My family is Catholic and we start our advent calendar on the day of the liturgical advent. That means a few extra days of fun for us! As a family we really enjoy going out and doing things. Beau is still too young to really understand or participate in a lot of activities so this year I wanted to make sure I choose things that were age appropriate for him.
I want to talk about Christmas traditions that steal your joy though. I created this knowing that I may very well have a few days that need to be changed or moved around. That is OK. If you are trying to cram things in, and it’s stealing your joy, drop it. It won’t be the end of the world. If this is too active for you, choose family activities in the home that can be as small as someone picking out their favorite Christmas song and singing along as a family. Christmas should be a joyful time full of anticipation. If this doesn’t bring you that, then don’t sweat it!
- Put up our Christmas Tree : We have plastic ornaments, faux flowers, and ribbons that we will be decorating our tree with until Beau is old enough not to break the ornaments that are keepsakes for us. We gathered most of our decorations for the tree from Walmart and Dollar Tree!
- Set out nativity and read nativity story : A beautiful story and the perfect time to set out that nativity set
- Watch a Christmas Show : We don’t really do screen time in our house so I feel really sure Beau could not sit through a movie. I do feel like a Christmas themed kids show on a week night might spark his interest
- Make a kid-friendly wreath and hang it : Get different color felt and velcro to make a kid friendly wreath
- Christmas socks : I have one pair of Christmas socks I bought at the Dollar Spot at Target
- Hang Mistletoe : Purchase faux mistletoe from Amazon or buy fresh locally and hang in your doorways. The fun begins when you lay in wait for you little ones to cross the thresholds for little Christmas kisses.
- Tamales! Festival at the Pearl : Tamales during Christmas time are quintessential in Texas. San Antonio has a special event just for this purpose! This is perfect for our little one who LOVES to eat.
- Take Christmas Pictures : This may seem late to some but with a young child my motto is better late than never. Even if you can’t use these for your Christmas cards, get dressed up and have fun with your camera on a timer!
- Hang Stockings : We will be hanging our stocking so that St. Nicholas can leave us goodies, on the feast of St. Nicholas
- Nativity Salt Dough Ornaments (and Feast of St. Nicholas) : I use this resource for my salt dough ornaments and Nativity cookie cutters from Amazon
- Christmas Book#1 : I have a friend who is a consultant for Usborne Books. I hosted a party a few months back and stocked up on some Christmas books. My first book given will be “That’s Not My Elf”
- Feast of Immaculate Conception : Attend Mass as a family
- Pancakes and Fire Trucks with Santa : This event is a little drive for us but it’s also home to a huge outlet mall so I am not complaining! I figure we can see Santa and Fire Trucks in the morning and get some shopping done in the afternoon!
- Christmas Pajama Party : We will be hosting a very low-key, pajama playdate at the house. Complete with milk and afternoon pancakes!
- Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe : To celebrate we will be cooking Mexican food that evening!
- Feast of St. Lucia : A fun way to celebrate the feast of St. Lucia is to go out after dinner and take a walk (or drive) and look at all the Christmas lights in your neighborhood or maybe a new neighborhood
- Make Salt Dough Ornament keepsakes : I will again use this resource to make some sweet keepsakes for su to keep and some for family members. Things like handprints or stars painted by the kiddos are great ideas
- Donate 5 toys : Pick 5 toys that are very gently used and that have been outgrown and take them to the nearest donation spot
- Christmas Book #3 : This time, I’ll choose one from a local small business bookstore
- Sea World’s Christmas Celebration : We have season passes to Sea World San Antonio and Beau loves to go see the animals. You can always replace this with a different amusement park, a tree lighting, and more.
- Santa’s Ranch : A local stop drive through park with Christmas light abound!
- Make Teacher Gifts : Handmade and personal gifts for daycare teachers and babysitters
- Christmas Book #4 : Again from Usborne Books, “My First Christmas Keyboard Book”, be warned that the pages are paper so young ones need supervision but they will have a blast pressing the keyboard buttons
- Listen and Dance to The Nutcracker Ballet music : As Christmas approaches, we know it will be a busy week so we are opting for in home fun. A dance party to The Nutcracker is not only fun but it’s exercise too.
- Take out the Christmas Hats and play dress up : I have built up an assortment of Christmas hats over the years. It will be the perfect time to take them out, put them on and make some silly faces while listening to Christmas music.
- Decorate Christmas Pre-Wrapped Presents : This year I plan to wrap my gifts in butcher type paper and unleash Beau with markers, stickers, and bows.
- Bake Christmas Cookies & Jammie Elf : Baking cookies for Santa is a must but I’m really excited to share the tradition (and the genius) of the Jammie Elf. The Jammie Elf was introduced to me through a sweet friend! When she told our small and close knit group of Moms about it, we all about lost our marbles. The Jammie Elf rings the doorbell (and then leaves before the kids can see him, because he’s so busy, you know) and leaves a box of family pajamas and either a book or movie. The box being delivered signals that Santa is on his way to your house right now. It’s time to get in your jammies, read your book or watch your movie and go to bed! It’s a great way to get the kids in bed early so that Santa can work his magic!
I hope you have a magical advent season! Tell me what your favorite Christmas traditions are below.