“It’s that time of year, when the world falls in love…every song you hear seems to say, Merry Christmas…”, The Christmas Waltz, by Frank Sinatra hums in the background, spiced pumpkin latte candles fill the air, as the fire in the fireplace envelops the space like a warm hug. The children put the finishing touches on their gingerbread house before changing into their cozy matching PJs to watch the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, and string (and eat) popcorn to hang on the Christmas Tree. That is how I have always envisioned spending Christmas time, when in reality it’s more like a cyclone of ‘to do’ lists…clean house, decorate house, buy gifts, me losing my patience and yelling at kids to get their PJs on, or anything that resembles PJs, because I am lucky enough if I get them matching Christmas clothes let alone matching PJs.
There is a lot on our minds this time of year and sadly the things that slip away are usually the things we would really enjoy doing with our children, like decorating a gingerbread house, stringing popcorn, decorating cookies, etc. Not this year! This year we’ve been given a special unique gift, the gift of quality time together, due to COVID and the need to practice social distancing our calendars and obligations are limited, thus, lets slow down and TAKE BACK THE JOY of Christmas with this awesome countdown to Christmas activities!
How it works:
First make a list of the things you would like to do with your children during Advent (time leading up to Christmas), or feel free to copy mine.
- Virtually visit the Manor House Decorated for the Holidays at Wildwood (Dec. 5-13th)
- Decorate Christmas cookies
- Get out the Advent wreath and read daily sections from the Advent book
- Challenge the family to a round of Christmas Carol Trivia on Kahoot!
- Watch Polar Express & get the Polar Express train out to place around the tree
- Make ornaments for ornament exchange
- Listen to, The Great Santa Clause Mystery & other books on tape
- Read, The Christmas Sweater
- See The Toledo Ballets 80th performance of the Nutcracker, at Stranahan
- Watch the classic, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer & Frosty
- Read a Christmas Carol
- Decorate Gingerbread House
- Family Christmas Bingo Night & Watch a Charlie Brown Christmas
- 1920s Holiday Event on Mainstreet at Sauder Village
- Walk around the neighborhood after dinner w/hot cocoa in hand and look at lights.
- Watch, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Read How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Listen to Christmas records while decorating the tree
- Go to the Lights before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo
- Watch the classic; It’s a Wonderful Life
- Watch the Nativity Story
- Go to a Lighted Christmas Parade (Pemberville’s is November 29th, 2020)
- PJ brigade & Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt
- Read, The Night Before Christmas
Second, get out your planner/calendar and determine which day works for each activity. For example, I know that Friday nights are our movie nights, so we will watch Christmas movies on Friday night. That being said there are particular evenings that certain events have to happen, such as the Nutcracker Ballet, virtual tour of the Manor House, Sauder Village, & Lights Before Christmas. I find that laying everything out on a table and simply placing a Post-it on the date that works best for said activities is the easiest & most efficient way to schedule said events and activities for the month of December.
Third, wrap each activity/event (place tickets in an envelope and wrap the envelope) and place number/date on the back of each package so you can remember which day to open each item. And set them out wherever you wish. I place our countdown packages on our mantel, they double as decoration. Not only does it look visually appealing but it also saves us money. I purchased the gift wrap from the Dollar Store; I spent $2 on our Christmas decorations this year. Winning! 😉
Not only does the countdown help you to spend quality time with your children, but, hopefully, it helps you budget your Christmas Activities. While most are activities we already had, like the books, books on tape, DVDs, and craft items (just raid your arts and craft bin) there are a few free events, like touring the Manor House at Wildwood, & Lights before Christmas at the Zoo (thanks to our membership) but, also some events and activities that we needed to budget into finances.
Do you have a countdown or Christmas tradition that your family practices? I’d love to hear about it, please share.