Even before I had kids, I tried to make Christmas special for my family. Once the kids were born, it went to another level. Then Pinterest entered the scene and the rest is history. Over the past few years, I've spent countless hours browsing blogs, collecting ideas, trying out recipes, researching movies, tracking down books, and finding new games to add to our Christmas traditions. Our kids cherish each one of these activities we do together and they look forward to them every year. As a home educator, I regularly create curriculum for my children. The Christmas Countdown Calendar is essentially a family holiday curriculum.
When I post about the things we are doing, many parents express that they would love to be able to do those kinds of activities with their families but that they don't have the time to plan ahead. It pained me that people were missing out on fun because of life's responsibilities. I immediately knew I had to help. After all, this is what Parenthood is all about. This is how we look after one another. We all have different strengths and talents that we bring to the table. This is my strength. I'm a planner. I believe all families should be able to enjoy their holidays this way if they so desire, even if the parents don't have time to sit down for hours and plan.
Time - With the various work schedules, families often barely have one or two hours of solid quality time each evening. That's why my activities are designed in a way that they can be completed at the dinner table as an extension of dinner. Some activities can be incorporated into the bedtime routine. At any rate, unless you are doing a planned outing, most activities can be done in a short span of time.
Budget - When I looked at activities I kept a close eye on the materials list. Most activities can be completed with items you already have around your home or with minimal purchases. I also chose activities where the materials could be reused. When the goal is to make memories, simplicity wins.
Moods & Personalities - There are 5 activity ideas in 8 different categories. That is a total of 40 activity cards for a 24-day period. There will be days when you are energized and ready to tackle the world. On those days, you take on an artsy craft, or have a dance party. Then, there are days when you don't really feel up to much. Those days are coloring or "snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie" days. Some days, you have to finish some responsibilities. Those days you read a quick book before bed, or hand them a sheet of Christmas stickers. No matter what mood you are in or what personalities are in your family, there is something for everyone.
Age Ranges - Families are all unique. I chose to make photo cards so that young children could see what adventure awaits that day without having to rely on a parent to read it for them. The activities I chose this year can be completed at different ability levels. A canvas painting, for example, can be enjoyed by both young children or tweens at their own level.
Meaning - While each year I choose activities that set the family up for bonding, this year I paid close attention to how meaningful these activities are. My personal theme this year is simplicity, so I wanted to make sure the activities centered around giving, creating, and savoring. The calendar includes 24 advent scripture cards. I searched through the Bible and chose prophecies from the Old Testament as well as their fulfillment in the New Testament leading up to the birth of Jesus. One card can be added to each envelope and read before each nightly activity. Another one of my favorite new features this year, is the Kindness category. Families are encouraged to engage in giving back through acts of kindness and service.
I'm happy that I can share what I've so passionately worked on for you to enjoy with your family.
2015 Countdown Calendar.