January 10, 2012

our 2011 advent calendar

Whoot!  Finally!  Getting the last of the holiday posts up.  Today I'm going to share our advent calendar from this year and the 'activities' we did.


I had a tough time deciding what kind of advent calendar I wanted at first.  There are so many cute ones on pinterest and I'm the most indecisive person ever.  But ultimately I decided I wanted something that was easy to change out the activities, and that was also pretty portable since Ryann and I are frequently back and forth between my parents house and our house.

First I designed a layout in inDesign, because using my computer in craft projects surprisingly makes me happy.  Plus it was just easier for me to create an accurate grid that way.  Then my mom cut out all the pieces for me (except the numbers, I helped with that!) and sewed it together.  I believe the numbers are just glued on, I honestly can't remember right now.  My mom said it was incredibly tough to sew.  For some reason everything wouldn't stay lined up as she was sewing, the felt just stretched and moved around.  No biggie, Ryann doesn't care if it isn't straight.


To make the little activity cards I used my silhouette to cut a shape out of red and green cardstock.  I actually didn't write the activity on the card and put it in the pocket until the day we were going to do that particular activity.  It worked better for me for a couple reasons, one was that it made it easier for me to rearrange the days if something came up, and the second being that then Ryann couldn't just randomly reorganize it herself and totally throw me off :o).  She didn't 100% get the concept of doing one a day, for her it was just fun to grab a card out of the calendar and asked me what it said.  But she loved that thing just the same.


I know our activities will change over the years.  In the future I plan to include more activities involving charities and helping others, but I knew Ryann wouldn't fully understand that or appreciate it yet.  So for now I kept the activities extremely easy just to see if we would even keep up with it.  I won't lie, towards the end we might have missed a day or two, but again, Ryann never noticed or cared.  And I know every year I will find more ideas for activities, and I'm so happy to be able to start this tradition with our little family.  Here is the list of activities I used this year (and yes, we saw Santa like 3 times.  It just happened like that :o):
  1. play Christmas music and put up decorations
  2. make a gingerbread person craft
  3. have breakfast with Santa
  4. decorate the Christmas tree
  5. open a gift
  6. visit Santa Claus
  7. go to Starbucks for hot chocolate
  8. open and read a holiday book
  9. deliver treats to friends (hi Kenzie!)
  10. watch a Christmas movie
  11. make a snowman craft
  12. make Christmas cards
  13. put and jammies and drive around to see Christmas lights
  14. make gifts for your teachers
  15. open and read a holiday book
  16. have friends over and make ornaments
  17. paint a winter picture
  18. make and decorate cookies
  19. make a gingerbread house
  20. color a Christmas picture
  21. visit Santa Claus
  22. wrap presents
  23. make fudge
  24. go to a Christmas party
  25. read the birth story of Jesus
I highly recommend that winter (tree) picture painting.  Clicking the link will take you to a tutorial I found via pinterest.  It was easy, actually turned out decently, and was a craft that Ryann could do without me actually helping.  The other crafts she enjoyed, simply because it was something different, but I had to really do a lot.  The finger painting she could go to town on by herself, and thought it was pretty awesome when I showed her what it looked like after I took the tape off.  Oh, and for the gingerbread people craft, I just cut a shape out with my silhouette and then hand traced the clothes and such to stick on.  Incredibly easy.

The gift she got to open was a Little People Santa train set, and the books were Snowmen at Christmas and Llama Llama Holiday Drama.  I don't really want to make the advent calendar just about opening gifts, but right now it is a good way to build up our holiday book and toy collection.

I think that about covers it, let me know if you have any questions!


    Sharstin said...

    i adore it! and all the fun things you got to do~

    Nikki said...

    This is so cute! I like that you kept your activities nice and simple. I still haven't done this, mostly b/c Cade would never stop asking when it was time to do the activity until it we actually did it and then start asking when will it be time for the next activity. I'm such a fun mom! I need to go ahead and start working on simple list now, for next year.

    Amber said...

    so cute and lots of great ideas for next year.