24 fun activities for Advent

Christmas Montessori JoelAlternate title: A Mommy who values tradition

When I was a kid, my family was big into traditions. Especially at Christmas time, we always knew what to expect when it came to special times. We always watched “Miracle on 34th Street” either Thanksgiving night or the following day, we always got to eat my mom’s special Christmas cookies (butterballs, pinwheels, and sugar cookie cut-outs), and there was always an orange in the toe of our stocking.

So one of the joys of motherhood for me is creating traditions for my own children. I use a lot of the same ones my mom created for me and my brother (and she still does with my kids), but I have definitely branched out as well.

As I was saying the other day, Advent is an important time in our family. We are going through a Jesse tree devotional to keep us focused on the true meaning of Christmas. We also have an advent calendar that has a little piece of the Nativity scene to add onto a felt background each day.

But Christmas is one of the times of year when I really get into doing fun activities with my kids. Now, before you start thinking I’m some crazy Martha Stewart-mommy, let me remind you that we have a fenced-in back yard that I make liberal use of during the warm months. In December, I love having a bunch of planned, intentional times for fun and relationship-growing with my little ones. I love Christmas time, and so do they!

So here’s our list for this year. I think it’s our best one yet!

  1. Help with Christmas cards
  2. Decorate small trees in their bedrooms
  3. Go see the Nutcracker with Mommy, Grandma, and Grandma
  4. Enjoy a drive-through Live Nativity
  5. Make a Christmas craft (a foam kit I got for 90% off last year)
  6. Have snowman pancakes for dinner
  7. Learn about Christmas in other countries (I have a coloring book that I intend to copy pages out of, and also read Tomie DePaola’s “Legend of the Poinsettia”)
  8. Attend babysitting night at Sydney’s preschool while mom and dad babysit other people’s kids (fun because their friends are there)
  9. Go to Philadelphia to enjoy the Dickens Christmas Village and the Wanamaker Light Show
  10. Attend another Live Nativity, this time with carols by candlelight
  11. Carol singing at church
  12. Make Christmas play-doh with glitter and peppermint extract (I used to make it red, but I can’t anymore)
  13. Make presents for teachers
  14. Explorer Girls Christmas party (at church)
  15. Make gift tag ornaments
  16. Sydney’s Christmas show at school
  17. Make a gingerbread house
  18. Act out a Christmas play for mommy and daddy
  19. Make Christmas cards with rubber stamps
  20. Wrap presents
  21. Drive around and see Christmas lights
  22. Christmas parties at school
  23. Bake cookies
  24. Go to the Christmas Eve service and Grandma’s Open House

I wrote each activity on a little strip of paper and put it in a drawer of an old Starbucks advent calendar that I found at a thrift store for ninety cents. The girls opened their first drawer today, and were so excited!

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Have you been thinking about the kind of mommy you want to be? Tell me, or leave me a link if you’ve posted about it.

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