Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year and there have been many traditions to prepare for Christmas - some traditions were passed down to me, some that we picked up along the way when my kids were little, and some new ones that are unfolding as the years go by.
One beautiful tradition that always brings memories is the Advent Calendar.
The tradition of Advent calendars bring stories and memories
I remember the simplicity of the old paper calendars where you would open a door every day to reveal a picture. I remember as a child always looking forward to what was behind each door and being able to see how many days were left until Christmas. Then as I grew older, I progressed to a chocolate advent calendar that was bought every year by mom. From there, we found a beautiful felt advent calendar where different felt pieces were added to a bigger picture but still the days were visibly counted down for me.
Advent Calendar activities
When I had children, we continued that felt calendar but I also added a homemade advent calendar filled with different activities that we could do for every day of advent. I looked forward to writing each day’s activity down on paper and placing it into each numbered box and as the kids became older, we brainstormed ideas together.
The idea was to spend quality time together and some slow days together while counting down to Jesus’ birth. Some activities were as simple as read a Christmas book together or play a board game and some involved a bit more time such as baking cookies or going to look at Christmas lights.
Regardless, the outcome of the advent calendar was still the same – counting down the days to Jesus’ birth.
Now that everyone is grown, the homemade advent boxes are packed away in our Christmas storage box where it is pushed aside as we dig through the box for other decorations but I pause each time it is in my hand and remember all the fun activities that we did together and I’ll say… “do you remember when we did ….” and I am usually met with smiles, laughter, and reminiscing. What a beautiful way to prepare for Jesus’ birth and also make many memories along the way.
Making your own advent calendar
If you’d like to try to make your own advent calendar, you can use a pre-made advent display that already has numbered doors or drawers or you can just create your own by using boxes, bags, envelopes, or anything else you may have on hand.
A quick search on the internet will bring a plethora of ideas. Then you can begin to write different activities you would like to do each day together (keeping things simple and easy on your busy days).
If you have children, create activity ideas that everyone would enjoy. If you don’t have any kids, you can create one for yourself with the different things you would like to do throughout the advent season.
Some examples are:
- reading a Christmas book
- watching a Christmas movie
- volunteering in your community
- playing a board game
- visiting someone who could use a visitor
- sending someone a card
- baking cookies
- build a snowman (if you live where there is snow and if there is snow on the ground)
- lighting a candle and saying a prayer
- lighting a candle and reading the gospels that retell of Jesus’ birth
- build something Christmas-y out of blocks or interlocking blocks
- make hot cocoa and go see Christmas lights
- say a rosary
- draw a picture of what Christmas means to you…the ideas are endless!
Interested in some cards to get you started on your calendar journey?
Submit the form below to download some cards that are already decorated and prefilled with ideas. Also included are blank cards to fill in with anything that you'd like!