While Pinterest has plenty of ideas and fancy creations for the count down, we've been struck with the Great Thanksgiving Flu of 2013 and I needed something simple (and as always - cheap!) to make.
If you're as sentimental as I am, I bet you keep Christmas cards from years past gently stored in a seasonal box. Year after year the cards are displayed around my home to remember loved ones near and far, past and present.
The handmade cards and signatures of loved ones no longer with us are precious mementos.
The cards themselves are beautiful and festive. What better way to re-purpose them than to turn them into an Advent Calendar!?
I simply cut the cards in half (carefully saving the greeting/signature portion for another project!) and wrote on the back of the cards - one activity for each of the days leading up to Christmas.
Hang them up on garland, ribbon, or on a streamer like I did and you've got yourself a fun way to display your cards while counting down to Christmas! (If you use a streamer limit 6 cards per column - otherwise the streamer will tear from the weight!)
1. Decorate the front porch for Christmas
2. Make a popcorn garland
3. Make paper snowflakes (if you don't want to make them, try them virtually! This is our favorite site for it: http://snowflakes.barkleyus.com)
4. Go through your toys and donate ones you no longer play with
5. Have dinner with candles and the light of the Christmas tree
6. Watch a Christmas movie and don't forget the popcorn!
7. Set up the nativity and read the story in the bible
8. Go to Dunkin Donuts and enjoy a tasty treat
9. Make a gingerbread house
10. Go to McAdenville (a nearby town that decorates every house and every street) Don't forget the hot cocoa and candy canes for the trip!
11. Sing and play Christmas carols
12. Add candy canes to the tree and watch this video on how they are made: http://science.discovery.com/tv-shows/how-its-made/videos/how-its-made-candy-canes.htm
13. Make an ornament for the tree and some to share
14. Mail Christmas cards and packages
15. Make a paper chain to countdown 10 days until Christmas
16. Ok. You can go to Dunkin Donuts ONE more time. :)
17. Open one present early!
18. Visit Santa at the mall and eat dinner out
19. Bring a present and Christmas card to an elderly neighbor
20. Drive through town and look at the lights in the neighborhood
21. Call your grandparents and sing a Christmas carol (or any relative far away)
22. Bake Christmas cookies and deliver some to the neighbors
23. Wrap Christmas gifts for the family
24. Light candles and tell stories of things we miss and remember loved ones no longer with us
25. Pray for our soldiers and their families before opening our own gifts
Maybe you don't have the energy for 25 days but you might for 10 or 5 ... please don't let the traditions other people follow be an overwhelming cloud over your holidays. Guilt and stress don't go well with the true Christmas spirit! I simply want to encourage you to be intentional about how you celebrate whether it's 10 days or 2 hours! My daughter is turning 6 this month and it's the first time I've tried (or had the energy!) to implement the Advent Calendar.
However you celebrate, I pray it brings you closer to your neighbors and loved ones this holiday season.