New Christmas tradition: all present buying done before December 1st so we can spend the final month of the year BEING instead of BUYING. Being organised paid off this year, setting ourselves up to spend December getting cosy and settling in and avoiding that panicky consumer-y vibe that oozes from shopping centres. Besides, I end up hating people when I’m battling December shopping crowds which is sort of anti-Christmas, right? Best to keep the love feelings going and avoid most people altogether.
(Joking. I love people. But get out of my way. Seriously. Out.)
So may we take a minute’s silence for online shopping, the Holy Grail of crowd-fearing, fluorescent-light-despising folks everywhere. We dropped the kids for a morning at their grandparents and took a mini trip to the real shops for a few extra things last week, but apart from that, online all the way. Besides, I love the thrill of seeing parcels sticking out of our mail box and hearing the knock of the postman at our front door.
Popping in today with our 2015 Advent Calendar – one of my favourite things about Christmastime, stacked full of our favourite family Christmas things to do, and now all our shopping is out of the way, we can relax and settle into Family – my most favourite thing of all.
Our 2016 Advent*
* If advents stress you out, having to do certain things on certain days, just keep a little list of what’s on each day and stash it to the side, so if you don’t feel like doing it that day, swap it out for something else before the kids opening it up that day. OR have a stash of chocolate and shove that in instead.
December 1st: Decorate the tree.
This is an Always tradition – the official season flag raiser which tells us Game On. When the Christmas tree is adorned, Christmas has officially begun. Play Nat King Cole while you decorate. Frank Sinatra. Feel all the feels.
December 2nd: Ornament treasure hunt.
Scene 1, Lounge room, Joel and I are sipping coffee. Joel: Maybe we can make a treasure hunt for the kids to find their ornament this year. Me: Gasping, hyperventilating, fainting with joy and shock. Honestly you guys, Joel’s form this Christmas is shocking me. I think the millions of dollars we’ve spent on relationship counselling this year is really starting to pay off.
December 3rd: Put up the outside lights.
Another favourite night – when we flick that switch to on and stand out the front watching the kids’ eyes light up. Magical.
December 4th: Swap out ordinary books with Christmas books and have a Christmas story night with hot chocolate.
December 5th: Make paper snowflakes
Worth the blisters every year.
December 6th: Write letter to Santa.
Ella’s already asking when we can write a letter to Santa. “And the reindeer, Mummy. We should write to them, too.”
December 7th: Chocolate.
When I asked Ella what she wished Santa would bring her this year she said chocolate. She added that she’d also like a doll, but “I really, really want chocolate, Mum”. So we’re stuffing a few little chocolate treats into our heavily deprived kids’ advent and preparing for the excitement in little eyes when they find it.
December 8th: Find Your Christmas Stickers.
If there is one thing my kids love, it’s stickers. CLUE: They are hidden somewhere cold like the north pole. (Not to be mistaken for that movie about that man who killed his wife and hid her in the freezer. I thought I was renting a rom-com but, um, no. It was not a rom com.)
December 9th: Wrapping presents party.
I love wrapping presents and Ella loves being on sticky tape duty. Play Bing. Snack on cherries. So festive.
December 10th: Christmas craft — Winter terrarium.
I have little fawn on their way to our place and pretend snow and we’re going to make the cutest table centrepiece you ever did see.
December 11th: Christmas movie night.
The Family Stone, Love Actually, You’ve Got Mail, Elf — Grab your favourite Christmas movies, pop on some candles, burn sweet orange essential oil, make some popcorn and settle in. Cosy, cosy, love, love. “Bye bye Buddy, hope you find yer dad.” “Thanks Mr Narwhal.”
December 12th: Give to Others.
Each Christmas, our local library runs a food drop for people affected by emergencies like floods, fires and devastation. We also happen to have our library fines scrapped with the donation of a food box so you know, win/win.
December 13th: Portable North Pole video.
Another annual favourite.
December 14th: Santaland and the Myer display windows.
One of my favourite family days, we look forward to this weeks in advance. Ella rides the Santa express train a million gazillion times and this year Billy will be big enough to ride it too. Me? I’m always excited to see the Myer display windows.
December 15th: Chocolate.
December 16th: Send out Christmas cards.
Pop on a favourite movie, sip some spicy, Christmassy drink (port for the parents) and make a night of sending out your Christmas cards to those you love.
December 17th: Annual photo with Santa.
This never really goes down well, the whole Santa-in-the-flesh experience but oh how I love seeing the changing faces of my kids each year. Joel puts these Santa photos up at his desk at work, adding to his wall each year. They’re special.
December 18th: Christmas lights at our local church.
There is a church near us that puts on an amazing light display each year and we look forward to going every year. When Ella got out of hospital just before Christmas eve last year, this was the first thing we headed to because I wanted to catch up on all the Christmas things we’d missed and I knew the Christmas spirit would be strong here.
December 19th: Chocolate.
December 20th: Make gingerbread cookies.
We missed this last year because our little girl was so sick, but the year before we loved it. We packaged them up and delivered them to our neighbourhood and it was just a happy little day.
December 21st: Visit neighbourhood street light displays.
We have favourite streets we like to visit to see the neighbourhood light displays, and even though we’ll be out walking most nights in December to see them, we’ll make the drive to a special one on this day. An entire street in a suburb about half an hour away goes all out with their displays and we park at one end of the street and spend an hour or so wandering through checking everything out and oohing and ahhhing with all the magic. It’s amazing.
December 22nd: Chocolate.
December 23rd: Carols by candlelight at home.
We thought about battling the crowds and heading out to the carols by candlelight our city puts on – and we still might – but nothing beats the cosiness of home. Watch it live from home instead, or if you don’t have a television (us!), play live carols by candlelight from years past on YouTube and sing along.
December 24th: Christmas Eve! Prepare for Santa and his reindeer!
Making reindeer food and reindeer runways and leaving out milk and cookies for Santa. Then heading over to Oma and Poppy’s house for a big Christmas dinner. So much childhood magic. My most favourite night of the year.
Happy December countdown, friends.