We’ve all been doing it. Pouring over Pinterest hour after hour prepping ourselves for this very month(ish) of holiday wonderment.
We’re all putting our Elves on our Shelves next to glazed donut cheerios.
We’ve all seen three million different ways to decorate cone forms as tabletop christmas trees.
Everybody and their mother’s got the family initial in an evergreen wreath on their front door.
But move over, burlap stocking DIY. There’s one showstopper we’ve ALL got on our list. That my friend, is the glorious DIY Advent Calendar! Remember when those things were just fancy packages for candy and trinkets? Oh Pinterest! You laugh at such an antiquated notion! Now instead of treats, each pocket is supposed to be filled with holiday themed activities. 24 of them for each December day before Christmas.
If you’re like me, at first you lit up at the idea of packing every magical December day with a fresh new memory for the spouse and children you love so dearly! Hot cocoa and popcorn and Charlie Brown Christmas one night. Tickets to “The Nutcracker” the next! Holiday light viewing another night!! A Christmas tree slumber party the next?!!!
Then reality sets in. You don’t even know how you’re going to get your Christmas shopping in, let alone make time for the graham cracker snowman craft you’ve had pinned on your “Kiddos” board for the last three months. Not to mention, like, the boring normal life stuff. Work, laundry, exercise… Oddly, the stuff that makes you busy and behind schedule in September is still there in December, no matter how much holiday magic you’d rather cram in instead.
So, call me a realist. I know I can’t actually do everything I pin. But at the same time, I now have this amazing Advent Calendar ready to hang, and nothing to put inside it! (Giving my kids chocolate for breakfast every morning just doesn’t thrill me. What can I say?)
Today, however, I had an epiphany. My house isn’t ready to decorate yet. I forgot to get out my Elf on a Shelf yesterday. We’ve yet to officially ENTER the holiday season at this house, and frankly, the to-do list, albeit most enjoyable, can be a bit overwhelming when I think about my other responsibilities. Exactly what all is even on my holiday to-do list?
Hm… Well, for sure I’ll want to
- Put up the tree
- Light the tree
- Decorate the tree
- Take pictures of the kids next to the tree
- Hang the stockings
- Put out our nativity
- Read Elf on a shelf
- Make something pretty for my dining table.
- Decorate our windows.
- Wrap gifts
- Buy or make cards
- Sign and send cards
- Christmas baking
AND THEN there’s the scheduled Christmas activities through various groups we’re involved in…
- Christmas Kids (and Parents) Night Out
- Christmas Groove Concert
- Pre-K Christmas Program
- Church Christmas Pageant
- Oh! And Church Christmas Pageant Dress Rehearsal!
- School Christmas Party
- Work Christmas Party (Which for us, happens to be kid friendly! Yay!)
- Christmas Eve Church services
Hm… Well, those are interesting numbers. At some point, we’d probably also like to
- Go for a drive to look at lights.
- Watch a Christmas movie with the kids
- Read a Christmas story book
- Make a craft or present with the kids
- Play in the snow
- Volunteer or donate to a worthy cause
- OR stay in our pajamas all day…
What do you know! There’s nothing on this list that my three year old (or even 1 year old) can’t participate in on some level! And that’s way more than 24 items… all of which we’re intending to do ANYWAY! Advent activity countdown, or no!
So, get smart people! You CAN have it all… okay maybe not it all, but if you approach the classical Pinteresty advent activity thing as an organizational tool, rather than just another way to overextend yourself this holiday, it can actually REMOVE holiday stress from your month rather than compound it!
Sure, it’s a simple notion, just write everything on slips of paper and stick it in your advent countdown device thingy of choice. Sync it with your calendar, and keep a few simple substitutes on hand in case you need to switch out a big plan for a simpler plan one day (Heck! Maybe that’s where the candy comes in!). But then your Christmas to-do list is organized, broken down day by day, and done in a slow and steady way that involves your kids! What could be better?
Did I miss anything on my list? What are some of your absolute HAVE-TOs during the holidays?