Some of my favourite Christmas memories as a kid (and even an adult) aren’t really on Christmas day. I forget most of the presents I’ve gotten on Christmas over the years. You know what I don’t forget? What we did the weeks leading up to Christmas.
I’m sure many of you can relate.
Some of my favourite Christmas memories are going to get the tree (and the year my sisters and I decided to walk to the tree farm…we looked ridiculous dragging it home), going up to the attic and pulling out all the old decorations and talking about all the memories as we pull them out. I remember baking cookies with my mom every year. There were six of us and I remember we each got to choose one kind of cookie and we baked all six kinds on one day. She was a brave woman.
I remember the Christmas movies we would watch together as a family- Home Alone a family favourite, of course. I remember going Christmas caroling through our neighborhood and in the nursing homes.
Christmas is such a fun time of year and opening gifts on Christmas morning is only a small part of that fun…a very small part. I think the weeks leading up to Christmas are what make Christmas so special.
Once Pinterest started getting pretty popular I was IN LOVE with all the cool Christmas crafts and activities and baking I was seeing. I pinned everything. Everything.
Then did…maybe one thing?
Each Christmas I pinned so many awesome things then the same thing happened…I’d do one or two things.
So back in 2015 I had an idea. I wrote down on a piece of paper (not just pinned) all the things I wanted to do with my kids that Christmas season. I made a list of 25 things.
Then I wrote on my planner one thing for each day in December leading up to Christmas Day. I carefully planned, though. I didn’t just throw things on there. I chose things for Sunday that could easily be done since Sundays are so busy. I chose movie nights to be on Fridays since there was no school the next day.
I tried to spread out activities so we didn’t do a bunch of the same thing in a row. I planned what we would bake based on how close to Christmas I wanted it done. As we got closer to Christmas there was more baking.
Then I made a ring garland out of construction paper. You know- the kind that are linked together. Each ring had one activity on the inside and the countdown day on the outside. So December 1 said 25 on the outside because it meant 25 days until Christmas.
Each morning the kids got to take a ring off and see what activity was planned for that day. Now, remember, I have all these activities marked on my planner already so I know what to expect each day and I plan for it the night before. This is a MUST if you want the countdown to work. You need to prepare for each activity the night before.
What if you don’t have the ingredients for what you were supposed to make? What if you don’t have any glue for the craft? Plan ahead. Prepare ahead.
Anyway, my kids LOVED it. Now every year since then as soon as winter starts rolling around they ask when the rings will go up. They get so excited to do the countdown.
The first two years I put Christmas movie nights on the light several times because we love movie nights. BUT, I noticed this wasn’t really exciting for the kids. The thing is once the Christmas movies are out we watch them a lot. So putting it on a ring wasn’t that special to them. I noticed they’d much rather a game, recipe, or craft on there.
Their absolute favourite thing to see on the rings is making snow cream. And the recipe is sooo easy!
Literally mix some snow with a little bit of milk (condensed milk is perfect but any milk will do), vanilla, and sugar. It tastes great and the kids love making it.
Some other ideas you might see on our rings are:
- Snowman slam
- Put up Christmas tree
- Decorate for Christmas
- Make paper snowflakes
- Make Cookies (this will be on a couple rings)
- Make Fudge
- Make Candy
- Make an ornament (this will probably be on a couple rings)
- Snowman craft (crafts in general will appear a couple times. My kids really like them and there are a lot of ideas on Pinterest)
- Pin the nose on the snowman
- Mitten craft
- Indoor snowball fight (using paper balled up…I save any paper that might normally be thrown away just for this game)
- Candy cane craft
- Christmas Crack
- Candy cane bark
- Make a present and wrap it up for someone
- Make Christmas cards
- Make a gingerbread house
- Read Christmas books
- How to draw Christmas characters
- Christmas movie trivia (to replace our old movie nights)
- Nativity craft
- Printable Nativity story book
- Christmas I-Spy
- Christmas caroling
- Drive around to see Christmas lights
- Christmas roll a story
- Christmas tree craft
- Angel Craft
- Read Luke 2
The final ring to take down on Christmas morning always says to read Luke 2. That starts off our Christmas morning before we do anything else.
Instead of linking up to each individual activity I have listed above I will just link up to my Pinterest boards where they are all saved anyway.
- Christmas Board (huge board with anything Christmas related- food, crafts, printables, etc)
- Truffle Board
- Christmas Gifts Board (usually food and candies but some crafts in there, too)
- Crafts (this board has a variety of crafts including Christmas crafts)
- Christmas cookies
And since this is my third year doing this fun project I can go back to my previous lists and get ideas:
Making this your own family tradition means putting things on your list that you and your kids enjoy doing together. The possibilities are really endless.
What are some ideas you think you would add to this list? I’d love to hear them! Have you done this type of things with your family before? What are some of your favourites? What’s your family’s favourite Christmas tradition? Share with me! And remember, I love links so feel free to link up to any of your favourite traditions, recipes, activities, etc!
Every week I link up to these great blogs!