Saturday, November 30, 2013

DIY: Christmas Countdown Calendar (Advent Calendar) +free printable!

I don't normally do much posting on the weekend, but this project has been in the works for a few days and with December 1 pending tomorrow I decided to make sure this got up today!

Now that American Thanksgiving is over, the holiday's are officially in full swing for my family! Even up here in Canada they had several "Black Friday" sales, it was fun to get out and pick up some goodies to put under the tree! I had also been working on getting something special prepped for my teenager for the holiday's. 

We always do some sort of advent/countdown calendar. I wanted this year's to be about more than just candy, but I also didn't want to give little trinkets that would just take up space and clutter up our small apartment. So, I came up with some clutter-less activities that allow us to spend time together as a family and give to those around us. Here is how I did it...

  • Advent Activities printed on Sticker paper
  • Something to put the candy/activities in
  • 1" punch
  • Small Candy

I gathered my advent calendar, the printable I made, my 1" punch, and some Hershey's kisses.

I used these kisses:
They were all my Shopper's had...and they are amazing!

Above is the 1" punch I use. If you don't have one but you craft a lot I highly recommend this one by EK Success. It is compact, it is an "easy punch", and it can be used for a variety of things...namely bottle cap crafts! So, take this punch and turn it upside down like this: 

Centre it over the words and wreath, and punch! I punched all of mine out first... 

....and then stuck it to the bottom of the Hershey's Kiss!

Cute, huh?!

Then I put it behind the appropriate door! 

Now, something to keep in mind when deciding which activities to use is check your calendar. Some of the activities are quite easy and can be done even on a busy day. For example one is read a holiday book, another is have dinner in front of the Christmas Tree, have a red & green themed dinner. Those are things that don't really take any extra effort, but can go a long way in making great memories!

I printed this calendar and as I put the activities in the box, I wrote down what was being done on each day so that way each evening I can look ahead to what activity is on schedule for the next day so if it involves pancakes, waffles, hot cocoa, etc I can make sure those are prepped the night before; or, if it involves going somewhere I can make sure I tell everyone to be on schedule!

Now, how did I come up with the activity ideas? I tried to choose things that were cheap, mostly clutter-less, and ones that could help my teenager think of others. I scoured pinterest, facebook, and and several blogs looking for ideas, but most of them are unique because honestly most of the ideas I found involved a lot of "stuff" or expense. 

Here are the ideas I used and what I am doing for each one:

Hot Cocoa Breakfast with cookies
Holiday Light Displays
Ice Skating-Sundae Bar
See a parade
Reflect on the year
Commemorate the day in video or pics
Look at neighborhood lights
Play Charades
Red & Green Themed Dinner
Have a dance party
Sing Carols
Game night
Go play in the snow
Roast marshmallows in the fire
Go see a holiday movie in theater
Make goals for next year
Popcorn Garland
Mail Xmas Cards to friends
Xmas Trivia
Popcorn & Movie
Look @ Xmas Lights
Merry Christmas
Tree Lighting & Carol Ships (this is unique to our city, but your city may have a tree lighting)
Donate coats to a charity
Night Before Christmas (movie/book)
Donate a toy to charity
Bake Gingerbread Men
Make Fudge
Make puff pain snowflakes
Candle light dinner
Polar Express (movie/book)
Make mom & dad a present
Pancakes & Cocoa
Open Presents
Dress fancy for dinner
Bake Spritz Cookies
Write to Santa
Visit holiday attraction at a museum
Take a cookie basket to friends (use the cookies you've baked earlier in the countdown)
Do something nice for Mom & Dad
Magic Cookie Bars
Waffles & Cocoa
Living room fort
PJ Party
Christmas Market
Visit Santa
Dinner in front of Xmas Tree
Breakfast in front of Xmas Tree
List what you are thankful for
Craft Day
How the Grinch Stole Xmas
Send hug to out of town family
Look at the holiday window displays
Holiday Book
Xmas Movie

On Friday's and the days my teen is on holiday break I put in two activities because I really wanted us to be doing a lot together. I think this will be so fun.

Some ideas in the event you don't have an advent calendar like I do socks to a line of string hung on the wall, hang numbered socks on the tree and the let the kids pick them off each day, hang a string or string of lights and use numbered clothespins to pin pieces of paper with the day's activity to it. Think outside the box, have fun with it!

How do you kick off your holiday season???

I would love to see your holiday activities! Leave a link in the comments or some share with us on facebook! 

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