Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our 2015 Advent Plan

Plans for each day of the season...always subject to change, interruption, rearranging...and life! I'm a bit later posting this than I wanted to, since we have already begun.

November 29th ~ Today is the first Sunday in Advent! We will have cranberry-orange pancakes for breakfast and start decorating for Christmas indoors and out. At dinner we will light the first Advent candle. Our Advent candle set-up is a simple wooden tray with craft store holly sprigs and four candles. The colors vary each year, but usually the first three candles are white or green and the fourth is red. We light the first candle on the first Sunday of Advent, then relight that candle at each dinnertime that week. The following Sunday the second candle gets lit, and so on until all four are lit.  This is one of my most favorite, simple, peaceful activities during the season.

November 30th ~ Make Christmas Jam and get out all of our holiday books, movies, and music.

December 1st ~ Time to start the Advent calendars! This was one of my favorite Christmas activities as a child, and my kids love it too. Today we will also bake our first batch of Christmas cookies (macaroons) and begin a Christmas read-aloud.

December 2nd ~ Make some cute snowmen and decide on gifts the kids can make for family. We may also watch a Christmas movie in the afternoon.

December 3rd ~  Paint ornaments for the tree (the kids picked out some wooden ones at the craft store).

December 4th ~ Make some more cookies, then go on a special holiday outing.

December 5th ~ Get our Christmas tree at the farm. Bring candy canes for the ride home. Tonight is also the night to put out a pair of shoes for St. Nicholas Day. We have been doing this for a few years, ever since one of the kids picked Germany for a Christmas-around-the-world study.

December 6th ~ St. Nicholas Day! The  kids generally find their shoes filled with candy canes, chocolate coins, a chocolate Santa, lip balm, and a small gift. Today we will have eggnog pancakes for breakfast, decorate the tree, and light the second Advent candle.

December 7th ~ Make jam thumbprint cookies and possibly drive out to see a Christmas lights display in a nearby city.

December 8th ~ Shop for Christmas gifts for the pets.

December 9th ~ Make a fun garland out of red and white baker's twine and marshmallows. I saw this in a magazine and thought the kids would get a kick out of it.

December 10th ~ Make paper plate crafts (Rose's request).

December 11th- 13th ~ A bit of a break from Christmas as we prepare for and celebrate Grace's birthday. On the 13th, we light the 3rd Advent candle.

December 14th ~ Make fudge and order calendars for the new year. I used to pick out a calendar for each child and surprise them with it on New Year's Day, but now they prefer to pick out their own. I still wrap them, though.

December 15th ~ Do up the Christmas cards and mail them out.

December 16th ~  Peppermint Day! Today we will make peppermint bark, peppermint kiss cookies, homemade marshmallows, and peppermint hot chocolate (hot chocolate with a candy cane stirrer). We will also watch a Christmas movie in the afternoon.

December 17th ~ Make pomanders and work on gifts and wrapping.

December 18th ~ Make fruitcake (we love King Arthur's fruitcake mix) and ribbon trees.

December 19th ~ Make gingerbread houses and put a small gift out for our mail carrier.

December 20th ~ Make Christmas-shaped pancakes with cookie-cutters. Later, make biscotti and have it with hot chocolate. Dinner tonight will be latkes and we will light the 4th Advent candle.

December 21st ~ Try to finish most of the wrapping today!

December 22nd ~ It's the winter solstice. Make treats for the birds and hang them outdoors.

December 23rd ~ Make cutout sugar cookies and have a movie afternoon. Take a drive to look at Christmas lights.

December 24th ~ It's Christmas Eve, which means eggnog French toast for breakfast and Chinese take-out for dinner. I also put out Christmas crackers at dinner and everyone gets new pajamas before bed. We try to prep a festive breakfast for Christmas morning (usually cinnamon rolls). Naturally we also put out cookies and milk and read Twas the Night Before Christmas. And it's tradition after the kids are in bed to watch A Christmas Story while we wrap.

December 25th ~ Merry Christmas!

December 26th~ Boxing Day...I take Mrs. Sharp's suggestion to hide a small box of gifts for each child the day after Christmas. It makes that day still feel special. This year I am using inexpensive tins from the craft store and filling them with a packet of fancy cocoa, a Peeps marshmallow tree to float in it, and one very small gift each. Then we hide them and make the kids find them:). Other than that, today is a nice lazy day spent at home.

December 27th - 30th ~ We don't usually have much planned for these days and they are some of my favorite days of the whole year. We might see a movie or go out to lunch or take walks. The kids sometimes wear their pajamas all day. We will make gingerbread pancakes at some point and plan our New Year's Eve feast.

December 31st ~ New Year's Eve! I usually put out craft stuff for everyone to make a silly paper crown and the kids like to decorate fancy glasses to drink sparkling cider from. We have a balloon pop countdown starting at noon....we blow up 12 balloons and the kids take turns popping one each hour. We watch a movie or two, play a lot of games, and watch the ball drop at midnight.

Now as I said, I fully expect this plan to not go according to plan! But having a list like this to refer to makes it much more likely that I will do fun things with the kids. I can also easily look ahead to see what we might need to get at the craft or grocery store. We have been doing our Christmas activities first thing, then using the time that is left for our normal school stuff . No one necessarily feels like doing math after making cookies, and we are certainly not "getting it all done", but we do what we can. It's December!

Till next time!

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