I put a lot of time into coming up with a good list of 25 things for our family to do/make/receive for our 25 days of Advent. I think I finally ended up with a good combo of crafts, activities and a few little things to receive.

I didn't assign days to them, simply because our lives here . . . well they can be crazy! I am actually printing the ideas on 4x6 cards and will decide each evening what we'll do the next day. I have a rough idea of the order but it can be changed. For example, I know that we'll do the Gingerbread-cookie decorating on a Saturday WITH the boys, I know that Sundays I need a very simple thing like a gift or a coloring page, etc. The cards look like this:

And I'll use a marker to write in the date on each tag. They'll go in a simple album with a photo of that days' activities and the directions, if necessary.

Without further ado, here is our particular list of activities.

Get out the Christmas dishes and drink hot cocoa
Make Orange pomander decorations
Make treats for the birds and squirrels
Color nativity story pictures
Take a Santa-hat picture
Make snow globes
Do family Christmas shopping
Make paper snowflakes and cover them with glitter. Hang around the house.
Make Christmas cookies
Make Gingerbread Men
Make ice luminary or decoration
Put up nativity scene
Hang up stockings
Paint salt dough ornaments or cinnamon dough ornament
wrap presents
Paint toenails in Christmas colors.
Make hand-print Christmas cards.
Make a Gingerbread house
Take family Christmas photos
make Christmas tree decorations
make paper-plate wreaths for the house
Get Christmas pajamas
Read the Christmas story
Make a Christmas Eve dinner
Make a cake or cupcakes for Jesus’ Birthday

In order to make sure that I actually accomplish these things . . . because I'm a good planner but don't always finish well . . . I actually researched the ideas and then researched the "how tos" and saved them all in one place, along with links, pictures.

In case any of you are interested in these activities, here are the links (for things like Gingerbread house, there are no links- I plan to buy one from Target). Pictures are from the website I've linked you to.

Pinecone treats:
Squash treats:
Bagel Treats:





ICE LUMINARY - I also saw beautiful pictures of these made as tall containers with sticks in them and candles inside. And yes, I know it's like 80 here, but I think they'll be pretty until they melt, like an hour later :)



NATIVITY STORY COLORING PAGES - no picture here- just a link to a great page filled with printable pictures!

SNOW GLOBE INSTRUCTIONS (adapted from a huge thread on the topic at MDC forums)
Snow globes are fun! You need some sort of empty jar. Plastic peanut butter if you're nervous about dropping it, large glass if you're ambitious, small glass (baby food jars work well) if you're nervous about filling space....

Anyway, choose a jar of some sort and clean it out. You can use a glue gun to glue something permanent to the inside of the lid if you want; I've seen advice to hot-glue a small (soda bottle?) cap to the inside of the lid, like a little stage, then glue a Christmasy object, like a little plastic tree or something, onto that stage so it will be visible inside the jar once you screw the lid back on.

Turn your empty jar upright and fill with sequins, glitter, beads, googly eyes, etc. Beads are a little heavy to float around, but glitter and holiday-themed sequins do well. Googly eyes don't sink and are a little creepy.

When you have as much stuff as you want, fill the jar with mineral oil. Water doesn't allow things to float as well as oil does; oil is a bit more viscous. I think in college my roommate, who was a total craft nerd like I was, used a combination of corn syrup and water--there are recipes on the internet. It was sticky and messy, though, so I prefer the straight oil. Different combinations change the floatability, of course. Good science investigation for future years, but for now my kids just want them done as soon as possible.

I then put superglue around the threads of the jar lid before screwing on the top, then put aquarium glue around the edge of that. Then I glue a festive ribbon around the lid to make it a bit prettier. I let them sit overnight before flipping them over. I was paranoid the first year about leaking, even with all of the glue, but our first globes held up for two years without a single leak, so I'm less nervous now.

Wow, so are you in the Christmas mood yet? I can't wait to begin! I've been picking up the various items we need for our activities while I'm out and will make sure to have everything ready the night before . . . again, so I can actually accomplish this! I'm working on other ideas for Advent, things we could do in a different time or place (or when kids are older). I'd love to hear any ideas that you do!

Breakfast in bed
Surprise dinner for grandparents
Christmas card for mail lady or garbage man
Put red or green sheets on the beds
Get out the Christmas dishes
Watch a Christmas movie (or two, or three . . .)
Drive around and look at Christmas lights
Go Christmas caroling at a friend or relative's house


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