Friday, January 7, 2011

In the event you haven't put Christmas away...

I meant to get this posted sooner. Waaaay sooner. Ah well. Maybe you'll want to use this idea next year.

This year I totally failed at Advent. I hardly did anything with the kids. Advent is my favorite season of the church year, and I want to do better... and next year I will!

I've always love the idea of reading an Advent or Christmas book each day of December as a way to tie into an Advent Calendar. While I haven't made an Advent Calendar yet (I have plans to do that during Lent this year), I have the rest of my ducks in a row. Here's what I did:

First, I pulled aside all the kids' Christmas toys and books. I generally put them away every year so they'll be fresh to play with come November/December.

Next, after Christmas I went shopping to see what simple activities I could purchase on clearance for the boys next year. I bought a few things, a ceramic ornament painting kit, a foam garland stringing kit (totally could have made this but it was $.50), a little activity book, a window cling nativity set, and a few odds and ends I can't recall at the moment.

Then I made a list of all the Advent activities I'd like to do. I wanted to balance the Jesus with the Santa, and put a focus on giving and doing, rather than getting. I wanted to make it simple enough that we could do every day, but meaningful, too.

So... I matched the books up to activities and planned 24 days worth of activities (yes, I know Advent begins before Dec. 1 but we'll likely be out of town with my family until Dec. next year). There are a few dates that I'll stick to (decorating will be first, St. Nicholas Day, Christmas Eve, etc.) but I'll rearrange the days as needed next November to match our schedule.

Advent 2011

I think you should be able to click on the link to view it full screen and download it if you join Scribd. Otherwise, if you're interested, leave a comment and I'm happy to email you copy of the file. :)

My favorite part is that I used our cloth reusable Christmas bags (some are drawstring and some just tie with ribbon), and placed the book, any items for the activity, etc. in them then labeled the outside. All I have to do next year is pull them out, order them, then place them under the tree! Ready to go!



Lori Bourne said...

Wow, amazing planning! I love it! We do three things for Advent that are all very meaningful: 1) Read The Advent Book every day (you can Google to find the book; it's really gorgeous. It bothers some people that Jesus is born by day 7 but there's no other way to fit all the Christmas story in) 2) We have a wooden advent calendar from Target that I fill with treats - it's extra work but I can never find those pre-made chocolate calendars in time 3) We collect money every day during Advent (loose change, allowance, gifts, etc) and at the end we total it up and buy gifts for needy children at the Samaritan's Purse website. The kids love to count the money and choose the gifts.

I love your plan-ahead idea! Where are the Christmas bags from?

Amy said...

Tori, you are AMAZING!! I am stock piling all of your amazing parenting ideas for when I need them...hopefully in the future :)

Tori said...

Lori- great ideas. I'm going to look into that book!

I made the bags. The idea is that as Advent progresses we'll use the empty bags to wrap our family gifts.

Amy- missing you friend!