Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Calendar House

Last year, I feel in love with the way Amy of Inspire Co. transformed a 3D Advent House.  Then, as luck would have it, I stumbled onto my own Advent House at the after Christmas sales last year.  It was boring and ugly (who wants a brown Christmas decoration?) and missing knobs and the numbers were incorrect, so I got it for it steal.  Since I already had vision's of Amy's house dancing in my house, I was probably the only shopper who saw the potential of this lonely house.

Of course, I had every intention to fix it up over the summer.  But, before I knew it, it was November 30th and the house looked exactly the way it did when I bought it.  I wiped-out a whole day redoing it and I have to say the paint job is a bit messy as a result of my rushing.  I'm telling myself it gives the house "character".  Of course, I'm also telling myself that I'll fix it over the summer, but I think we all know that's never going to happen.

I've been stuffing the little house with slips of paper that have different holiday activities.  Every morning, my daughter runs downstairs and pulls out a slip.  It's been a great way to make sure that all the holiday traditions are being done.  Some days are easy, some are harder.  I've only been filling the slots a week at a time.  That way, I can review our calendar and to do lists and put the easy stuff, like "Watch a Classic Holiday TV Show" on the days when I know I'm going to be too busy to do a large project like "Make a Gingerbread House".  (Is there ever a time during the holidays when you have time to do that?!)  I also have a master list in my desk of which activities I put in each day.  That way, if something comes up, I can switch them around without wondering where I put that blasted Gingerbread House activity.

Here's what we have done so far:

December 1st:  We went shopping for toys to donate to a toy drive at my daughter's school.  When we pay my daughter her allowance, she divides it into 3 piggy banks:

1.  A Savings Piggy
2.  A Spending Piggy
3.  A Helping Piggy

When donation opportunities come up, she goes into the helping piggy and uses that money to buy toys for toy drives or food for food drives, etc. It was so cute on December 1st when she carefully chose toys for less fortunate children and then paid for it all by herself.  As she was checking-out, she explained to the cashier that she was helping Santa.  She thinks that he comes by on his sled and picks up the donation boxes and distributes them.  I thought the store clerk was going to cry she was so touched.

December 2: Buy a new Christmas Book and read it.  Smarty that I am, I picked up one that has a CD with it, so even when I can't read to her, she can listen to it being read on her CD player.  This is the one we got this year: The Night Before Christmas.  (I have to say the illustrations in this version are out of this world!) I love the idea of building an entire library of holiday books that can be unpacked and read every year.

December 3: Listen to holiday music.  I took advantage of this activity and was able to get our holiday music organized.  I didn't have all our holiday CDs copied to the iPod yet, so while we listened, I got that task done.

December 4: Watch a classic holiday television show.  I was at a boutique and wanted to give my husband a break.  He popped in Rudolf and got an hour to himself.

December 5: Visit Santa.  Like I said before this whole Advent Activity thing is for making sure you get all your traditions squeezed into the short holiday season.

I'll finish catching you up on the next blog post and will try to be good about sharing our Advent Adventures with you from now on.  Please feel free to join in the fun.  If you want a copy of my Advent Activity ideas, click here.  It's really not too late.  Start counting down the last 15 days to Christmas or the last 10.  The only people who have "rules" about when to start this stuff is us adults.  The kids could care less.  They just know they are having fun.