I have to admit the fact that I usually find myself with too much gifts for the children on Christmas eve….
Months before I already buy things on sale (or second hand), because I love bargains and well, you can never start to early to get your presents ready, right? ­čÖé

 

This year I would love to focus on more family-time during the weeks before Christmas, because:

 

”the greatest gift you
can give someone
is your time.
because when you
give your time,
you are giving
a portion of
your life you will
never get back”

( –┬áRick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?┬á)

 

I love the idea of having an advent calendar filled with family activities, or if you want to stick to one activity, I love Children’s book advent calendars. One book a day, usually with Christmas stories, or just pack books you already have and put a number on the packaging so you don’t have to buy anything new. I read to my children every evening and I’m sure they would think it’s fun to find out what the book of the day will be.

 

Back to the idea of an activity advent calendar. You can find a lot of suggestions online for activities, but I still found it hard to pick 24 activities for us.
For every ‘outside’ activity I will also put an alternative on the list, because you’ll never know how the weather will be on that day.
1. Make Christmas ornaments / decorations together

2. Learn a Christmas song

3. Go outside and gather pinecones for crafts (or the seasonable nature table)
(inside alternative) Make a Christmas drawing

4. Bake speculoos biscuits or ‘pepernoten’ for the Sinterklaas celebration

5. Celebrate Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) with an early gift ( I know, most countries celebrate on the 6th of December, but Dutch people celebrate on the 5th!)

6. Visit a (local) tourist attraction (in our case it will probably be a hike to the ruins of a castle)
(inside alternative) visit a local museum

7. Learn a Christmas action rhyme or fingerplay ( you can find some suggestions here )

8. Make a Christmas window stare ( link )

9. Fill up a box with clothing to donate (or make a ‘welcome’ box for refugees, with other things like hygiene products and a blanket)

10. Make a family picture to be this year’s Christmas gift for Grandparents

11. Bake a Christmas tree bread

12. Visit a Christmas market
(inside alternative) dance together on Christmas carols!

13. Have a candlelit dinner

14. Make & write Christmas cards

15. Visit the library to lend some Christmas books

16. Pack up Christmas gifts for a charity (donating toys the kids will sort out from their collection)

17. Bake Christmas cupcakes / cookies for the other kids (and teachers) at the Kindergarten

18. Eat pancakes for dinner!

19. Visit a live nativity scene
(inside alternative) play with our wooden nativity scene at home

20.┬áGo for a hike in the snow (let’s just assume there will be snow this year ­čśë )
(alternative) go see the Christmas tree of our town

21. Build a Christmas tree with building blocks

22. Make a Christmas craft

23. Bake Christmas cookies! (and bring some to the neighbours)

24. Go see this year’s Christmas play

 

 

I think we will go with a simple envelope advent calender and because my girls can’t read yet I’m planning to print out images / symbols to illustrate the activity for the day.
I know we don’t need an advent calendar as a reason to spend quality time, but it’s a great incentive with the activities and I love it for being an alternative for the chocolate or gift filled calendars.

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