Our super simple activity advent calendar – with free templatePosted: 30/11/2013
With Christmas just round the corner, my thoughts have been increasingly festive. I’m plotting all sorts of lovely activities, both for us to do as a family and for ToddlerGirl and I to do at home. Last year, I came across activity advent calendars for the first time and the idea really appealed to me. I love the fact that the activities can focus less on the commercial and more on enjoying the simple pleasures of the season, such as going carol singing, taking a tour of the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights or dancing to cheesy Christmas songs! And also that they can incorporate charitable or spiritual aspects, to help remind us amidst all the festivities to think of others and the true meaning of the season.
I’m still sold on the idea but, despite all the pins I’ve found with wonderful and creative homemade calendars, I’m a bit more realistic this year about how much time and effort I can put in to doing our own calendar. And, after an illness-ridden December last year, I’m also much more accepting from the start that we may not do everything on our list!
With that in mind, I decided to keep the making of our activity advent calendar super simple. I’ve dusted down my trusty Christmas tree calendar with pockets – which I love and which ToddlerGirl has already taken to! – and am going to use this with some printed card inserts.
Last year, I didn’t do anything with the inserts but this year I thought I did at least have the time to design a simple template for these. I’ve bought a sparkly gold pen and will be spending some time tomorrow cutting my cards and writing our activities onto them. Then I’ll pop one into each of the pockets on my Christmas tree calendar, along with a little chocolately treat.
If you would like to make your own super simple activity advent calendar, you can download and print my activity advent cards here (they would also make useful gift tags!).
Of course, you may not have your own lovely Christmas tree calendar with pockets to use so here are a couple of easy peasy ideas for storing/displaying your activity cards:
- Use an empty glass jar and pile the cards inside to pull one out randomly each day. Add a festive touch with a ribbon or some tinsel around the neck or decorate with stickers and/or sequin shapes.
- String up some curling ribbon to make a sort of advent washing line for your cards. These little pegs are really cute and would be perfect for hanging your cards on the line.
- Chop up a sheet of magnet paper and glue the pieces onto the back of your cards. You can then stick the cards onto a fridge door – or how about using this idea for creating a magnet/chalk board out of a baking tray? (And you can keep the tray afterwards for magnet play for your little ones.)
There are also some great ideas around the web for easy to do homemade advent calendars. My favourites include:
- Festive paper cups from Red Ted Art – pop your activity cards and/or treats inside and cover with some tissue paper!
- A painted Christmas tree with bauble decorations that double up as the activity cards from The Artful Parent. I love this as your little one can help you make it.
- This gorgeous, colourful activity advent calendar in a jar from PoppyTalk.
- A lovely idea to wrap up a book for each day of advent and arrange in the shape of a Christmas tree, from My Little Bookcase. You could add your activity card as a ‘gift tag’ to the book…
- Finally, this one doesn’t have space for an activity list but it’s just so cute I had to include it! Decorate Santa’s beard each day with this free printable from Inviting Printables.
So, what’s on our activity list? Well, some of our activities are all about enjoying small pleasures:
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Make salt dough decorations with ToddlerGirl (to double up as gifts for the grandparents!)
- Visit Father Christmas in his grotto
- Read a Christmas story book (or ten)
- Go for a family meal in town and see the Christmas lights
- Go to a carol service
- Snuggle up and watch a Christmassy film
- Turn off the television and play games with the family
- Sing and dance to cheesy Christmas songs
A few are especially for The Husband and me:
- Eat mince pies, drink mulled wine
- See friends for Christmas celebrations
- Have a festive date ice skating at an outdoor rink
Others focus on helping others:
- Donate a present to a local children’s charity
- Make a Christmas charity donation
This one is probably wishful thinking:
- Play in the snow
Others include going late night Christmas shopping (one of my own personal traditions, which I actually love to do despite usually hating shopping!), seeing as many friends as possible for festive celebrations and taking ToddlerGirl to a Christmas show of some kind. There’s nothing spectacular about our list – it’s just full of lovely, cosy activities to make us smile. Much like my summer of fun bucket list, it’s more of a reminder of all the things I’d love us to cram into the next month if at all possible!
Do you do an activity calendar for Christmas? What’s on your list?