We have a few Advent Calendars in the house this year. Trust me – our four year old needs to be reminded every day that “today is not Christmas”. How confusing is that though? We do all this Christmas “Stuff”, go to Christmas “Parties”, and have trees, garland, lights & stockings up for weeks but it’s still not actually Christmas!! Needless to say he stays a little confused!
He keeps repeating me & says “it’s Christmas TIME, but NOT Christmas DAY”. So the countdowns are helping – not eliminating the questions all together, but helping.
One of our Countdowns is activity-based. I tried to make a list of some really inexpensive things to do throughout the 25 days that would keep us busy, active, and let us have some fun without breaking the bank.
These aren’t earth shattering by any means, but my Top Ten Favorites are:
- Roast Marshmallows in the Fireplace – This is fun because it can be done almost any night of the week. Or at least any night of the week that my husband is home to carry in the logs!! Evan loves this. He actually eats more unroasted than roasted, but it still makes for a fun night!
- Lights – There’s several places around town that charge money to drive through & look at their lights. I’m sure some of them might actually be worth the money but at just 4 yrs & 1, any old lights will do! (Even the horrible ones on our house where a huge section went out the first week they were up!!) So we’ll bundle up in the comfort of our PJs one night & drive around the neighborhood looking at lights & all those awesome annoying blow-up thingies!
- Build A Bear – Their price points really aren’t all that bad. Some bears start at $10 and if you sign up for the rewards program you’ll get coupons to help bring the cost down. And maybe it’s because my oldest is a boy, but if I build up the experience, we can totally get out of there without any clothes or accessories … again helping with the cost.
- Clean out Toys – This one doesn’t cost a dime! Although it may start a mini war!! I think the trick to this is picking the right time. If I try to do this after Evan’s in trouble he’s usually not that excited about giving some of his toys away. But when we’re having one of those good, sweet moment-kind-of-days he’s actually a little eager!! And it provides the perfect opportunity to show that Christmas is about giving to others!!
- Bake Cookies – Evan’s finally at the age where he’s interested in getting his hands in a bowl of cookie dough. I was beginning to think I was going to have to wait for Megan to get old enough!! And decorating the cookies is always a lot of fun too!!
- Church or School Plays – Another freebie!! Growing up I was always in our Church Christmas Programs. And they were always a huge deal. Whether it’s the adult choir, the teens or children, look in your area to see if a local church is putting a program on. You never know exactly what you’ll get, but sometimes surprises are fun!!
- Reminisce – Evan LOVES seeing himself in pictures or on video. Why not put it on the big screen in the family room & make a night of watching past Christmas videos? Or looking through pictures of previous years?
- Make Cards – Evan comes home with a lot of coloring pictures and crafts from his Pre-School class. I can only keep so many of those things. So, I like to turn some of them into greeting cards. Evan has a fun time signing his name & making them for someone special.
- Deliver Cookies or Cards – There’s something about the Holidays that just puts me in the baking mood, but I can’t possibly shouldn’t eat all the cookies I make. So instead we’ll wrap some up & let the kids deliver them to local family, neighbors or friends.
- Go to the Mall – This one may be overboard on the sanity levels this time of the year. I’ve actually grown to hate the mall anytime of the year, but it does provide for some cheap entertainment on the cold winter months … of course that depends on what your local mall has to offer!! Ours has a small indoor play area. I hate it because it’s a germ-fest and always crowded. But I love it because it’s closed off so ones the kids are in the area, it’s easy to keep an eye on them. We also have a really nice carousel. They even have a punch card so with more than one little one you could fill a card rather quickly & get a free ride.
So, like I said, not earth shattering … but we’re still having fun!