Thursday, November 15, 2012

Advent Activity Jar

Do you use a traditional Advent Calendar at the holidays (or any fun modern variation)? I know a lot of families that do especially when young children are involved and I understand why because I loved mine when I was little. Every year my grandparents got each of us one of those cardboard boxes with the little doors that hid a piece of chocolate. You know what I'm talking about, right? As much as I looked forward to getting something each day; now that I'm grown, I like the idea of DOING something each day just a little a whole lot more.

That was my inspiration behind the fifth tutorial of the 25 Projects of Christmas: an Advent Activity Jar. 

If you're looking for an easy way to create memories with your family, this is sure to please.  You only need a few things: materials, a list of stuff you want to do, and 15 minutes. Yep, that's it. Easy peasy!
Colored popsicle sticks
Permanent markers

2. One by one, write each item onto a popsicle stick (you could also print out the PDF and just cut each strip out individually)
3. Put all of the sticks in a jar and each day, someone gets to pick out the special activity
4. Let the memory making begin!

We don't have kids, but I know that when we do, an Advent calendar will definitely be part of our Christmas tradition but I think we'll be doing something like this instead. I hope you'll implement something similar because this really is the time to appreciate all of the little miracles in life, not just the items on your wish list. 

SOME IDEAS IF YOU NEED THEM -- You can also download a PDF copy here
·         Write letters to Santa
·         Build a snowman
·         Decorate a gingerbread house
·         Bake cookies from an old family recipe
·         Buy a gift for a needy child
·         Make pinecone bird feeders for the birds / deer
·         Make an ornament
·         Read ‘Twas the night before Christmas
·         Spend a day watching everyone’s favorite Christmas movies
·         Donate gloves/hats/boots to a shelter
·         Share your favorite Christmas memories
·         Belt out your favorite Christmas songs together
·         Make a present for someone special
·         Make Christmas cards for the elderly
·         Write your own Christmas story
·         Draw a picture of an elf
·         Say a prayer for others
·         Have a Christmas song dance party
·         Family slumber party next to the Christmas tree
·         Make/decorate wrapping paper
·         Pick out pajamas for the family to wear on Christmas eve
·         Take funny Christmas pictures
·         Decorate gingerbread people for each person in your family
·         Leave tiny gifts at the neighbors’ doors (candy, cookies, bottle of wine, etc)
·         Make coquito/egg nog together
·         Go to see a Christmas pageant / play / musical
·         Decorate note cards to use as thank you cards after Christmas
·         Volunteer at a soup kitchen
·         Drive around the neighborhood to enjoy the lights
·         Go sledding / tubing / skiing
·         Donate blankets, toys and pet food to a local animal shelter
·         Make homemade hot chocolate
·         Collect and donate food to the local food bank
·         Make popcorn garland
·         Roast marshmallows in the fireplace
·         Buy the person behind you in line their coffee, lunch, etc.
·         Visit the town Christmas tree
·         Cut out tons of snowflakes and hang them on the windows
·         Skype with friends/family far away
·         Random act of kindness

The Mr. and I are really looking forward to a having "simple" Christmas this year. It's the 5th we've celebrated together and rather than go crazy with presents like we have in the past, we've decided to make it about the experience. Instead, we'll be doing things from the list above and spend time making memories together. One of our more recent favorites has been seeing the Nutcracker in the city on Christmas Eve and going to a fancy dinner afterwards. (This year, we'll try our best not to get locked in the parking garage again...) 

If you liked this project, I'd be delighted if you'd consider following Spool and Spoon via email or through Google Friend Connect; there are plenty of other simple tutorials and mouth-watering recipes for you to discover! Also, did you know Spool and Spoon has a Facebook? Hop on over so you don't miss any of the fun. 

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  1. Ha ha, dare I say that I'm not surprised that "Have a christmas song dance party" is on the list? Love the idea, used to do something similar with non-christmas ideas for activities! =)

  2. Jess, This is such a wonderful idea! I love that some of your ideas are fun traditional Christmas things to do and some are giving of one kind or another and some develop family togetherness! Someday you are going to be the best MOM!!!! I'm now an empty nester and I'm thinking of doing this for me and my hubby! What fun! Does "give your wife a foot rub" count as an activity?

    1. Yvonne, you are too kind! I can't wait to have kids (hopefully the years of nannying and teaching, before Corporate America consumed my life, will pay off). I made an abridged version for the Mr. and I (i.e. no drawing of elves haha) and I will just have to slip in another stick with a foot rub. He'll never know the difference ;)

      I can't wait to see what you have coming up this week over at the Stone Gable!!


  3. This is such a great idea. I love that it is activities instead of candies. I had the cardboard with chocolate candy advent calendars when I was a kiddo too :)

  4. what a fun and much more rewarding advent calendar than those in the past. For sure! Great idea. thanks for sharing. Here via the blog hop - happy crafting

    one crafty mess


Feel free to share your thoughts or questions. You make my day!

xo Jess

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