Last year I posted this idea of making advent calendars for friends, family and ourselves. The thought being that I should have started in November. I said that I would post it again so that we would ALL remember to start early and actually stand a chance of getting it done.
Waaaay back in November my sons and I decided to create an advent calendar for friends of ours. We thought it would be fun to gather silly gifts to open every day, small animals, a lucky penny, a pretty rock, that sort of thing. Their sons are of an age with these guys and all about collecting, so it seemed a good idea and the collecting begun. Then all hell broke loose with the social calendar and somehow the calendar was forgotten about till it was already well into December. I told them we would do it next year.
Today we are sorting out the last of the gifts we are making and figuring out what still needs doing and I have an ENTIRE day to work on Christmas details. I stumbled upon a lovely set of photos and ideas this morning in the Anthology Gift Guide, revolving around holiday traditions, new and old. I love them all, but this one in particular got me to thinking. It's an Activity Advent Calendar, and it's meant to cover a month of Christmas doings. I think that is pretty brilliant, but then I got to thinking further and realized that what we REALLY should do in this house, is to make next year's calendar NOW. Maybe not put the dates on it right yet, but make an activity for say, twenty of the twenty-five days so that when next year rolls around we can place the days around the things already on the calendar. The coolest thing, is that by next year, we will only have a vague recollection of what we put into it. It really will be a surprise for everyone! For us, it will be a way to be sure that enough time is spent doing family based activities and not running around like crazy just "getting things done".
I like the idea of doing this with small gifts as well, and am thinking that next year, if I'm really on it, November can be spent making advents for all the families we know. If you have ten families, you need to bake a dozen each of a few kinds of cookies, buy a set of small forest animals and paint them with glitter, a box of individually wrapped chocolates to divvy up, print out some friendship notes and curl them up into a vial or tiny box, a few decks of cards maybe from the dollar store, handmade tree ornaments... there are literally so many small objects that would be fun to put in a basket or box, each wrapped individually (make sure you put the individual cookies into wrapping, bags or containers that will keep them fresh) and with numbered tags on them. The family can pick a person each day to open something. So much more special than the cardboard and cheap chocolate things that you see everywhere.
If you have unique ideas of what to put into the advents, leave us a comment!