A few years ago I distinctly remember feeling DONE with the advent calendar. I was at a loss for what to put in the little boxes – seriously, there’s enough candy everywhere already – and how many teeny, tiny gifts even exist that won’t just wind up in the trash? The boys were only so excited about endless stickers and temporary tattoos. Not to mention that I forgot about it as many nights as I remembered…and there’s nothing quite like scampering about at 6:21am when you hear the kids stirring awake and remember that the little box is empty – again. I vowed to free myself from the advent calendar ridiculousness.
Also, the older I get, the more allergic I feel to anything that even smells like entitlement or sheer, unadulterated consumerism… so that certainly helped progress the transformation. Over the past few years we’ve transitioned to a month of family activities, gift giving and acts of kindness in place of the candy and toys… disclaimer: I’m not a total Scrooge, so there are some Skittles and Starbursts thrown in the mix! ;-)
1. Gather up all the Christmas books for a month of nightly holiday stories.
2. Make and send Christmas cards for service men and women deployed away from home.
3. Send stuffed animals and blankets to the boys’ school for their student council drive “Barrett’s Bears.” (They collected over 700 items to give to the Children’s Hospital!!)
4. Do something nice for someone at your school today. (And I made cookies for them when they got home and we talked about who and what and how it went.)
5. First round of holiday goodies going to school for principal and nurse and counselor.
6. A New Year’s package for our sponsored child.
7. Go through clothes and donate to the Children’s Shelter and Goodwill.
8. Second round of holiday goodies to the school for the front office staff.
9. Write love letters to selected family members.
10. Leave a gift for the mail carrier.
11. Do something nice for your brother. (Yes, they hated this one!!) :-)
12. Take a gift for the bus driver.
13. Love notes and goodies for the nanny.
14. Go through toys and donate to the Children’s Shelter and Goodwill. (Also filed under: must.make.room.for.grandparent.gift.overload.) :)
15. Goodies for the garbage men and recycling guys.
16. More love notes to other family members.
17. Third round of gifts to the boys’ school for specials teachers.
18. Go see Christmas lights with grandparents…have hot cocoa and s’mores!
19. Take gifts to your teachers.
20. Build a fire tonight to go with your Christmas stories.
21. Donate to Wheatens In Need…or current favorite charity.
22. Candy cane bomb a parking lot.
23. Leave popcorn at a RedBox for renters.
24. Put out treats for the birds. (no photos after this because the flu came to visit our house just in time for Christmas!!) :(
25. Huge chocolate candy coins to have with Christmas breakfast.
And that’s how I finally survived an advent calendar!
For other ideas and inspiration for your own advent makeovers, you can look here and here and here. There was also lots of talk this year about transforming the infamous Elf on the Shelf into a Kindness Elf… same concept and Pinterest is full, full, full of more ideas including these cute printables.
I hope this post finds you healthy and grateful and looking forward to a brand new year! Merry Christmas!