More than an Advent Calendar
by Sarah Gondo
I love Christmas! Each fall I start thinking about parties and gifts and new ways to celebrate the season. One of my favorite traditions is the advent calendar. I enjoy watching my kids look for the little door to open and seeing their excitement grow as Christmas gets closer. But I really wanted to incorporate more into the advent, as well as the season. I want them to enjoy each day that leads up to Christmas, not just the day itself.
As I was trying to come up with a way to make the advent calendar more fun, I looked up at the door in my office, where I have one of those over the door hanging organizers. I think they are made for shoes, but I use mine for everything but shoes. I counted the pockets, and there are 24! So I went to work, thinking of all the things that I could surprise my kids with in those pockets.
Iíve got 5 kids ranging in age between 4 and 12, so I came up with things they can all enjoy: little gifts that donít just revolve around ďthingsĒ, but around activities and spending time together. I also planned each dayís surprise around our household schedule. Tuesdays are crazy, and we donít really have time to do a puzzle, so it will be an ornament to hang on the tree, or a candy cane. But Wednesdays are pretty low key, so on those days a puzzle, or a movie or a game is more likely. Each pocket has a number 1-24, and the kids get to take turns finding the number and unveiling the surprise.
Other items I plan to use are cookie cutters and sprinkles for baking cookies together, Christmas cards to decorate and give to friends, craft projects, Christmas CD, coloring pages, snowman building kit, Christmas carols to sing, gingerbread house making supplies, etc.
Obviously, some items are too big for the pockets, so I place a clue in there for them, or a map to find the treasure hidden in somewhere in the house. Many of these items I will reuse each year, such as books and puzzles, and things like coloring pages are free! I want it to be an affordable tradition.
The focus is to come up with items that we can use together. Although there are some things that are simple and donít require time to spend, my hope is that my children will embrace this new tradition and see it as a way to connect with their family regularly during the busy Christmas season!
Sarah Gondo coordinates a MOPS group in Fairbanks, AK. She has 5 children, ages 4-12. Her husband is in the army and currently deployed to Iraq.