Christmas is without a doubt my favorite holiday! As a result, I like to celebrate all month long, especially now that we have Noah. I love creating traditions for him that he will hopefully love and remember for years to come. It may seem like overkill, but we do a few different kinds of "countdowns". These "countdowns" don't just happen, they require some planning and preparation. In order to be ready to start right on December 1st, I need to get everything ready in November. Good news is, if you like any of these ideas, you still have time!
We started most of these traditions in 2013 for Noah's "second" Christmas, when he was 13 months old. That Christmas, we started 25 Days of Books, where I wrapped 25 Christmas books for Noah to open and read each night. We loved it so much that we did it again last year and will do it again this year. This year however, I updated a few of the books with some more age appropriate books (new books are marked with an asterisk). The first two years involved lots of picture and board books. This year I made sure to get some longer story books that I think Noah will really love! Since books aren't cheap, I would suggest collecting the books slowly. Maybe the first year, just have enough books for you to do this on the weekends. Then you can ask for books as gifts and watch to see if they go on sale. Most of these books are the kind that your children will love to read year after year. I also don't see a problem with wrapping a library book... it gives the child the same excitement of opening and reading a new book without the added cost of buying it.
Curious George Curious About Christmas | The Gingerbread Man * | The Night Before Christmas (similar)
In addition to reading a Christmas book each night, we also have an Advent Calendar that I fill with small goodies for Noah to enjoy each day. I got ours from Pottery Barn Kids and absolutely love it! I love the way it looks hanging in our dining room and I also like that the pockets are small, which keeps me from going overboard each day (some might argue I'm already going overboard!). Here are some ideas of what you could fill the pockets with...
Candy (might as well use up that extra Halloween candy somehow!)
Bracelets (for the girls)
Hair bows (for the girls)
Mini candy canes
Post its (Noah loves drawing on them and sticking them to things)
Ornament (we like to Noah a new one each year... this year it's a Paw Patrol Marshall)
If you have any other ideas I can add to my list, I'd love to hear suggestions :)
And finally, I also make an Activity Advent of sorts for us to do as a family. In case you are interested, here are my past December Bucket Lists (2014 and 2013). This year, I went through the calendar, added our "events", added some crafts I'd like to do with Noah, and filled the rest with some random Christmas activities. They range from super simple to more expensive and requiring purchasing ahead of time.
1 - Decorate our house - I'm going to let Noah decorate his own tree and have fun with window clings
2 - Make a candy cane ornament
3 - Make and send Christmas cards to our troops
4 - Make a gingerbread house (with our MOMS club)
5 - Go on the Santa train
6 - Christmas photo shoot
7 - Buy gifts for children/families in need
8 - Make a Christmas wreath craft
9 - Host Christmas party with kid friends
10 - Watch a Christmas movie (haven't decided which one)
11 - Act out the Nativity with the cousins
12 - Exchange gifts and prepare for Christmas with cousins
13 - Listen to Christmas music
14 - Decorate gift wrap/make gifts for grandparents
15 - Wrap gifts
16 - Make a Christmas tree craft
17 - Make gifts for teachers
18 - Go to NYC for the Radio City Christmas Show and to visit Santa at Macy's
19 - Santa visits on fire truck
20 - Look at Christmas lights
21 - Make an elf craft
22 - Watch Elmo's Christmas Countdown movie
23 - Bake and decorate cookies
24 - Sing Christmas songs
25 - Merry Christmas!
Do you have any fun traditions that you do with your family to help get into the Christmas spirit?