Happy (very nearly) December! Each year I have taken more steps toward making Christmas less stressful and consumerist and this year is the best yet on the stress free front (so far!). I have decided to write a series of posts about having a more soulful, handmade, stress free Christmas, and here is the first. I was going to call the series something along the lines of 12 days of Christmas but I didn't want to give myself the stress of having to write 12 blog posts in case the inspiration didn't strike so the number of blogs in the series is TBC (! See- taking the pressure off!)
I made our advent calendar in August for the November issue of Mollie Makes. I wanted it to be simple, natural with some pops of colour too. It focusses on 'experiences'- fun things to do every day until Christmas Eve. I have put a chocolate in a couple of the envelopes plus a few small crystals. When I hung it yesterday, I needed to replace the greenery and a few of the parcels too as they had melted in the loft, so I have also added a few small canvas pouches which contain bath bombs.
The full tutorial is in Mollie Makes last month, but in case you can't get a copy, here's what I did.
How to make a simple experience based advent calendar
- Branch and greenery
- Blank business cards, pen, stamp and ink
- Papers for envelopes: Brown paper and water colour paper (or use ready made envelopes)
- Canvas sacks for bigger things
- Crystals/Chocolates/bath bombs etc if you're doing this.
- I wrote out 24 sweet and simple Christmassy or wintery experiences on pieces of card (see ideas below), stamped with my favourite Yellow Owl Workshop stamp.
- I then made little envelopes with different papers, sewing them closed on the sewing machine. Leave long pieces of thread attached to the packages to hang from the branch.
- I enclosed a little extra 'something' in about a third of the parcels.
- I hung each little envelope on a branch and pegged some small pieces of evergreen on it.
It is simple and quick to pull together if you haven't had the chance yet.
Some experience-based advent ideas
Here are some of the things inside our envelopes, to give you ideas:
- Toast marshmallows/roast chestnuts on the fire
- Give some toys and books away to families who need it
- Snuggle under a blanket and read winter books (see yesterdays post)
- Make hot chocolate and babycino's
- Decorate the tree!
- Choose a special bauble (we go to Liberty every year and let F choose one)
- Light the advent candle (x4)
- Make Christmas cards
- Make paper snowflakes
- Listen to Christmas records and have a dance party at home
- Make paperchains
- Bake Gingerbread men
- Make mincemeat and Christmas puddings
- Wear our most spakliest clothes, just for fun
- Go for a walk in the woods with warm apple juice
- Celebrate the solstice with a special meal
- Have a Christmas bath bomb bath
- Paint Christmas nails
- Watch The Snowman (any Christmas film really)
- Make an ice lantern
The trick is to keep a note on your phone of what you have included so you can plan for it in advance!
What are your favourite advent activities to do with kids? I love hearing how other families 'do' Christmas!