advent calendar

Even though we are not Christians, we love Christmas anyway. Somehow with the cool weather, with Christmas decorations dressing the malls plus the school holiday season put together, the Christmas mood does make me happier than other months. I have seen many pretty Pinterest photos on Christmas ranging from party ideas to activities. One of them is the Advent Calendar. This year, I decided to do a hand-madeĀ Advent Calendar with activities.

My first inspiration was really from A Million Little Echoes, a very talented mum blogger who did an Advent Calendar last Christmas, unveiling one activity each for her kids to do. As I am a full-time working mum, I do not have the luxury to bring the kids out every single day to surprise them, and many of the advent activities have to be in the evening when I come home from work. So, I decided to plan evening home activities and impromptu ideas to make each day an interesting one for the kids!

I would need to plan according to the dates from 1 Dec to 24 Dec. Advent Calendar begins on 1 Dec for 24 days if you do not already know. An Advent Calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas. You may read more about the Advent Calendar over here.

I started by checking my calendar for special events, and drafted a list of activities that I could input into each day of the 24 days. Some ideas are pretty crazy like.. “Accompanying Ye Ye (Grandpa, my father-in-law) to take a bus home to find Ah Ma (Grandma, my MIL)!” This will be a pleasant surprise and I think it is a great idea to let the kids take an out-of-norm impromptu bus ride to accompany my FIL on his journey home. Did I mention I have the best in-laws in the world? Without my FIL’s help each day to come my house to take care of the kids, I cannot work in peace. I know my kids are in good hands. My MIL is a kind grandma whom my kids are blessed to have. So, giving her a surprise by turning up at her childcare workplace will certainly please her greatly! The kids will certainly be thrilled and for me, I have planned it to be a Friday activity so that I can stay up late with the kids since the next day is a weekend 😃

Some other ideas for activities include movie nights, staycation surprise, a walk along Orchard Road to view Christmas Lightings, Reading Wizard of Oz to my kids, Art and Craft nights, Baking, etc, etc. You can think of your own activities to do with your kids too! It need not be bringing them out if you are busy at work on weekdays. The activities that I plan are mostly taking place at night after work hours.

There are plenty of Advent Calendars out there on Pinterest to find your inspiration. What I did was really a simple one and I got all my supplies from Daiso!

A pack of transparent gift bags
A roll of brown string
A pack of colour paper stickers
A pack of wooden clips
A pack of adhesive fancy ribbons
Small gift cards – I found cute Christmas templates and print them out

I roped in all the kids to help on this very first activity on the Advent Calendar on 1 Dec: To make an Advent Calendar! LOL!

It was easy to task the kids now that the elder 2 are good with their hands and have lots of creative juices. First, they helped me to paste the ribbons on the wooden clips to make the clips look Christmasy and lovely. Even the youngest can do this!

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Then I cut a few templates of stickers meant for writing the dates on them and Missy 11 could follow my templates to duplicate to 24 of them.

Next comes the interesting part of writing the dates on the stickers. For Pinterest worthy, my initial thought was to write the dates big and legible with a nice lettering. But I decided to get the kids to write for me and they came out with their favorite drawings, with one creative snowman representing the number 8, a reindeer with a red nose using the red colour paper sticker, a tiger, butterfly and lots more! As a result, even though these bags with the cute drawings are not as glam and Pinterest showcase worthy, I really much prefer these designs as they truly make the otherwise boring advent calendar so much fun and unique!

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After the bags were prepared, I spent an hour writing the activities for each day on 3 pieces of Christmas cards and slot them into each bag. One card for each of the 3 kiddos. As the youngest needs help in reading, I drew a picture on some of the cards so that he understands.

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The last part of it is to string each bag and hang on the wall!

Each morning, the kids will look forward to opening up that day’s bag and read the messages inside. One thing to note is not to write the date on the message cards so that I can change my activity plans around as and when necessary.

Do you have an Advent Calendar in your home? Perhaps you can try this activity with your kids and have fun everyday till Christmas!