Ryan and I discovered an advent calendar last year as we were sorting through Fely's belongings. It was definitely am item that we both wanted to keep and incorporate into our family traditions. Radley has loved moving the little partridge every morning as we count down the days.
As over achieving as some believe me to be - I actually can not "do it all" so we are pretty minimal when it comes to the Elf on the Shelf and daily activities. BUT... we did want to do some stuff with the kids throughout the season that made our nights special. And since it's primarily me and my 3 bundles of joy - I was pretty strategic when it came to picking activities.
(Read: I chose most things that we already do!)
Our activities started on December 13 - 12 days before Christmas (which I know the actual "days of Christmas" start on the 25 - but this is a countdown). Alfie our Elf was hanging from our calendar with a note to the kids that let them know he had discussed some things with us and told us about what they would enjoy doing and he left them notes on each of the remaining days.
Side note - Radley thought that it was the coolest thing in the world that we got to talk to Alfie! Our entire morning ride to school was questions regarding this conversation.
Only 12 days until Christmas – Write letters to Santa and bake cookies to celebrate!!!
Dear Santa -
I have been a sweet girl all year. Please bring me a doll and some tasty treats. Love - Landry
(Rad and Emmy picked what Landry was asking for this year)
Dear Santa -
I have been a sweet girl and big sister. Please bring me a bow and pink dress. I love you. Emmy
( I "dotted" her name and she did a really good job of tracing it!)
Dear Santa -
I have been a sweet boy and big brother. Please bring me a star wars trashcan and movie.
I love you. Radley
Sadly we did not get to bake cookies because I got hit by a migraine and was just trying to survive.
Only 11 days until Christmas – Be Santa’s elves and bring dinner to the UPS drivers and Daddy
And so did the drivers. Gigi was the actual saint that made gravy for 65 - and we still had some left over! She is the best mom, MIL, and Gigi EVER. Ryan boiled the spaghetti in a crab boil pot and purchased 10 dozen bread sticks from Olive Garden. We had a slight issue of getting all that pasta made, but it turned out great!
The gratitude from the employees was so sincere and it was a nice way to spend time with Ryan when we don't get to see him often.
Radley loves going to work with Ryan - the sights and sounds are just so fascinating to him.
I was surprised how much she loved it, too! We had to keep her away from the "big tucks" though.
(Landry stayed in with Gigi and Pops).
Only 10 days until Christmas – Have a movie night and watch Polar Express and drink hot chocolate
(No pics. Fun times were had by all.)
Only 9 days until Christmas – Light candles at church for 5 people that need prayers
(Radley picked the following people to pray for: Lola, Gigi's Dog (Hooter died last year) and Uncle, Caroline's Papa Troy, Bok, and friends at school.)
Only 8 days until Christmas – Assemble gifts for friends and teachers at school
I try to stick with "edible" gifts for friends at school. My thought process is that other parents probably need toys and random stuff about as much as we do. Food can be eaten and is also biodegradable if thrown out.
I found these adorable powdered donut snowmen on pinterest (duh) and the kids had so much fun assembling them!
It was actually harder than it looks.
1. Don't buy generic powdered donuts (ehm, Ryan). They don't hold up as well.
2. Freeze the mini chocolate chips before assembling. They are so small that they melt much too quickly and end up sticking to your hand.
3. Buy an extra bag (or 3) of donuts - for casualties and snacking.
Ok. That was obnoxiously long.
Hope your season is as full of fun as ours has been!