Each December, we have a family tradition of creating an advent-style “advent-ure” calendar filled with special activities we can do each day in the run-up to the holidays. No matter what your faith, this idea is centered on togetherness and creating traditions of giving, gratitude, receiving, hope, and help. We intersperse giving with days of gratitude and creative outlets for each of us, whether we like to take pictures, draw, cook, or be outdoors.
I found a little pagan-like Santa humanoid figure being thrown away by a neighbor one year and rescued him, his pockets perfect for our family holiday adventure calendar. Before I found him, I had made a calendar with pockets that we hung each year on the back of a closet door. Every morning in December, the kids still run downstairs to see what’s in the pocket with the day’s date on it.
I’ve included a sample list of activities below, as a guide, if you’re interested in creating an advent-ure calendar for your family. Each year, we tailor our activities to special interests the kids might have. Enjoy your time together, and remember, you can do this any time of year!
- String popcorn for the birds and place outside on trees.
- Pick someone to be a secret Santa or secret gift-giver for, and give them a gift anonymously.
- Make a Holiday Wish List, with at least 2 things on it that don’t benefit you directly, and put it inside your stocking or on the mantle or kitchen counter.
- Search for a Christmas Tree in the National Forest as part of their fire-prevention Christmas tree cutting program. Oh, and get a permit for taking 3 trees so you can cut down 2 more to give to local families. Or, do something similar, like forcing an amaryllis bulb for later enjoyment in the spring.
- Trim the tree, and sip eggnog, or decorate your home with any natural holiday decor collected outside.
- Make holiday cards and mail them, today.
- Make Candles for your teachers, to light their new year.
- Make presents like bath salts, vinegars, hot chocolate mixes.
- Holiday party with friends and neighbors!
- Drive to nearest ski area, have a yummy dinner out, and snuggle down at a B&B.
- Ski, or sled, or make a snow man.
- Make ornaments, make hand-made gifts, have a Red and Green Dinner tonight, share holiday stories.
- Make a Wreath.
- Do a shoe drive and pack the shoes into duffel bags to take to Nepal.
- Choose a dish, or a dinner, that you will make for everyone over the holidays.
- Walk around the neighborhood together tonight with hot cocoa and see the lights.
- Sleep by the fire under the tree, or sit outside for an hour and watch the stars together.
- Write out 10 things you’re grateful for and tuck your list into the tree or on the mantle.
- Give $20 of allowance money to a charity of your choice.
- Deliver homemade gifts to the neighbors.
- Family Movie Night!
- Post something hand-made as a gift on your local Buy Nothing group.
- Make Gingerbread Houses and be sure to give them to the chickens, or a Buy Nothing neighbor who has chickens when you’re done with them.
- Bake Gingerbread cookies to put out for Santa, or place them on a neighbor’s doorstep.
- It’s Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, whatever the holiday, so go for a family hike and be sure to hold hands and do a race, skipping.What would you add to this list for your family and community to enjoy? I’d love to compile more ideas for a bigger list for all families to enjoy!