Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preparing For The Countdown

December starts next week, which means it's almost time to fill the countdown calendar with surprises. I have some things I keep in mind when making my list:
  • I include things we're going to do anyway, like cut down the tree and then decorate it.
  • I make sure to ask the kids to tell me their must-do activities for the holiday season; those go on the cards, too.
  • I like handwritten cards, so if I need to change something, it's not a hassle. For instance, if I see a local activity coming up that sounds perfect, I'll trade out cards for that day; or if the weather doesn't cooperate on tree-cutting day, we'll adjust.
  • I like a calendar that allows me to peek, because I'm liable to forget what's coming up.
I printed out some simple business-card-sized rectangles in Publisher, using a green or red star border. I printed eight per page, for 24, but it'll be easy enough to print some spares in case I need to change anything. I also have some chocolate and I'll make sure each child gets some. (We have three kids, and the calendar has three colors--easy enough to assign and keep track!)

Here are some of the items I'm including in our countdown calendar this year. Some are more involved than others, and some--such as reading Christmas stories and listening to music--we will likely be doing all month long. However, experience has shown that even the simplest activities are special and exciting when packaged in a special envelope and opened one by one.

Hot cocoa & marshmallows for after-school snack
Make presents
Go ice skating
Wrap presents
Make luminaria for solstice
Listen to Christmas music
Watch Christmas specials
Take a drive tonight to look at holiday lights
Celebrate solstice
Bake cookies
Make countdown rings
Write letters to Santa
Send out cards
Plan Christmas dinner
Buy gifts for donation
Read Christmas stories
Make ornaments for our tree (I like this time capsule idea!)

Are you planning a countdown calendar this year? Do you have any suggestions for activities?


Bells said...

this is a foreign idea to me but a good one. It's nice. I like the idea of thinking of all the things you can do to embrace the season. I might start thinking about it. Already I've noted in the calendar all the christmas social things we're doing - lunches and parties etc (not too many yet!) but there are other things to think of too, like making things for the christmas family celebration etc.

Thanks for the thinking!

Shell said...

I love the Norad Santa tracking.
We used to put it on for the boys when they were younger. I can't wait to show my little girl this year.