I didn’t grow up with Advent Calendars, but one of my neighborhood best friends always had one in her kitchen, and I’ve always been sort of in love with them. Once I had a kitchen of my own, I started making them.
I like to do something different every year, and I’ve been pretty creative in the past…but this year, it seems people are taking them to 11... or uh, 25. So of course I was tempted to build an advent city or something. (My nature is always to overdo things. It’s what I do.)
But this year, Christmas is going to be way more simple around here. For starters, on actual Christmas, we’re doing very minimal gifts because of travel logistics and philosophy adjustments. On the other hand, Harry is seven. And seven is such an optimal awesome Christmas year. So, to compromise between my need to live more minimally and my need to throw a “Circ de Christmaspalooza con Firework Glitter Festival of Underwater Skywriting!”…well, we’re just going to celebrate a little bit each day.
We’re still doing our daily giving calendar. Because we love it.
But I’m also going the present route this year.
I’m not sure I’d do this if I had more than one child (possibly, but maybe not). And I’m really not sure I’d do it if I didn’t have easy access to a variety of dollar stores and a rad Target dollar section. But because all of these things are in play, I went for it.
24 gifts. Small gifts. Dollar gifts. But all functional (colored pencils, books, flashlight). Or usable (trading cards, stickers, puzzles). Or edible (chocolate, ChapStick, Chocolate ChapStick). It looks waay more impressive than it actually is. $24 dollars worth of joy. Ok, I did slip in three bigger items (some golf balls ($2.99), Annie the musical on DVD ($4.99) and a Skylander for Christmas Eve ($9.99)…so $39 worth of joy), but for the most part, dollar bin. At this age, opening the present is still the best part about the present. And the fact that he can open one everyday gives us openings to talk about the Advent season, the blessings we all have, and the important connections beween giving and celebrating (which works nicely with the giving calendar).
Perhaps most importantly, I’m done. All Christmas shopping, wrapping and presenting is completed.
We’ll do a few more under the tree from Santa, but this is pretty much it. The Advent has sort of turned into the Main Event. And we’re planning to celebrate a little bit everyday throughout the season…to start early, to keep it going and to make it last longer than the 25 seconds it usually takes him to tear through the presents under the tree. This year, the unwrapping will take 25 mornings.
P.S. Here are 10 more cute Advent Calendar ideas.