Thursday, November 29, 2012

Calendar Schmalander

'Tis the season of the "Advent Calendar".  If you aren't familiar with them they come in several different styles  and forms and are used to count down the days 'til Christmas Day. Probably most familiar are the cardboard boxy type where a little door opens for the corresponding day and you are treated to a small piece of suspect chocolate. You can see an example here: Advent Calendar.

As a child I always wanted an advent calendar. Homemade, store bought - anything that I could use that would help me count down the days until Christmas.  Alas, by the time my parents had children everything was "as it always was" - holiday traditions included, so we never made any new traditions for anything, including having an advent calendar anywhere in our home.

When I had my own children I decided that I would do the advent calendar in an extra special way, making it our tradition and hopefully something my kids would remember and enjoy for years to come.

I decided to do the "Advent Stocking".  I have posted about it before [here] but basically it is a small stocking, hung on their bedroom doors that their Dad and I put small tokens/gifts in each night.  They are numbered and in this way they can count down the days until Christmas with a little treat each morning. [It also ensures they are in a happy mood in the morning :)]  It has always been such fun and from what I can tell a pretty unique idea because I have never met anyone else who is as crazy as me does it too.

With the oldest kids living on their own, a younger daughter in college and only one child at home I decided this year I would put one last twist on the count down to Christmas.  We now have. . . [drumroll]. . .

The "Advent Christmas Tree"!

This is the one in our home for Wallene and a similar tree and wrapped presents is wending it's way to college for Squirrel.  As the pile dwindles the closer to Christmas we'll be. YAY!

There are so many things I love about this. First - it's an Advent Tree! Who doesn't like to be a kid and count down the days until Christmas? [Or in the case of us parents - days left to shop, eek!] Second - the kids get such a kick out of it and the cost is minimal.  I keep a box in my closet and while I am out through the year I pick up free samples of things like make up, creams, toothpaste and hit the $1.00 and below aisle at places like Target and Michaels.  I even find stuff for free online - notepads, stickers, frames - that is the fun part for me. And I usually throw in a sweet or two. All this stuff is collected and hidden in the box to be wrapped at the end of November [And I LOVE to wrap!].  Third - it's better than the stockings because it is an added decoration in our dining room and I don't have to worry about stuff fitting in the itty bitty stockings. :) And finally - it sits right next to our Advent Wreath, which is truly the meaning for the season and [I think] they complement eachother nicely.  Because, let's face it, we have always put Jesus' birth and the celebration of the season first in our hearts, but we do have the fun and excitement of the "Santa Claus" aspect of it all.  It would be silly to pretend we didn't.

The gang just [now!] came in from the outside and the lights are on the house! ::skippyhappydance::

So far I have wrapped and set up/mailed the advent trees, made one batch of cookies to be mailed and ALL the decorating is done [thank you Wallene especially and Pooldad].

And it isn't even December 1st!  Now who wants to finish my Christmas shopping? giggle

See ya' on the flipside Tadpoles. xoxo


colenic said...

I love it...I know that Squirrel will love hers when she gets it...and so awesome before finals!
I am jealous...we haven't even started decorating yet..but the boxes have started to arrive from various shipping much fun!! Hugs and lots of love to all of you!

Jeannie said...

I love your ideas! Alas - my kids are all pretty much gone. I was never organized enough to have traditions but I guess there were things we did every year because I missed something once and the kids were upset. I wasn't even aware that I'd done it every year. Go figure. We probably had Advent calendars a couple times - Gary would have done that. I don't think I could possibly have it together enough to do advent stockings or a tree. I do, however, have my tree upstairs as of today but it's not decorated yet - I was just checking how to put ribbon on nicely. I bought new decorations - switching from gold, red and white to blue, silver and white. Everyone will probably hate it. But my mother always had mainly blue on the tree and I loved it and this year, I'm doing what I want. I'm not sure what we'll do at Christmas - we will be in Belize again until the 24th.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea!!! So fun - I hope you have some snowmen stuff up and around your house about now! Hugs!

Sally said...

This is a great idea! I'll finish your Christmas shopping, if you finish my Christmas sewing :-P

Unknown said...

I love the idea, and my kids would too, even though they are all grown up. We have a tradition in our house where there is always one family present under the tree to be opened on Christmas eve. Usually it's a DVD or movie tickets with popcorn and candy, or a coupon for a family meal at the nearest hibachi grill. It is fun to watch our 25-32 year old offspring become children again.

Tracy said...

A lovely idea. And so nice that you sending one to college. All of her friends will want you to be their mom too!

CWMartin said...

Honestly say that in all my years in Catholic church and school, we never had an Advent calendar. The beginning of each week we got to light a new candle, but that's about it.

life in the mom lane said...

What a neat idea- hands down... you win the mom of the year award!!!! :)