Did you have advent calendars when you were a kid? I can only really remember having one. It was kind of a nightmare because my siblings and I fought the entire month about whose day it was to open the little door and get the nasty chocolate. I think that may have been our first and last foray into advent calendars.
I've always wanted to make one modeled after one I saw in a Pottery Barn catalog (it's not sold anymore.) A couple years ago, I found a little white shelf at a yard sale. I taped the photo from the PB catalog to the back so I'd remember why I bought the shelf in the first place. 3 years later, I finally got around to doing something with it. Unfortunately the shelf only contains 18 squares so I had to use the top too. Oh well, perfection is not always the name of the game.
I also saw this blog post and thought it was a great idea to treat an advent calendar as a holiday warm up. So I took some origami paper I had (points for using things on hand) and wrote 24 different tasks on it for cultivating the holiday spirit. I didn't have the patience to make little gift boxes, maybe next year. Also, since its a calendar (I should have numbered the holes- note for next year), you can use it to plan out your month. For instance I included:
- Design and send Christmas cards. (I always do this the first week in December.)
- Pick out the Christmas tree and decorate it. (We usually do this the first weekend in December.)
- Bake Christmas cookies. (I put that one in the day before the Cookie Party I go to every year.)
- Buy toys for tots . (These are due on Dec. 8th, so I put that for the Saturday before.)
- Play hooky and go to the movies. (Cory and I started this tradition a couple of years ago. We usually go at the beginning of the Christmas week. It's a nice break from the holiday madness.)
- Make gifts for neighbors and deliver. (I usually do this the day before Christmas Eve.)
- Go see Christmas lights. (We've never really done this before. Well, I haven't as an adult or sober.)
- Empty piggy banks for Salvation Army kettles. (Beatrice is not going to like this one. She has recently become obsessed with putting coins into her piggy bank. She'll shake down anyone who comes into her bedroom by jangling the piggy and flashing her little doe-eyed smile.)
- Watch Christmas movies. (We've never done this before... what are some good holiday movies? )
If you don't have a shelf, you could always just take strips of paper and make an advent 'chain.' You rip off each day and do the task.
What are some of your holiday traditions?