You might guess from my previous post that the magical mood known as “Christmas spirit” can be hard to come by when you’re a Northern Hemisphere squirrel transplanted into a Southern Hemisphere summer holiday. I’ve made a lot of concessions and alterations to make the holiday feel authentic – in with the pavlova and out with “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” Yet, I often still find myself in “fake it ’til ya make it” mode. Now that we have a child who is old enough to understand holidays, I want to gift her the wonder that can be the Christmas season, as I felt it when I was growing up.
So, in that spirit, I jumped right on board to holiday-spirit town when I saw someone on my local mother’s group Facebook page post about a Christmas activity advent calendar. I didn’t have an advent calendar growing up, so had never given them much thought. I just thought of them as cheap paper boxes with waxy chocolate inside. I loved the idea that we could turn this into something so special for our family this season.
(It was such a well-received idea that North Shore Mums turned it into an article on the website.)
I bought an advent calendar with pockets for $12 at Target, and then filled it with handmade slips of paper indicating our daily activity. The activity list is a mix of big events and smaller tasks so that we don’t burn out. And, on days that we already had something planned (i.e. -a Christmas party), that became the daily activity. Choosing an advent calendar where I could access the papers easily was important because I like the ability to tailor the activity to the weather or how busy we are going to be – for instance, “See Christmas lights” on a sunny day or “Get new Christmas pajamas” on a day when I have to go shopping, anyway. I also included a few acts of service to make sure that becomes part of the of thread of the season.
We’re a little over half way through, and it’s been marvelous. I’ve been posting updates most days on my Instagram (join me!). Every day, Hushpuppy says, “my calendar?” and then picks her little paper with such happy anticipation. Each card has a small picture on it to give her a clue, and then I read it to her. No matter what it is, the reading of the day’s plan is met with a joyful, “Ooooooh!”.Many days, she’s kept track of and held onto that little piece of paper for ages, like it was her ticket to ride.
Here’s our full schedule of activities:
- Put up the Christmas tree
- Get a new Christmas book x2
- Do a Christmas craft x2
- See Jingle Bell Jazz at the Sydney Opera House
- Christmas Carols at the park x2
- Make a gingerbread house
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Stuff Christmas baskets for families in need with Helping Hands North Shore
- Christmas lunch with our Unitarian group
- Make Christmas cookies
- Do a Christmas rubbish clean up at the park
- Santa Fest at Darling Harbour
- North Sydney Christmas markets
- Playgroup Christmas party
- Dance party to Christmas music
- Make snack packs for One Meal
- See the Christmas lights display on St Mary’s Cathedral
- Santa photos
- Make Christmas cards
- Pick out a pair of Christmas pajama
- Christmas Eve festivities!
Feel free to follow our Christmas activities on Instagram.