Christmas Magic Parenthood November 24, 2023

Our 2023 Family Advent Calendar

If you know me, you know I love to fill a Christmas stocking. The hunt for neat treasures and goodies is something I thoroughly enjoy participating in, so much so, that I usually start in January. An advent calendar was just screaming my name!

But I didn’t want to buy more stuff just for the sake of stuffing an advent calendar. This’ll be a new tradition for our family and my vision wasn’t a new toy for each boy as we countdown to Christmas, but rather a way to slow down and gather as a family, decorate the house together, and give back to our community… with a few treats and small toys sprinkled throughout. With the days getting shorter and colder, my hope is that this calendar will help create some holiday magic and keep our spirits high. (Add plenty of sleep and vitamin D to the list too!)

  1. Break out the Christmas pajamas – I buy a new pair from Hanna Andersson each year for B. F wears the hand-me-downs and Taylor and I have the same pair from 2020… it’s a system that works, for now! Savings tip: I order next year’s pajamas right after Christmas when they’re on mega sale.
  2. Decorate and mail our holiday cards + local honey stick.
  3. Tree lighting for Poppie – this’ll be our 3rd year decorating a tree in memory of Taylor’s dad.
  4. Window stars – I’ve made a couple this year to add to our collection but I envision us making a bunch together when they grow older.
  5. New toothbrushes
  6. Watch Frosty the Snowman – this will be shifted to the first snowfall whenever that happens. We’ll keep B up late to watch one on one with us as a special treat.
  7. New Yoto card – I picked out The Snowy Day earlier this summer when it was back in stock and stashed it away.
  8. Shop for food / resident donation – as a family, we’ve adopted a resident in a local nursing home and together we’ll pick out and purchase the items on her wish list. We’ll also make a bigger donation to our local food pantry, with B helping me with the list of what to buy at the market.
  9. Coffee filter snowflakes – a new-to-me craft to help decorate the sliding glass door windows!
  10. Bake muffins for our neighbors.
  11. Gingerbread playdough – apple playdough this autumn was a major hit, I can’t wait to give this one a try!
  12. Reindeer figurines
  13. The Mitten book – this was a favorite of B’s last year, so I snagged us a copy secondhand.
  14. Special beeswax pinecone candle for our table.
  15. Drop off gifts to the nursing home! Go see Christmas lights – we got tickets to Winterlights at Naumkeag. We’re going with my parents and will enjoy a dinner in Lennox afterward (fingers crossed for cooperating weather and kiddos).
  16. Homemade bath salts + candy cane – B loves bath salts. He also loves candy canes. If you’re a parent, I highly suggest giving your bathing child a candy cane: you’re welcome.
  17. Make ornaments for grandparents – I can’t remember if we did this last year, but either way, I thought it would be a fun project.
  18. Thumb piano – a little special instrument for their collection that I picked up this summer.
  19. Dehydrate + string orange slices – looking forward to decorating a window or two again this winter with this simple craft.
  20. Racoon finger puppet – another item I stashed away from January that I think F will really enjoy.
  21. Make bird feeders.
  22. Sleep under the Christmas tree as a family.
  23. Special chocolates
  24. Bake cookies! For the last three years we’ve baked chocolate chip peanut butter cookies on this night and while I may switch up the recipe, I’d love to continue this tradition after dinner. Nothing better than warm cookies fresh from the oven right before bed on Christmas Eve!

I ordered this calendar from Etsy when it was on sale a couple of months ago. I made tiny golden packages to open for each activity using recycled tea bag containers and watercolor paper. Because I don’t foresee them lasting multiple years, I plan on saving some Christmas cards sent to us this season to cut up, write on, and tuck into each pocket. I’ll add some finishing pine boughs and chocolate coins throughout once it’s hung up in our kitchen – I can’t wait to see B’s reaction that first morning!

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