This Year’s Advent Calendar

November 28, 2012

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.)

Last year’s

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.

I’m ready.

Happy Holidays.

P.S. Here are 10 more cute Advent Calendar ideas.

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  • Reply Helen Jane November 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    LOVE it.
    You just made it look… doable.

  • Reply Daffodil Campbell November 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you – I am promising myself a better Christmas this year for the kids – it doesn’t mean more gifts, it just means more memories that they will treasure. Thanks for the nudge – going to take this idea and run with it. Started with the Target and Trader Joe’s in Palm Springs 😉

  • Reply Kristen Howerton November 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Oh my word, I LOVE this. Wondering if I could pull it off with 4 kids . . .

  • Laura Harrison Mayes
    Reply Laura November 29, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Kristen, you totally could. Actually, I can imagine it would look awesome. Four different colored piles of boxes. The pain is wrapping four. Although I think it took less than 30 minutes to wrap all 24…but I’m not a very meticulous wrapper. But honestly, one trip to Target and you’d be done. I got the wrap and the vinyl numbers there too.

  • Reply Jill Greenlaw November 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I love this article. Such great ideas and ways to simplify Christmas.

  • Reply Liz November 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Holy smokes, the tiny tree advent calendar is the bomb! How cute would that be with our vintage model train running through it? And by the way, we’ve copied your easy sock advent calendar the past two years — thanks!

  • Reply mellowknees December 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I have been trying to figure out an easy way to make an advent calendar next year. I am so totally stealing your simple idea of 24 wrapped & numbered gifts. I love it!

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