Advent Calendars That Mean Something

It’s nearly December, people! Woot woot! In case you hadn’t noticed, I L-O-V-E Christmas … but Mr Chef has a rule that there is no Christmas in the house before 1st December. I have a rule that there is nothing but Christmas in the house after 1st December. A happy marriage is all about compromise, guys!

So what happens on 1st December, then? Well, the Christmas tree comes OUT, the cheesy music goes ON and the decorations go UP! We take loads of photos (most, if not all, of which we’ll delete later) of everybody wearing various festive headgear – Santa hats, reindeer antlers, etc. – messing around with baubles and getting tangled in tinsel. … And then there’s the swearing at the lights, but let’s not mention that, and ADVENT CALENDARS!!

Because we are just not excited enough about Christmas already, we have to count the days on a calendar. But not just any calendar … a special calendar. (Beep! Consumerism alert!) Now, you know as well as I do how many different Advent calendars are available these days, so we don’t need to go into that. My kids are lucky enough to have a creative grandma who made them these little numbers … .

Cute, aren’t they? (Wish I could say the same for the children … kidding … of course … .) But I don’t feel right just waking up every morning and going, “Nineteen days to go – have a chocolate!” “Twelve days to go – have a chocolate!” “Five days to go – have a chocolate!” It’s somewhat lacking in Christmas spirit. (Although tbh, I don’t think the kids care, do they? Chocolate without a message is just as good as chocolate with. … Still, I carry on regardless with my mission to turn every advent morning into a teachable moment! Don’t worry, Grandma – they still get the chocolate.) So here’s what I’m doing this year … .

Kind Kids Cards

For Biggest Sister, who just turned eight, I made Kind Kids Cards. This is my take on the Acts of Kindness calendars that were popular a few years ago. Every day, a little prompt to do a good deed. We did the same thing last year and she really enjoyed it. Here’s a little selection … .

If you want the full package, you can Click Here to Download the Kind Kids Advent Calendar Printable for FREE. Print the sheets, stick them to a piece of card and cut them out. I’ve also included a sheet of blank cards in case you want to personalise them a bit – all kids are different, after all!

The Christmas Story

For Middle Child, I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter with the Christmas story. I know religion isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Christmas is a religious holiday, and I like my kids to remember what we’re celebrating here. I retold the Christmas story in a way I thought my three-year-old would enjoy – in 24 bite-sized (or should that be bauble-sized?) chunks. It’s yours if you want it – Click Here to Download The Christmas Story Advent Calendar Printable for FREE.

A Nativity Puzzle

Last year, Middle Child was two years old at Christmastime. For her advent calendar, I printed out a nativity scene in black-and-white and stuck it to a piece of card. I gave the picture to her on the first day of Advent along with her calendar and a glue stick. Then, I printed the same picture in colour, stuck it onto card and cut it into 24 (numbered!) pieces. I put one piece in each pocket of her calendar, and each morning she stuck the coloured piece on the black-and-white picture. I thought she’d get bored of it after a while, but she really looked forward to it!

For slightly older kids, you could dispense with the black-and-white template and just get them to stick the pieces on a blank page. Just make sure you number the pieces on the back before cutting up, so that you can give adjoining pieces each day!

Here is a link to a page with the basic nativity scene shown above. I printed off two copies this year (hence why the numbers go up to 12 instead of 24), so that my older children could EACH colour one for the baby’s advent calendar. (No fights!) Or you can Google and find your own already in colour, like I did last year!

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a nativity scene. If you celebrate Christmas in a non-religious way, just print a festive picture of Father Christmas and his reindeer, etc.

Happy advent! The countdown is about to begin!

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