our advent calendar

One of the things I love most about this time of the year is traditions!  It’s the stuff memories are made of!  I know everyone does it a little differently (which is awesome!) but I remember some of the things we did growing up.  For Christmas, our family tradition was to all stay up together on Christmas Eve, singing Christmas carols and eating (something included in every Filipino tradition!), and enjoying each others’ company.  Once the clock struck midnight, we would open all our presents!  It was Christmas!!  Once the presents were all opened and hugs and thank you’s were exchanged, we’d all crawl into our beds and sleep well into the morning.  The next day we’d enjoy a big family brunch together and stay in our pajamas all day.  It was the best!

I want my kiddos to remember happy Christmases together too.  I know when they grow up, they’ll probably start some sweet traditions with their own families, but for now, I love that we’re enjoying these ones together!

A couple of years ago, we made an advent calendar.  Nothing too elaborate, just an envelope each day with an index card inside.  Each card has something for us to do together to celebrate the season.

Branden made me this frame when we first moved into this house.  It is backed with chicken wire and perfect for hanging things up with clothespins 🙂

There was a tutorial I had found online to make these envelopes out of scrapbook paper, but I looked for it last night and couldn’t find it :/  Maybe I’ll recreate it for you someday 🙂  For now, you can find a lot of great tutorials for making your own envelopes online (thank you Pinterest!), or just go pick up some cute ones from the store that are already made!  #easypeasy

I used some stamps to number the envelopes 1-25, wrote out a card for each day, placed them into the envelopes, and hung up them up in order with some clothespins.  Each morning we took down an envelope and enjoyed the activity together!

Here’s what’s on our calendar:

  1. decorate the tree
  2. watch the movie “elf” (my favorite 🙂
  3. buy family presents (just for the four of us)
  4. wrap family presents
  5. make christmas cookies
  6. put up the nativity set
  7. hang stockings
  8. make a gift for daddy
  9. watch the veggie tales movie “saint nicholas”
  10. read “god gave us christmas”
  11. make homemade ice cream
  12. read “a charlie brown christmas”
  13. hang mistletoe
  14. learn about and eat candy canes
  15. drive around and see christmas lights
  16. make a gingerbread house
  17. drink caramel apple cider
  18. make paper snowflakes
  19. make another present
  20. make christmas pancakes
  21. watch a christmas movie
  22. drink hot cocoa
  23. go sledding
  24. read the christmas story
  25. celebrate jesus’ birthday!!
We’ve done our calendar for two years now, and our boys ask about it all though out the year!  If you’d like to do your own, feel free to use any or all of the activities on our list or substitute with your own special traditions!  Either way, have fun celebrating Jesus and the season together!
Oh, and here is a picture I took of our boys a couple years ago while Branden was stringing lights on the tree.  It’s still one of my favorites!

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November 28, 2013