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Advent Family Fun, Part 2


I apologize that this post of holiday ideas is coming to you so very late in the season. I hope if an idea sounds fun to you, you'll tuck it into your 2010 Christmas planner. :)

You might remember my first Advent Family Fun post, which showed you the craft-tag calendar I set up this year. Well, here are some of the ideas from my holiday planner. Not all of them got done - not all of them made it to tags! - but it's fun to brainstorm and catalog ideas ... and there's always next year, right? ;)

~ Spend the first Sunday of Advent decorating for Christmas; set up the tree.

~ On a clear frosty night, bundle up the kids and drive around town admiring Christmas lights. End our journey at a beautiful outdoor nativity scene.

~ On St. Barbara's Day (December 4th), collect bare branches from flowering shrubs in the yard (forsythia, for example). Place them in water in hopes they'll bloom at Christmas. 

~ On the Winter Solstice (December 21st), decorate a tree in the yard with bird-friendly treats like dried fruits and plain popcorn, orange halves, suet balls and peanut butter pinecones. (Making these treats can be a fun activity a day or so before the Solstice.)

~ Because I am partial to animal stories, I like to collect Christmas books that focus on the beauty and peace of nature. This year I added a new book, My Wonderful Christmas Tree by Dahlov Ipcar. Other books in our "Nature Rejoices" basket:

Bear Noel by Olivier Dunrea

The Christmas Bird by Bernadette Watts

The Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe

Night Tree by Eve Bunting

Who Would Like a Christmas Tree? by Ellen Obed

Hurry! Hurry! Have You Heard? by Laura Krauss Melmed

~ Bring out the Polar Express train set for Earlybird. Watch the movie and have some hot, hot, hot - Hot Chocolate!

~ Go to a local zoo one night to see the beautiful Holiday Lights and decorations.

~ Build a gingerbread construction with Nana (this year, a train).

~ Go on a nature walk and look for examples of Christmas greenery (holly, boxwood, evergreen, ivy). Take pictures of the first day of Winter and start a nature journal for the new year. Have cider mulling on the stove for when we return home.

~ Bake homemade donuts (chocolate with peppermint topping) one morning for breakfast and serve with Trader Joe's mint cocoa with freshly whipped cream.

~ On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th), make some cinnamon-sugar tortilla stars (recipe found here) and read the Tomie de Paola book, The Lady of Guadalupe

~ Make "hot" cocoa and eggnog popsicles. :)

~ Listen to A Christmas Carol on audiobook over a few afternoons - then go see the new movie starring Jim Carrey. Talk about how the movie differed from the book.

~ Set up the children's creche in the family room. Place a basket filled with nativity stories near the display. Put the magnetic manger scene on the fridge.

~ Bring Christmas arrangements to grandparents' graves; pray for our loved ones, then take Nana to lunch.

~ Attend a Yankee Swap with friends.

~ Surprise an elderly relative or neighbor with some baked goodies and Christmas Carols.

~ Spend a whole day at home baking cookies - eat some, freeze some.

~ Take the kids Christmas shopping one weekday - help them buy gifts for friends and siblings.

~ On New Year's Day (the day we take down our tree), pack ornaments and other holiday decorations in the day's newspaper ~ fun to reminisce over as we unpack next December.

Hope your Christmas week is going well! As my boys just announced moments ago, ONLY TWO MORE DAYS!!

Off now to wrap and bake and clean, etc.! I hope to pop in one more time before Friday, but in case I don't find the time, I want to wish you all a beautiful and blessed Christmas! :)