December 3, 2012

2012 Advent Tour: My Advent Calendar

Welcome to day 3 of the  Virtual Advent Tour (stop here for all the posts). As I sat thinking about what on earth I can write about this year, I thought of all the people who are so Scrooge-ish with the holiday season. "There is just too much to do!" they cry. "How can I possibly deal with EVERYTHING that is coming my way?!?"

This, my friends, is my personal answer to that question. It's a tradition that started when I was a kid, and I've kept it up. And -- I'm here to testify (can I get an "AMEN"?) -- we've found that this works to not only keep the Christmas season more manageable, but makes the time pass in such at way that Christmas is enjoyed by all. At least for our family.

First you get yourselves one of these:
 My mother-in-law gave us this many, many years ago. The one I grew up with was a Christmas tree with ornaments, which my mother had made.

Then, you organize your month, one activity on each day, like so (click to embiggen, if you really want to know):
Some of the events are permanent (like A's birthday is ALWAYS on the 5th), some events we have to work around (like choir or band concerts), and some events can be moved around (like charades or story night). But generally, sometime around Thanksgiving, Hubby and I sit down and work out what has to be done and what we want to be done, tradition-wise, for this year's Christmas season.

Then, every morning, I write down that day's event on a little slip of paper, and stick it in the pocket.
We rotate girls (keeping track of who ended -- baby Jesus is the one everyone wants; why don't they clamor for a cow?), and they put up a character and read the note.

By the end, it looks like this, and it's Christmas.

While we don't have a traditional advent calendar, we also have a candle that we burn each night:
But we often seem to either forget, or burn down more than one number, so it's kind of a haphazard way to count down the season.

How do you handle the stress of December?

Don't forget to visit the other advent stops today!

Ana @ things mean a lot
Michelle @ The True Book Addict


Kailana said...

That sounds like a lot of fun! We always had Advent calendars growing up. They were sent by some subscription my parents had. No chocolate for us. It was just a piece of paper with little squares. :)

Thanks for joining in again!

Belle Wong said...

This is such a fabulous idea! Our main Advent calendar (because this year I caved in and got a Lego one, too, much to a certain 9 year old boy's delight) is a wooden one, with wooden ornaments in boxes. I love the idea of adding a Christmas activity to each box. I'll have to give it a try next year!

contemplatrix said...

I love that completion of the picture idea. and keeping a flexible but organized calendar of events--which is especially appealing during such a busy time.


Marg said...

This is such a good idea! Very clever, and lots of fun as you will never be really sure what you are going to be selecting for the day.

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

Such a wonderful idea! I normally get a chocolate advent calendar - but as yummy as chocolate is, doing fun stuff together all through the season is much better. said...

I think we'll definitely have to get an Advent Calendar (or make one) for when our little guy is older. I've been saving tons of ideas for how to observe Advent this year, and activities sounds like a great idea!

Linda Maendel said...

Interesting! Thanks for sharing. Love the candle.

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

What a wonderful idea, keeps you organised, whilst being a lot of fun!

Melissa Fox said...

Thanks, all!

Chrisbookarama said...

Wow, you are so organized! That sounds like a fun way to do it.

Susan said...

What a lovely idea, and a way to have fun things to do together and stay organized. We never had advent calendars until I was a teenager, so I am having fun doing one each for my kids - but I never thought of activities that we could do together. That's wonderful.

I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas, Melissa.

Tami said...

Great idea to keep from being overwhelmed - and add some fun to the season's prep. Thanks for sharing.

kelley jensen said...

I was so surprised to read your post. I made a calendar so similar to yours it must have come from the same pattern. I got tired of picking the nativity pieces up everyday and eventually glued them on. I continued with names and activities in the pockets until my children were grown. We all have fond memories of the "service calendar". We also burn a candle every night. stopping by from Virtual Advent tour. Have a very merry Christmas, Kelley at the road goes ever ever on

Joy said...

Such a great way to do things with kids! I love both the calendar and the idea of a festive event each day.

Joy's Book Blog

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Fabulous. I'm impressed!

My philosophy is to say Yes to everything. I'm tired, of course, but experiences are wonderful, people are wonderful, and experiences and people equal life.

Here's my Virtual Advent: Uff da! Norwegian Fattigmands! I hope you will stop by!