Monday, December 1, 2014

Elfs and Advent

We all know that I love doing fun and memorable things with the kids.  I did it in the classroom and I always knew that I would do it when I was a mom. I was the teacher that was having my class make apple turnovers for Johnny Appleseed day, and did a day filled with activities for the 100th day of school, and had my kids scrambling eggs to make green eggs and ham for Dr. Seuss day.  Now as a mom I am "heart attacking" my child's door for Valentine's day and making sure we get to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch each year.  Making memories and having fun traditions is important to me.  I have been thinking about the things I want to do with my children before I even had them!

We have been doing fun things each year, but we are finally at a point where Olivia is getting it... and remembering!  (When she played in the snow she asked Michael for some colored water to spray on it like "last time". That "last time" was way back in JANUARY!)

I know Elf on the Shelf is a big thing these days, but we have decided not to participate.  I first heard about it way back when I was taking Little Man to preschool. The mom's were talking about it in the halls.  He ended up getting an elf and the book.  We moved it around each day and his parents would remind him that the elf was watching.  That was the extent of it, because really that is what the book says.  Over the years the Elf has gotten out of control (in my opinion).  He now does all sorts of mischievous things.  Honestly, I don't get it.  First of all, it's not in the book.  Second of all, he behaves badly, but then is suppose to go back to Santa and tell him you (the kid) are being good?!  It has taken on a whole life of it's own. These parents are spending all sorts of time creating these little scenes... Which is fine.  Like I said, I am all about fun and tradition.  But then that makes EVERY DAY all about Santa, an elf, and reporting back to him.  We are going to do Santa (more about that later), but it is not our main focus.  I would rather put my energy into something else.  I don't have anything against the Elf on the shelf, per se.  It's just not right for our family.  If that is your thing--go for it.

Instead, we will be doing an advent calendar full of Christmas activities.  Honestly, I have been planning on doing this long before I had kids, so to do the Elf on the Shelf too would just be a whole lot of work for ME!

I debated back and forth between making an Advent Calendar and buying one.  Ultimately, I decided  to make one.  A) It was cheaper and B) the "compartments" are bigger and C) I can make it work for us.
I based ours loosely off of an idea on Pinterest, and then made it work to my liking.

These are just favor tins that I got on sale at the craft store.  Luckily the box came with 24! The idea on Pinterest had them glued to a picture frame.  They are sort of hard to open, and I wanted them to be interactive for Olivia--so I made them magnetic and put the whole thing on our fridge door.

 Each day has a fun activity in it for us to do.  They aren't all big and extravagant.  Just a little something to put us in the Christmas spirit, spend time as a family, and remember why we celebrate.

And in all honesty, only a handful of the tins actually have something in them.  December is a busy month for everyone--but on top of that we have an out of town wedding AND both Michael's and my birthday.  I need flexibility.  So I actually wrote out 29 little circles even though we are doing 24 days.  Some of them are a guarantee... like seeing Santa and building a gingerbread house (or train, since that is what Olivia picked). Other activities are not as important.  And while we would ideally like to do these things as a family, some of them will be done with just me and some will be done with just Michael based on how our lives go, work schedules, etc.  It's just for fun.

Another fun thing we are doing this season is opening a Christmas book each day to read. Being the teacher I am, I already had about half of the 24 books needed!  I got 10 from the library and then bought a few.  I think this will be so exciting for Olivia.

I've been planning our month of December for WEEKS, and I am so happy that it is finally here.

I'll be sharing our advent activities throughout the month!  Stay tuned. :)

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