Last year for Advent Brady pulled a little treat attached to a ribbon out of her stocking each day leading up to Christmas. This was a tradition started in my family and boy do I love it. But, this year I really wanted to focus on activities rather than fun doo-dads and yummy candy. I have seen many a fun, cute, holidayrific advent calendar out there on the worldwide web. None seemed to fit my needs (use materials I already own, be changeable or add activities one at a time, fit in our space, be 3 yr old friendly) quite right, so On November 30th I stayed up half the night creating one. (That's classic me, in case you didn't know.) Good news is it was pretty simple.
First, I painted a tree on a foam core board. You could easily cut one out of scrapbook or construction paper if painting isn't your thing. Then I punched 24 circles out of various scrapbook papers that I had lying around, although I've never done any scrapbooking. I then placed the circles which are serving as ornaments around the tree until I came up with a layout I liked. Then I wrote, painted, or stickered the numbers 1-24 on the ornament circles in all sorts of ways. I used what I had within reach (paint, brushes, some # stickers, and an ebony pencil). I thought about getting up to get a sharpie, but at 1 am that just sounded like too much work. The last step was to hot glue tiny clothespins onto the tree to hold the ornaments and then, of course place the ornaments onto the clothespins. If I were to do this again I would either use larger clothespins or another means of attachment, those tiny ones are hard to open if the board isn't flat; ours is propped up or frame it somehow so that it was flat and a little fancier. Next year I'll probably stick with the same idea, but might change the whole shebang- who knows?!
Each night I write our activity on the back of the ornament. Every morning Brady pushes the clothespin top to open it and hands me the ornament to read the activity to her. Our "activities" are sometimes somewhat elaborate, other times it is something that is already on our agenda like decorating our Christmas trees, and sometimes they'll be downright simple such as watching a Christmas movie. It really doesn't real have to be that big of a deal, it just makes the "activities" that much more fun and festive and it takes the focus off of material things a little (maybe). Each week or so I'll post our activities.