Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent with little ones

Happy last day of November! Otherwise known as...the last chance to get your advent act together! Eeek!

Ok. Don't freak out, because that's the exact opposite of the point of advent- a season when we're supposed to be looking with hope, joy, and gratefulness for our coming Savior. But as a mom of toddlers, with a goal of celebrating the season, it can get a little stressful to feel like I have twenty five days to fill- and I better have some sort of special memory making plan. 

But great news...I do have a plan! And it's called: repeat last year's plan!
When I shared our Christmas tour last year, I showed our advent calendar which I just loved. It was super cute (thanks, Starbucks!) and filled with simple notes for daily activities. It was all pretty small stuff, just enough to be festive, but not so much that it stops being fun. 

My philosophy on advent with toddlers...or...anything with toddlers, is set your expectations low, and cut yourself some slack. (I went into this theory a bit more in depth in a Thrive Moms blog post: "How to do advent without losing your mind"), It can be a super fun time, but it can also be overly busy, and exhausting. But there's so much beauty in this season, and the best part about little kids is that they pretty much think anything is special...especially if you hype it up to them. So we had a blast last year, mostly doing regular stuff- but doing it with gusto! 

So as December 1st approached (quickly!) this year, I wasn't worried! I figured I'd set the whole thing on repeat...we're already ready to roll! Buuuuuuut....then I realized that I never actually recorded all of the activities we did last time. I still had most of the scraps of paper in my tins (a small miracle in itself), but most is by definition not all, so I had a little bit of work to do. Plus, I wanted to tweak things a little bit this time around to match up with our schedule and events we already had planned. So I took a look at our calendar, and typed out a list to use as a cheat sheet for this year's line up of activities.

None of my ideas are particularity unique (a quick google search will lead you to a ton of useful lists, most with very similar activities...This list has a ton of great ones!) but in case you find yourself wanting to make some Christmas-y fun, with minimal planning effort, feel free to copy our list!

Here's what's on the docket this year:
  1. Eat a special snack
  2. Set up your very own tree
  3. Read a book together
  4. Write a letter to Santa
  5. Go get a Christmas tree
  6. Visit Santa
  7. Family game night
  8. Draw a picture for a friend
  9. Have a PJ dance party
  10. Sing Christmas carols
  11. Look at Christmas lights
  12. Buy gifts for kids in need
  13. Perform in a Christmas program
  14. Make a Christmas card for your teacher
  15. Color in a coloring book 
  16. Santa bath (Psst...this is just bubbles and a little red & green food coloring!)
  17. Facetime with Grandma and Grandpa
  18. Movie night
  19. Pancake breakfast
  20. Make a craft
  21. Bake something yummy
  22. Recite our bible memory verses
  23. Wrap a present
  24. Go to church
  25. Wish everyone you see a very Merry Christmas!
Fun, right? I know it's not rocket science (flying sleigh science?) but for a type-A planner like myself, making a list is a way to be a little bit more intentional about spending time together. I could probably fill a full year with fun things if I tried, and I certainly could do a better job of making our list more Christ-focused, and filled with opportunities to serve others. But there are still a ton of things we'll do over the next month that didn't make the "official" list, so this isn't meant to be an all encompassing view of our approach to the season. Likewise, there are probably a few entries on the list that just won't happen, but if it all doesn't work out as planned (if...ha!), I figure I'll just put "special snack" on repeat and call it a win. I can guarantee my kids won't mind!

P.s. In other "ghost of Christmas past" news, while I was doing some archive searching (hoping to find last year's list), I was reminded of an online advent calendar I made a few years ago (ok...SIX years ago. crazy talk!) with little activities for each day. So just for fun, I compiled it all into one post- which you can check out and click through for some fun this year (or the next, or the next...)

Soooooo....What are you all up to for the month? Anything we should make sure to squeeze into our plans?
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