Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Complete!

Yes, I did it! WHOOP WHOOP! The Advent Calendar is FINISHED! For me, it's not just printing out cute cards and sticking them in cute envelopes -- I have to take into account what my family is actually already DOING on many of those days so that whatever we do isn't a huge undertaking and/or potential conflict. Not that there won't be conflicts, because there will. But, the plan is to just have a plan!

Each day we have a "letter" of the day (sometimes two) and the boys are given 1/2 of a page that has a poem printed on the bottom fourth of the page (which leaves the top fourth for them to draw and color me a picture). I help them make covers for these books (we just use old cereal boxes wrapped in Christmas paper). I punch holes and bind them. Ultimately, when they're finished, it's a beautiful, hand-made Christmas gift for me to keep and treasure forever. I love these kinds of keepsakes best anyway!

Also, the first 12 days of December, we do a family devotional that coincides the parallel of the 12 Days of Christmas with Christianity. I found this on some website in the blogosphere so I can't take credit for this and don't know whom to issue credit to.

Each day we will also read a book together and there is a movie as well (those are generally watched after school (unless it's a weekend) while they have a snack). The little bags that the activity cards are included in also contain a little treat or a small Christmas goody. They're all placed around the bottom of the boy's colorful Christmas tree.

And without further adieu, here we go...

December 1
Letters A&B
12 Days – Partridge in a pear tree (The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ. A partridge often feigns injury to draw attention to herself and away from her young to protect them from danger. Because of its self sacrifice the partridge was used to represent Christ.)
MOVIE: Home Alone

BOOK: How Santa Got His Job
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky and S.D. Schindler (2002, Paperback, Reprint) Image
ACTIVITY: Bundle Up! Tonight we're heading to downtown Grapevine to see the 7pm Parade of Lights

December 2
Letter C
12 Days – 2 turtle doves (Bring out your largest Bible and show the kids the two different sections of the Bible. Explain that the Old Testament was foretelling of a Savior that was to come, and the New Testament tells of a savior who arrives. "Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments. Because they have one mate for life the turtle doves represent enduring relationships, such as the unbreakable bond between the Old and New Testaments.")
MOVIE: It’s a Wonderful Life

BOOK:Who's That Knocking At Christmas Eve?

ACTIVITY: Bundle Up AGAIN! Tonight we're heading out to Keller Town Square to see the City's tree lighting ceremony and maybe ride a sled down an ice hill

December 3
Letter D
12 Days – 3 French hens (This stands for the Holy Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit.)
MOVIE: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Special Edition)
BOOK: The Best Christmas Hunt Ever

ACTIVITY: Learn the legend of the candy cane -- and then EAT ONE! I just printed this out on a piece of paper and attached it to a couple of candy canes: Click Here

December 4
Letter E
12 Days – 4 calling birds (The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)
MOVIE: White Christmas
White Christmas
BOOK: The Christmas Star
The Christmas Star
ACTIVITY: Decorate your door (for this I provide two rolls of wrapping paper (last year I got it in the dollar section at Target), some construction paper, some ribbon, tape and scissors and they have a blast decorating their doors)

December 5
Letter F
12 Days – 5 gold rings (The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.)
MOVIE: The Santa Claus

BOOK: Shhh!
Shhh! (Storytime Board Books)
ACTIVITY: write letters to Santa (for this I provide paper, markers, pencils, erasers and a couple of toy catalogs) Josh, in the spirit of things, still writes a letter.

December 6
Letter G
12 Days – 6 geese laying (The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation. (Eggs represent new life))
MOVIE: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

BOOK: The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree
The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree (A Little Golden Book)
ACTIVITY: Take Christmas card pictures (Yes, I realize this should have been done long ago but it wasn' it's being done today)

December 7
Letter H
12 Days – 7 swans a swimming (Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit-Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Encouragement, Giving, Leadership, and Mercy.)
MOVIE: Frosty the Snowman

BOOK: Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson (2003, Hardcover) Image
ACTIVITY: make paper snowflakes I used this website as a guide last year and we had some fantastic snowflakes all over the place. Have your vacuum handy, it makes a mess.

December 8
Letter I
12 Days – 8 maids a-milking (The eight maids a-milking stand for the eight beatitudes which Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount to spell out blessings for the meek and lowly.)
MOVIE: Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas (which will probably lead to the Twice Upon a Christmas, too)
Product Details
BOOK: The Littlest Christmas Elf
The Littlest Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book)
ACTIVITY: Eat snowman pancakes for dinner

December 9
Letter J
12 Days – 9 ladies dancing (Nine ladies dancing represent the fruit of the Spirit-Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.)

I Spy Christmas
ACTIVITY: Elf the neighbors (here is a printable for "jingling" your neighbors. Same principle, just different term. Click here

December 10
Letter K
12 Days – 10 Lords a-leaping (The ten lords a-leaping stand for the law and leadership symbolised by the Ten Commandments)
MOVIE: The Year Without A Santa Claus

BOOK: Santa Calls
Santa Calls by William Joyce (1993, Hardcover) Image
ACTIVITY: Decorate gingerbread houses. We are hosting a BYOH (bring your own house) gingerbread house decorating party.

December 11
Letter L
12 Days – 11 pipers piping (The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven disciples who remained faithful to Christ.)
MOVIE: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

BOOK: The Lonely Snowman, (no image available)
ACTIVITY: Christmas tree canvas. I found this on Pinterest.
Tutorial can be found here

December 12
Letter M
12 Days – 12 drummers drumming (The twelve drummers drumming represented the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.)
MOVIE: Jingle All the Way

BOOK:Corduroy's Christmas Surprise
Corduroy's Christmas Surprise by Don Freeman (2001, Paperback) Image
ACTIVITY: Take pictures in Santa hats

December 13
Letter N
MOVIE: A Charlie Brown Christmas

BOOK: B is for Bethlehem
B Is for Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet (Picture Puffins)
ACTIVITY: Make a Christmas card for your teacher

December 14
Letter O
MOVIE: Santa Claus 2
Santa Clause 2 (Widescreen Edition)
BOOK: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Activity: Make salt dough ornaments

December 15
Letter P
MOVIE: Muppets Christmas Carol

BOOK: I Smell Christmas
I Smell Christmas: Scratch-and-sniff Book (Little Critter Board Books)
ACTIVITY: Christmas caroling at Mimosa Manor. Our Cub Scout Pack is going to this nursing home to sing Christmas carols.

December 16
Letter Q
MOVIE: Miracle on 34th (the classic version -- I'm all about classics!)

BOOK: What Is Christmas?
What Is Christmas?
ACTIVITY: Fuddruckers and ICE at the Gaylord. It's an annual tradition to do for my birthday (which is on the 20th) but since Josh is leaving town for Christmas, we're going early to be able to do it while he is here, too.

December 17
Letter R
MOVIE: ABC Holiday Classics Marathon
BOOK: The Christmas Trolls (which is actually a story inside a collection book called Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury - the illustrations are absolutely AMAZING!)
Christmas Trolls
ACTIVITY: Decorate sugar cone Christmas trees (this is just a fun little thing to add to the gingerbread houses.

December 18
Letter S
MOVIE: How The Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey
Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Full Screen)
BOOK: The Christmas Story
The Christmas Story
ACTIVITY: Make and decorate Christmas cookies

December 19
Letter T
MOVIE: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

BOOK: The Legend of the Poinsettia
The Legend of the Poinsettia
ACTIVITY: Make a new ornament for the Christmas tree
Pinned Image
(I really like THIS idea, however, it's more of ME making the ornament than him, so I am also considering THIS one

December 20
Letter U
MOVIE: 12 Dogs of Christmas

BOOK: The Penguin Who Wanted to be Different
The Penguin Who Wanted to be Different: A Christmas Wish
ACTIVITY: Make treats for the 4 legged kids. We break out the peanut butter and bake up many batches of dog treats to wrap up for all of the fur babies on our list.

December 21
Letters V & W
MOVIE: Prep & Landing

BOOK: Bear Stays Up For Christmas
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
ACTIVITY: Put on pj’s and drive around to see all the Christmas lights (one of my favorite traditions)

December 22
Letter X
MOVIE: Santa Claus 3

BOOK: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Shines Again
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Shines Again (Little Golden Book)
ACTIVITY: roast marshmallows and have hot chocolate by the fire

December 23
Letter Y
MOVIE: A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story (Full-Screen Edition)
BOOK:The Crippled Lamb - Max Lucado (I can't ever make it through this book without crying)
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (1994, Hardcover) Image
ACTIVITY: Make a birthday cake for Jesus

December 24
Letter Z
MOVIE: The Polar Express

BOOK: The Night Before Christmas (this version has the most AMAZING illustrations)
Bruce Whatley's The Night Before Christmas
ACTIVITY: Party with friends. We have a brunch party every year and Santa pays a visit and gives a little treat to each kiddo... they get personal one on one (non rushed = great pictures) with the head elf...and we all eat and it's just fun and casual and a great way to spend the day!

I hope this helped give you lots of ideas for your Adventure into Advent!