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Monday, December 1, 2008

25 Days of Advent

So, this year we've made it a goal to scale back Christmas gifts. I mean, we've never really been extravagant, but I think our total Christmas budget this year is somewhere around $300. That includes gifts for everyone. 4 kids. 2 parents. Extended family, etc.

Instead, we're really trying to focus on the Reason for the Season. And also, making an effort to really spend quality time with our children. Do stuff together. Make some memories. Ya know?!

So, I got all crafty with my bad self and made this advent garland. Each pennant is also a pocket. It holds a slip of paper with an activity listed on it. In the morning, before school, etc, we pull out the paper and read it, so that I will have time to prepare for that evening's activity and it also gives the kids something to look forward to all day.

the advent garland i made

Here are our list of activities we have planned. Most are free. A couple of them cost a very small amount of money.

Have a Sock Snowball Fight (hide behind couches and throw balled up socks at each other)
Act out the Nativity (this is our Christmas Eve activity)
Make Marshmallow Snowmen (3 Large Marshmallows, pretzel stick arms and some frosting)
Read the Christmas Story from the Bible
Make Paper Snowflakes
Attend the Festival of the Nativity
Go for a walk as a family.
Make Cookies and take them to our friends.
Have Hot Cocoa
Sing Christmas Songs
Decorate the Christmas Tree
Play Board Games
Make Candy Cane Reindeer
Make an Ornament for the Christmas Tree
Read a Christmas book
Watch the Polar Express
Watch Mr. Kreuger’s Christmas
Dance to Christmas Music
Write a letter to Santa
Send out Christmas Cards
Go Christmas Shopping ($1 store for sibling gifts)
Color Christmas Pictures
Make a Paper Chain to count down until Christmas.
Fondue for Dessert Tonight

And some other activities I've thought of since I printed our list:
Make a gingerbread house.
Visit Santa.
Attend Christmas Programs (we have 2 coming up)
Ward Christmas Party

I have to confess that I can't remember a single Christmas gift I received. But I do remember all the wonderful activities... making cookies, caroling, parties, etc. I want my children to have the same feelings about this season. I don't want them to feel like it's about the gifts.

Unless you mean which gift we're giving our Savior. My gift to the Savior this year is time. Time for my family. What's yours?


stephanie said...

i love it.

m3ng said...

Hey, nice photo!

Jane said...

Love your ideas!!

Cheri said...

Alissa, this is such an incredible idea. I love it. I am going to implement it. Thank you from my family - in advance. You are such a wonderful mom and wife! And yes, I have a gift to the Savior as well, but it is something deep in my heart that I am working on. WISH ME LUCK!

Char @ Crap I've Made said...

I love this idea. I may be back to steal some of your daily activities once we get back from vacation. Heavens knows having my kids off track from now 'til January 5th will leave us looking for stuff to do.

Rachel said...

cute! do you sell those for those of us who are "craft-challanged"?

sheri said...

What an awesome idea! I need to get our lives settled down a bit so we can actually DO some of these activities each evening. That's been getting harder and harder between soccer, karate, now cubs, Jehremy's late work meetings, etc. I'm totally doing this for next year.

Maleen said...

Impressive. That is actually what we are giving this year as neighbor gifts; a whole bunch of advent ideas. As for my family, I tried doing the 25 ideas last year and I burned out around day 12 (granted I was pregnant and sick at the time), so this year every one gets to chose two and we'll call it good.

Michelle said...

Love, love, love your idea. I'm totally doing that for a Christmas gift and one for ourselves. So the pockets are on the back? I've never used a showing machine before(we have one, Todd sews:) It's time to jump in and figure it out. Love it!

Jenny Zemp said...

Love this. We are scaling back presents too. We are giving 3.99 photo flip books to siblings and extended family (thank you, iPhoto!) and hot chocolate/marshmallow/chocolate chip filled piping bags to everyone else (thank you, Oprah!). Am still looking for cheap, creative ideas for little kid gifts -- send any you have my way!

Ambrosia said...

Alissa--I love you. You are brilliant. Love it. Love it.

Heather said...

I just stumbled on your blog and I just absolutely LOVE this. I see this as being a tradition that we'll do every year, and that my children will do with their families. Brilliant. You've quite possibly changed all my Christmases in the future. THANKS!

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