(Elizabeth and I basically write the same posts these days, just so you know.)
After I saw both Elizabeth and Emily blog their Advent activities last December I KNEW it was something I really wanted to do with Claire. Last year she had just turned two and was a little young for the whole thing. I was also pregnant and cranky and tired and coming up with a bunch of ideas for Advent was BEYOND the grasp of my mental abilities at that point. Hell, we were lucky presents made it under the tree. (Thank you, Amazon Prime.)
This year is The Year that our firstborn is old enough to have it figured out and old enough to take out in public and enjoy her reactions and responses to Christmas. She is three and has such a better grasp on concepts that go beyond, "When is my next snacking opportunity?" She understands Santa (well, kind of, she has him sort of confused with the idea of birthday parties), she is excited about the tree, she yelped with glee when I found the Christmas cookie cutters. Emily has the point exactly right: the Advent Activities are about making a to do list, keeping ME in line and giving us an opportunity to create our own family traditions and memories. It also make for attractive bait to incent good behavior.
I could not possibly be more excited about this. I mean, you guys saw my cute Etsy muslin bag advent calendar, right? SO CUTE. I can't wait to put little notes in each one and hang them up. I think I'm going to blog the whole thing, just to make sure I really copy Emily and Elizabeth as authentically as possible (in a non-creepy stalker way, of course).
Here is this year's list, my FIRST year's list, not in the correct order. I'll have to look closely at the calendar to make sure activities match up with show times and our availabilities, but this is pretty much the list.
1. Christmas Tea at The Ashton Hotel with my best friend. NO CHILDREN. (For me.) Decorate a gingerbread house (for Claire/Chris.) (Charlotte will probably get to take a nap. Maybe in a holiday onesie.)
2. Make cinnamon applesauce ornaments.
3. Make plaster of paris handprint ornaments.
4. Go ice skating. (Well...TRY ice skating. Claire and I will try, Chris and Charlotte will watch. We'll see if Claire picks it up/enjoys it.)
5. Drive around with hot chocolate and look at Christmas lights.
6. Choose and buy toys for a needy child, from both Charlotte and Claire, (Claire will do the picking out) and donate to my holiday toy charity of choice, Toys for Tots (organized and run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.)
7. Wrap gifts. (Claire can "help" with this.)
8. Make Christmas Cookies. (And then freeze them.)
9. Decorate Christmas cookies with friends. (After defrosting them.) (Also known as Cooke Day.)
10. Go see the trains at Northpark Mall. Maybe visit Santa, but probably not as the line will probably be long and then Claire will flip out when it's finally her turn.
11. Turn on Christmas music, decorate the tree, order pizza and drink wine. Watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation after the kids go to bed.
12, 13, 14, 15: Open a present. I have a handful of Christmas books for Claire that will be best enjoyed through the month of December and as Elizabeth has pointed out, gifts are appreciated MUCH MORE on December 12 than alongside thirty other gifts on December 25. She'll get some books and Christmas PJs and Christmas socks for these. (Claire really likes socks these days, for some reason.) For one of these days I will add an activity for myself: Get Fancy Pedicure at Fancy Spa. ALOOOOONE.
16. Put up the Christmas lights in the yard.
17. Some kind of volunteer something. I very much want to take Claire to do something that fits into the "giving back" category that is beyond "buy something and drop it in a box" (which we have on here once with Toys for Tots and we've already donated several cans to her school's food drive and will probably do so again) but I have yet to identify the specific activity. Suggestions for an adult and 3-year-old on this one?
18. Buy poinsettias and garland and decorate the house. Probably make some paper ornaments to hang on the garland.
19. Attend a local Christmas concert. Probably a church or the high school.
20. Make a gift for someone else (probably her teacher). (I am realizing there is a lot of PROBABLY in this list.)
21. Go see The Polar Express at one of the Pajama Parties at the Omni/IMAX in downtown Ft Worth.
22. If I can come to terms with the cost (or find discounted tickets...maybe) go tubing at SNOW! at the Gaylord Texan. Hey, we are in Texas. We have to PAY to play in the snow here. I'm worried this will be a thing that we think she'll love and then we'll spend a crap-ton of money and she'll be like, "I HATE THIS." Kids. SIGH.
23. Go see The Nutcracker. I am pretty sure Chris will go with me if I ask him, but I am pretty sure he'd rather I just take Jennie instead. (Hey, Jennie! Want to, um, go see The Nutcracker with me?)
24. Trans-Siberian Orchestra with Chris. Babysitter for Claire and Charlotte, though I'll have to spin this a little bit better to get Claire excited about it.