A Denver Home Companion | advent calendar

i don’t start decorating the house for christmas (except for hanging my mistletoe when it first arrives to me by post mail) until december 1. but i know there are many of you out there (including my hubby’s dear family) that kicks off christmas festivities the weekend after thanksgiving. 12/1 and the weekend after thanksgiving coincide this year so i had to get a jump on planning for our family advent activities. last year i posted the tutorial for our DIY advent calendar. using that same calendar, i’ve come up with some different activities, tweaked now that ramona is older and more enthusiastic about celebrating. here’s what we have planned for each night of advent.¬†

  1. decorate the house for christmas. not too hard since our home is teeny.
  2. make paper snowflakes while watching it’s a wonderful life (don’t forget the popcorn!)
  3. make a list of christmas wishes, including non-tangible things.
  4. read about the birth of Christ.
  5. call pops (ramona’s grandpa) to wish him a happy birthday!
  6. find the treats that old st. nick left in our shoes.
  7. declutter for christmas — what can we donate, regift, toss, upcycle?
  8. pick out the perfect christmas candle. watch a christmas story.
  9. let’s do some sledding (after praying for snow first!)
  10. make a christmas wreath for the front door
  11. make gingerbread homes with her buddy max.
  12. make saffron buns
  13. have a candlelit dinner in honor of sta. lucia day
  14. make christmas cards for ramona to send out to friends and family.
  15. take a morning winter hike. watch the remake of miracle on 34th street (jp’s in it!)
  16. head out to see zoo lights or go on a family drive to see neighborhood lights.
  17. dance party to christmas albums.
  18. definitely splurge on a sweet treat for breakfast
  19. spend the evening drinking hot cocoa and reading our christmas and winter books.
  20. make pepperkakor cookies and enjoy them with eggnog.
  21. let’s walk downtown and put money in strangers’ meters!
  22. hot cocoa, popcorn, and another christmas movie. let’s do elf this time!
  23. establish thoughtful new years resolutions. follow up with home alone.
  24. swedish dinner w friends, grasshopper pie, leave cookies & milk out for santa, and open one small gift.
  25. merry christmas! stockings, story of christ, strata, and presents.

what do you and your family do to make the lead up to christmas morning special and significant?

every december, when i was a child, my mother had a simple but beautiful advent calendar. i can’t remember it exactly but i do recall a wood one, where behind each intricate door were nice chocolates that my mother would have picked out. as exciting for her as for my brother and i. mama, please correct me here. either way, each day of december, our little family of four would open the number of the corresponding day and have a treat. simple as that.

jp’s family had a different activity every night for advent. his mother, he recalls, planned items and outings and foods for the whole family to partake in each day leading up to advent. he doesn’t remember the advent calendar.

i’d like a mix of both; simplicity and surprise.

with our little family, each holiday i feel this intense urge to create our own powerdriver traditions. ramona is still young and, essentially, oblivious. but soon she won’t be. and she’ll be excited about the little things our family does each year. so last year i made stockings and this year i made an advent calendar. bc i wanted to take the tradition of my mother’s thoughtful and beautifully made advent calendar and jp’s mother’s tradition of nightly activities based on what was opened each day of advent. ramona won’t care much for the advent calendar i made. at least not this year. and she won’t care much for the activities, except for the hot cocoa. at least not this year. but they’ll be there. the traditions. at least the start of them. and my humble attempts at making our little family our own.

this year i made a simple, modern advent calendar based on the tutorial from weekday carnival. jp helped me diagram the triangles on a piece of wood that we had initially planned to use for our bathroom vanity. i used gold nails, fancy black & white twine, and numbers¬†printed on heavy cardstock. (my strings weren’t all as taut as i would like so, if you try this for yourself, make sure you pull your strings tight and double twist at every nail).

here’s what i have planned for each day of december (written on the back of the respective day) to get in the christmas spirit:

  1. decorate house for christmas (it’s small so we only need an hour!
  2. watch “a christmas story”
  3. make paper snowflakes
  4. make popcorn and watch “a charlie brown christmas”
  5. buy new toothbrushes for the family!
  6. write a christmas wish list and include non-tangible things
  7. read the birth of Christ in the gospels
  8. spend special family time with the farm yard animals
  9. have a candlelit dinner
  10. hang mistletoe
  11. have a sweet treat for breakfast
  12. make pepperkakor cookies
  13. declutter for christmas (boxes of vintage stuff, mo’s toys. basement)
  14. make an egg nog cocktail. egg nog for the little ones.
  15. go on morning winter hike
  16. go for a drive to see christmas lights
  17. drink hot cocoa while watching yet another christmas movie
  18. enjoy hot cocoa for breakfast
  19. go thru and read winter and christmas books
  20. bake some more christmas treats
  21. put coins in strangers’ meters
  22. determine new years resolutions
  23. have a sweet treat for breakfast
  24. take a photo w santa

here are other posts i used that have additional festive ideas for how to celebrate the days leading up to the 25th.

need ideas for christmas gifts? don’t forget about my giveaway from artifact uprising. leave a comment on this post to be entered to win.