The Toddler Advent-ure Calendar – My Christmas 2015
Whoah, hey there, December! Where did you come from?
Being the first day of December, the internet has made it clear to me that every good parent has been slaving away over the past 3 months to hand-stitch their little Timmy his very own incredibly decorative countdown calendar, and carefully filled it with a variety of his favourite fine chocolates and small tokens of their undying love. Hey, I’m not knocking them – I love myself a good advent calendar. They’ve been a strong part of my family traditions growing up, and something I’d like to carry on with my own little munchkin. However, I just don’t have time for that crap.
Let’s get serious. Over the past year I’ve come to the realization that a lot of us (including me) tend to way overdo things. We spend a bajillion hours planning, prepping, and doing, and a comparable amount of money is spent on making our Pinterest-inspired ideas come to fruition in our own version of reality (which often ends up looking more like the cat got sick than the nifty make-your-salad-look-like-sushi snack that Susie Von Domestic pinned on her “Easy Playdate Snacks” board – Funk you, Susie, your version of “easy” is not matching up with mine). So much of our time, energy and money is wasted over things that don’t last and aren’t enjoyed nearly as much as we built them up to be, and for why? There’s definitely something to be said for *realistic* simplicity, and I’m starting to put this new method to play in my life.
So, back to advent calendars.
I, of course, got Z her very first chocolate advent calendar (you know, those cardboard rectangles with the 90% wax, 10% “chocolate” chocolate squares with unrecognizable shapes on them until you look at the picture from whence it was yanked and go “Oh.. yea… I guess I see that”). They’ve always been a tradition for me. However, I am no barbarian, and while civilized children all over Instagram are about to be swarmed with the crafty efforts of their devoted mothers, by golly if my own little darling won’t get one of her own.
Instead of 3 months, though, how about starting it the last night of November? And instead of bejewelling up vintage bottles and hanging them on 12-carat gold thread, doesn’t rummaging around the house for random materials you’ve been hoarding sound positively charming?
Yes. This is more along my lines of doable. I grabbed some two-sided paper flags that I’ve been saving from our wedding banners I made (an idea given to me by the amazingly creative and stylish Natalie), string, wooden clothespins, scissors and my stapler, and after 15 minutes of stapling, trimming and clipping, I had myself a totally usable countdown calendar to fill up for my unsuspecting little elf.
If you haven’t started an advent calendar yet, but would like to, there’s still time! You can always start late and do some catch up by covering a couple things in a day, or there’s the whole 12 Days of Christmas thing you can make it into instead.
Being that Little Miss’s birthday is still fizzing itself out, she will already be eating a *gasp* chocolate a day (my god, who have I become?!), and Christmas is coming soon to dump too many needless little toys on her, what could I possibly include in her countdown that I could feel good about? That she might actually need and appreciate?
Well, how about some special time spent doing fun, often Christmassy things together?
The way I see it, there is nothing but awesomeness to be gleaned from this kind of commitment to bond and enjoy each other’s company each day in a special way. We’ll see how it all plays out, but I have some fairly high hopes.
So, I sat myself down and came up with some ideas of how to spend some time each day from now until Christmas Day doing something fun together. Here are some of the ideas I used.
Get a Christmas Tree (This was going to be today’s task, but I could tell Dear Old Daddy was disappointed about not getting to come with us again, so we’ve postponed.)
Make “Snowballs” (ie. Protein Power Balls, but rolled in coconut – food prep and fun bonding experience? Two birds, people. Let’s take down the flock.)
Make “Christmassy” playdough (I haven’t completely decided what kind of Christmassy I’ll make it, but I’ll throw in a few drops of one of my essential oils, like peppermint or douglas fir, and colour it accordingly – maybe add a dash of glitter, because nothing says “Holidays” like sparkles infiltrating every square inch of your home. Here’s the most amazing playdough recipe that I love to use.)
Visit a nursing home (I’ll call ahead to book a time and hopefully I’ll be able to get a small group of mamas and tots together to go sing songs and spread cute cheer.)
Make a snow globe (Again, something I have time to figure out more clearly, but the basics are there – container, little objects, water, glycerine, glue – and of course more glitter.)
Decorate a gingerbread house (Okay, with a toddler this one may be setting myself up for frustration, but I want to give it a shot. The kiddies last year during my fiasco trip to Van reminded me just how much fun they can be.)
Go see Santa (Note: I grew up knowing “the real deal” about the Jolly Old Soul, and don’t plan on raising my little one any differently, but visiting “him” for candy and the festive experience was always exciting, so we will.)
Make an ornament (Again, I have time to solidify the plan as to what and how.)
Make Christmas cards (Double dipping in toddler fun and to-do list, again. Love it.)
Go to the Ganges Light Up (Our local Christmas lights festival/concert/shopping/chili cook-off.)
I’m excited to see how this month goes, and to have 24 meaningful moments together already planned out and committed to. Honestly, I know our lives could use more of this kind of thing, and I’m seriously considering keeping this going after December.
But first, let’s see what happens.
Are you doing an advent calendar with your kiddos (or for your lucky adult self/partner)? Tell me all about it in the comments below, on Twitter, on Facebook, or tag me on Instagram. Christmas 2015 is going to be a good one!