20. Make Christmas Crackers.
21. Read stories about the baby Jesus.
22. Go to St Paul's Cathedral to listen to the choir.
23. Make a wish...
24. Hang out stockings for Father Christmas (don't forget to leave the reindeer a treat!).
For the little cards I just got a piece of thick brown paper and stamped it with white snowflakes using the butt of a butternut squash and a snowflake shaped cookie cutter. Once it had dried I cut the paper up into 24 little cards and wrote each activity over the top.
PS. Last year I found the following image on Pinterest... It seems someone had the genius idea of setting up a "Santa writes back" studio - I had every intention of doing this last Christmas but never got around to it. That and I don't think my boy really and actually understood, not like he does this year! So I have no idea if it's still happening or if they'll reply overseas, but I'm going to give it a go, and here are the details if you want to write to Santa too!