I just love Christmas time; and as much as I love quilting as one of my favorite activities to do year round, when Advent rolls around, I don't get a whole lot of sewing done. And that's okay by me.
My family has an Advent calendar (as many families do) to count down the days until Christmas. I made the calendar out of small galvanized buckets (4 inch) and used stamps, cardstock, scalloped scissors, and twine to give each bucket it's number. The buckets are hung on an antique iron screen in our family room.
The thing that makes our Advent calendar different from many I've seen is that we don't fill our buckets with treats, but with experiences for our family to share together. Each bucket has a card (handwritten by me) with an activity for the day. We read the card together in the evenings and look forward to the surprise inside.
The cards have a mix of cooking, arts and crafts, outings, scripture, and service. Some of the activities are quick and free, like calling grandparents and singing a Christmas carol to them (these are great for school nights). Others require more time and expense, like going to the local pottery studio to paint ornaments.
If you're interested in creating an Advent calendar for your family, it doesn't have to be a big craft project. And it's still early December, so there's plenty of time left! The activities would be just as much fun typed out on plain paper and put into numbered envelopes. The "cutesy" is not what makes it special.
The activities have brought us closer as a family during a time of year when it is so easy to get wrapped up in shopping, to-do lists, and hectic schedules.
You can make the activities personal for your family, of course, but here are a few of my favorites if you really want to jump right in and are stumped about what to include.
*read the Christmas story in the Bible and set up your Nativity
*make hot chocolate, put on pj's and take a drive to look at Christmas lights
*purchase a toy and donate it to help a needy child have a Merry Christmas
*make Christmas cookies and surprise your neighbors with a plate
*make paper snowflakes
*make a gingerbread house
*purchase mittens, scarves and gloves and donate them
*make a winter bird feeder with a pine cone, peanut butter, and bird seed
*make a list of at least 10 things you're thankful for. Say a prayer of thanks to God for each thing.
*make reindeer food with oats and glitter for sprinkling outside on Christmas Eve
(Santa's reindeer smell the oats, and the glitter sparkles in the moonlight, which guides the sleigh
right to your house)
Of course, there are more than these ten and if you're interested in the rest of the list, I'll happily send them to you! I wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas season. Although I won't be completely absent over the next few weeks (I'm sure I'll get a little sewing time in), now you know what I'm busy doing lately instead of quilting!