Last year on November 30, I decided quite spontaneously to set up an advent activity calendar. Little Handsome was almost 3 years old, and we were living in a country where the locals don’t celebrate Christmas. They do accommodate the expatriates who do, but it’s not the same kind of inundation of information and celebration that he would have experienced at home. Incidentally, that was one of my favourite parts of living in the tolerant Muslim nation – I could decide which holiday traditions were important to me and keep them, letting the others slide.
The activity calendar worked like this: each day Little Handsome would pull a slip of paper out of a cloth/plastic calendar we bought at the Japanese dollar store, and we would complete the activity as a family. Activities ranged from reading a Christmas story to making cookies to caroling around the neighbourhood to delivering treats to compound workers. It ended up being one of the highlights of my year – I loved having a way to get us to intentionally interact with each other in a different way each day, along with introducing the concept of Christmas to our then-2-year-old.
So this year I’ve recreated the calendar, albeit with a little more colour and some new activities. Little Handsome, who has an affinity for numbers and dates, looks forward to reading each slip of paper every day (actually, he likes that more than completing the activities, I think. In fact, he has all the “used” slips lined up neatly on a side table, where he reviews them on occasion). The activities provide much-needed entertainment and structure on these cold, wintry days.
We’re just past the half-way point and so far our favourite activity has been making a Christmas memory game. The game was a simple concept, easy to execute and so much fun for a boy whose greatest joy in life is separating the “numbers” from the “specials” in a stack of Uno cards. We simply purchased a package of perforated blank business cards, 2 identical packs of holiday-themed stickers and combined the two. And hours of joy ensued.
Either that was our favourite, or the ever-popular gingerbread house decorating.
Even aside from the calendar activities, this, our first Christmas in Canada since Little Handsome’s birth, promises to be a memorable one, filled with family events and holiday traditions. We’re planning to make some homemade gifts for friends and family in the coming days (waiting until the advent calendar dictates it!) and I’m looking forward to rejigging the holly salad (see below) for our family dinner.
In case you’re still planning your holiday gatherings or activities, I’d like to share a few links to some previous posts from either the blog or facebook page. Maybe something here will be just the inspiration you need for that holiday potluck dish that’s been weighing on your mind.
Whatever your holiday season brings, I do wish you the very best. Here’s to a happy, healthy new year!
Holiday meal ideas:
Red and Green Grain Veggie Bowl
Cranberry Chutney (to accompany your turkey dinner)
And my personal favourite from last year: 3D Christmas veggie tray