I love Christmas! The nativity displays, Christmas lights, Christmas carols, Christmas movies and the whole holiday season! Every year I tell myself I’m going to savor the time before Christmas, that I won’t let the days fly by in a super-sonic-seasonal rush, that we’ll spend afternoons reading Christmas books and baking cookies amidst the smells of our fresh cut tree and left over Christmas wreath cuttings.
As soon as that happens, I’ll be sure to let you know.
I’ll blog it – complete with pictures. And soft Christmas carol playing in the background.
The Advent Calendar
For years we have enjoyed Playmobil Advent Calendars. They are a fun way to count down the days until Christmas. Playmobil produces a new calendar every year with a different theme. Each calendar comes with a cardboard backing that hangs on the wall. There are twenty four slots on the mat that hold small cardboard boxes. The boxes are assorted shapes and sizes and hold individual Playmobil pieces. As the days of December pass, a Christmas scene of Playmobil figures slowly comes together. One time it was a family gathered around the Christmas tree, another was a barnyard collection, and so on.
One year I bought Joshua a Lego Calendar with Lego pieces in each window. The girls got a Clickit one. Joshua loved the Lego one but the $25 price was a little high.
Last year I stumbled on this creation:
I fell in love with the idea – a Advent Calendar made out of coordinating scrapbook paper with ribbons and numbered tags. In pink and lime green, no less!
Stop by Heather’s Blog for complete instructions and a gallery of pictures.
I immediately began collecting small cardboard cylinders (okay, empty toilet paper rolls) and plotting my Advent Craft Assembly Project. In the end I modified the project some and came up with my own version. I covered a large picture frame with Christmas paper to use as the base. I slipped small toys (super hero figures, gum, coins, etc) into the tp rolls and wrapped them in bright colored tissue paper, tying a ribbon around each one. I numbered them 1 through 24 and affixed them onto the picture.
David and Daniel each had one of these big homemade Advent Calendars. Joshua and Sarah opened new Playmobil ones and Rachel received a month’s collection of Littlest Pet Shop figures in one of the older Playmobil calendars. I printed out name labels and pasted them above each individual calendar.
We were a house FULL of Advent. Some called it over-the-top and slightly obnoxious, I preferred to think of it as festive.
David loved discovering little treats on his calendar each day.
This year I did NOT plan in advance. I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe it was going away for the entire Thanksgiving weekend or just general Holiday Denial. Before I knew it, December was around the corner and I didn’t have a fresh Playmobil calendar or any goodies to go into a homemade one.
And I hadn’t collected a single toilet paper roll.
What to do?!? Of course, my darling husband suggested I skip the Advent Calendar Countdown this year.
Gasp! Pass on a tradition? The thought of such a thing was repellent to my very nature. He was obviously overcome with pre-Christmas holiday trauma. It’s a common syndrome, usually involving credit card hot flashes and nausea.
Persisting despite the setbacks, I set my course for Advent 2007. I did, however, have to make a few modifications. I didn’t have any small cylinder tubes, after all. Instead I decided to use the empty Playmobil Advent calendars from previous years.
Tim and I went to the Dollar Store and Target to find little treasures. He cheerfully resigned himself to my
obstinate persistent determination to do the Advent calendars this year. He’s awfully patient with me. Of course, he also went to bed and left me to sort out the items, assemble the calendars with their 24 little boxes, and put together five sets of toys/goodies/treats. Let’s just say it wasn’t one of my earlier nights.
Twenty-four items in each calendar
I can’t do that kind of math this late at night.
Maybe some traditions are meant for people with smaller families.
I only have four Playmobil calendars so Joshua receives his gifts in his stocking. Many of the Playmobil boxes are tiny (remember Playmobil pieces are very small). If the present doesn’t fit in the box (a pack of gum or tube of window chalk), I leave a note in the box and hide the treat in their stocking or around the house somewhere.
It’s been a HUGE hit! The kids beg to open their Advent box each day. Sometimes I am running behind and don’t have the gift ready. Oh the moaning and tortured wails that come forth from my beloved children.
We’re working on developing patient attitudes.
It’s not working.
Next year I would like to, not only plan out the calendars in November (you know, before the December countdown actually begins) but also include the scripture verses that accompany Advent.
A family calendar with daily activities, Bible verses, simple craft ideas and suggestions for ways to bless neighbors and friends would be AWESOME!
Here’s one last link for another homemade Advent calendar. This type would work perfectly for my family countdown idea.
A new tradition in the making, I can already tell.
If you have any time left after reading this (way too long) post, head over to Rocks in My Dryer for other (hopefully less wordy) Works for Me Wednesday ideas.
I’m truly sorry I didn’t post this Advent project sooner. Like, say in November when someone could have used the idea with their family. All I can suggest is to save the idea, bookmark the post, write a note in your Christmas planning book, and shoot for Advent 2008.