October 30th—56 days until Christmas—More Activities for your Advent Calendar

I promised more suggestions for your Advent Activity Calendar and here they are.

1.  Make popcorn and cranberries strings to hang outside to feed the birds.

2.  Make a paper chain to hang inside.  Use only red and green paper to match the holiday.

3.  Clean one drawer.  Maybe two.  Donate anything in good condition to your favorite charity.

4.  Shovel or sweep the front walk.

5.  Wrap presents.

6.  Make a favorite family appetizer.  Remember these meat balls from last year?003 (2)

You can download the recipe here.  They freeze beautifully.

7.  Everyone work together making supper.  These Spicy Shrimp are easy and a favorite among the elves, probably because they love licking their buttery fingers when they’re done.

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8.  Go caroling in your neighborhood or at a senior citizens center or homeless center.

Come back again for even more activity suggestions for your calendar

October 27th—59 days until Christmas—My Favorite Advent Calendar

Our countdown is into the fifties! Time is moving on. That’s why it’s not too early to be thinking about Advent Calendars.

My Advent Calendar today doesn’t hold gifts. This one is full of activities the family can do together. The easiest part is making the container—I use an old vase, wide enough at the top so that small elf hands can fit inside and tie a bright read bow to make it seasonal.

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Then fill your vase with twenty-five sheets of paper.

What’s written on each paper?

A different activity that you can do together. By the time December comes around, if you’ve been following this blog, you will have completed your shopping so you can relax and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Need some activity suggestions? How about these as possibilities?

1.  Make a card for someone special

2.  Go through your toys and belongings to find those still in good condition to donate to others less fortunate. This has the added advantage of brightening someone else’s holiday and gives you space to put the gifts received this Christmas.

3.  Bake cookies—What about these yummy white chocolate oatmeal cookies?

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4.  Shut down your computer, no video games. Everyone in the family gather around the table and play an old-fashioned board game. SCRABBLE anyone? MONOPOLY?

5.  Do an outside activity together, walk, jog, ice skate, build a snow man.

6, Start a jigsaw Christmas puzzle. Serious Puzzles on the internet has jigsaw puzzles from 13 pieces up to 6,000! Check them out here.

7.  Read a Christmas book aloud.  Perhaps this lovely collection of poems (My alter-ego Ann Whitford Paul has a poem there.)

manger  Or, better yet, this book about ME!

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My next few blogs will be devoted to further suggestions for your Activity Advent Calendar. What fun you and your family will have together!

October 23rd—63 days until Christmas—Advent Calendars

Nothing helps build excitement to Christmas than counting off with an Advent Calendar.  Young kids, especially those who don’t yet understand the concept of time, need these to see that the holiday is coming closer and closer.  Or adversely that there’s still a long time for that amazing day.

You can always buy advent calendars, but this year with a focus on family and doing things together, why not make your own.  It can be as fancy as this which has been in our family for years.  It took forever to make as the numbers were hand-stitched and the balls (pockets to hold treats) were also hand-stitched.  Back when I was younger I had plenty of energy to make things like this.

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Now I’m older.  Simpler is better.  Here’s one made from left-over yarn from this wreath.  I hate to waste anything.

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This Advent Calendar was completed in less than an hour and a half.  Why not make one for each child in your life?

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Here are the directions.

It works like this.  Hang it from a nail and every day snip off one of the packages.  Mine is filled with Hershey Kisses.  As the treats get eaten, the yarn gets shorter–two ways to emphasize the passage of time.

My favorite Advent Calendar doesn’t hold gifts.  It doesn’t hold candy.  It doesn’t hold anything but memories that you and your family will make together.  Read all about it in my next post. 

October 20th—66 days until Christmas—Rag Wreath

Oh, my!  Oh, my!  We’ve moving closer—just over two months before the big day.  I hope you’re busy planning for the holidays so you can relax in December.

We’re super busy up here at the North Pole.  They elves are hammering and stitching and choosing just the right books and toys for your children.  Being married to Mr. Saint Nick all these years has made me crazy for Christmas.  It’s also made me crazy for making decorations each year.  And guess what?  I have a closet full of leftover unused fabric, silently demanding, “Don’t forget about me!”

So I this year I vowed not to.  I made these two rag wreaths from fabric scraps.  This one is big enough to hang on my door.

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 The other one will look beautiful on our tree–Yes, we do have a tree each year–or on a window handle.

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Easy directions are here.

And because I still had oodles of fabric left, I decided to make something else–here’s a hint.  It’s perfect for my husband or for a baby too.  Find out what it is, next post.

October 13th—73 days until Christmas—Another Poem

This came to me on a frigid North Pole Day.  It’s titled WREATH

A green wheel

rolls through December

to park on my door.

Its needles, its holly,

its bright red bow

announce, Christmas lives inside.

No wreath will be rolling to your door any time soon, but you can get to work making these small button wreaths decorations now.

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Directions are here.

Next post I’ll have another wreath you can make.  It’s with yarn, but no knitting, no crocheting involved.  Hope to see you then.

October 9th—77 days until Christmas—Are you dragging your feet?

Can’t bring yourself to even think about Christmas?  Even though we’ve said goodbye to 80 days and are now down to the 70’s.  Believe me they’ll zip by quickly, so in case you need a nudge here are ten reasons to prepare for Christmas now. Then in December . . .

  1. You won’t have to drive round and round the mall’s parking structure looking for a place to park.
  2. You won’t have to stand in long lines waiting to pay for your purchases.
  3. You will have time to read each card you receive.
  4. You can spend time doing fun things with your family—building a snowman or making a puzzle.
  5. You can sit and admire your tree’s decorations and remember the times when you bought or made them.
  6. You won’t be wakened in the middle of the night thinking of the present you forgot to buy Uncle George.
  7. If carolers come to sing, you can thank them with cookies you have tucked in your freezer.
  8. Snow will be something to enjoy because you don’t have to go out in it unless you want to.
  9. You can give yourself an early gift—a massage perhaps?
  10. You’ll be relaxed and ready for anything that comes your way.

And if you’re relaxed, I’ll be relaxed, because I’ll have less of a mess to clean up at your house on Christmas day.

So what are you waiting for?

Get busy now so you and I can truly enjoy a stress-free, love-filled holiday.