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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Simple Activities to Make Your Holiday Brighter

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Every year I do countdowns with my kids. I think it is a great way to celebrate each day and do something fun with them. When I get ready to make a countdown, I look at what we did the previous year. I started when my kids were toddlers, Keagan was about 3 and Libby was barely walking. I keep the activities we really liked and then add a few new ones.

 I then check out my library's website. They have an activity calendar for each month posted there. I check and see what fun activities they have going on. We have a few libraries that are close to us, so I have a pretty good selection to choose from. I also check out my parks and recreation site. They usually have some fun, free things for families to do. I always look for free activities. Doing a countdown doesn't have to cost a lot. I choose simple activities, which I will usually have the stuff on hand to do.

Sometimes it is easy to browse pinterest and see all the fun countdown activities and such. This can leave you feeling like you have to rush out and buy craft supplies and what not. Resist that urge. Always base your countdowns around what you already have. When your kids look back, they will not remember the money you spent. They will remember the moments shared together. I always remind myself of this when the urge to spend rears its ugly head.

After the list is made, we make a countdown chain. All you need is construction paper and a pencil. Write your activities on the chains or the days till Christmas. It's a free, easy way to countdown to the Merry day!

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Now that you know how I make my countdown lists,
 let's check out this years Christmas activity countdown.

1. Visit Ethel M. Chocolate Factory
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Every year we have a tradition of visiting Ethel M. Chocolate Factory. You get to go on a small factory tour and then see all the lights they set up in the cactus garden. It is fun for the whole family. Makes for a great Family Home Evening too. Oh and did I mention it is FREE. Oh yes my favorite thing!

2. Make gingerbread houses
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3. Make reindeer pancakes
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I have some fun molds I found on Ebay. 
They are great for making festive pancakes. 

4. Deliver treats to friends

5. Go carolling

6.Drink hot chocolate

7. Drive around and look at Christmas lights
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This is an easy, free activity. Just pop some popcorn and go for a drive after dinner. It is a perfect time to check out all the fancy lights in your neighborhood

8. Watch Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas and have a "Grinch Feast"
Our Grinch Feast" will consist of who-roast beef sandwiches, fruit, and who-chocolate pudding. Simple and yummy! 

9. Bake Christmas Sugar Cookies and frost them

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10. Play pin the nose on the reindeer

11. Go Christmas shopping for siblings
This is where we give each of our littles $10. They then get to shop for their sibling. They have to stay within budget. We also have them earn the money by doing extra chores around the house.

12. Ice cream cone treat
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13. Elf Breakfast
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 We watch the movie Elf and have a special Elf worthy breakfast. Powdered doughnuts, marshmallows, and fruit. Not nutritional at all, but a lot of fun for the kids. Hey they are only this little once:)


14. Christmas mega movie night + living room camp out
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We bring the kids mattresses out into the living room, pile up the blankets and pillows, and have a camp out. We watch 2-3 Christmas movies, eat pizza, and snack on popcorn treats. We do this for Halloween too and my kids love it!

15. Christmas Story Time @ Library
I try to participate in as much stuff at the library as I can. It is fun for the kids and FREE. What more can you ask for? Just check out your library's website and see what activities they have going on.

16. Make a Christmas Star
When we do this activity we always talk about the new star that appeared in the sky when Christ was born. This is a simple way to do a craft with them and teach them as well.

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17. Make Snowflakes
They love making simple paper snowflakes and hanging them throughout the house. These stay up till after January. They double as winter decor as well.

18. Set up the manger and read Room for a Little One


19. $5 Crazy Dinner
I write "main course", "side dish", "drink", and "dessert" on slips of paper. We each pick a slip from a hat and then go to the store together. We each pick something to go with our type of dish, but we can only spend $5. Once we get all our food, we come home, cook it, and do a movie night. My kids love this one. We do it each year.

20. Watch Charlie Brown Christmas and have a treat

21. Make a hand print Christmas Tree

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22. Make a new ornament for the tree

23. Donate toys to charity
We let the kids each pick out a new toy at the store. We then donate it to a charity. We also have them go through their old toys and donate a few as well. This is a great time to talk to your kids about how some children may not get toys this Christmas. I try to do this, so that my children know how important it is for us to help others. We started this with them as toddlers and now they look forward to donating items at Christmas time. They are happy they are able to make someone's holiday brighter.


24. Read the Christmas Story and have a family brunch
We do this every year with my husbands family. We all exchange our secret Santa presents and have a Christmas Eve brunch. It is always so fun. We also talk to the kids about the Christmas story (birth of Christ) BEFORE presents are opened. It is a great reminder for them and me. I never want to forget why this great holiday is celebrated.

25. Christmas Day!

Each day we do one of these activities. I always try to chose simple things that we can do, even when busy schedules occur. I always try to remember it is about my littles enjoying the holidays. It has to be fun for them. That is the most important thing for me. We also do a Christmas Book List (I will post this year's list soon).

Some other fun Christmas activities are

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Cookie Wreaths 

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M and M Syllable Trees

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Addition Christmas Tree

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Make Snowman Pancakes

Are you ready to make a Christmas countdown for your family? Go on...you will have such a fun time celebrating this joyous month with your littles!. Let me know what you all do to help celebrate the season. I love hearing what others do...it is a great way to get some more ideas :)

Have a wonderful day lovelies!

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3 comments:

  1. These are all so awesome! I will have to remember this for when I have kids :) not gonna lie though, the living room camp out looks amazing jut for myself & boyfriend! Haha

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  2. We are doing a similar thing for our countdown - various activities and crafts each night. I save the more time consuming ones for the weekends. Ours include making caramel corn, decorating sugar cones 'trees', making a finger print candy came, stirring cocoa with candy canes and making marshmallows. Our kids aren't quite old enough for the movie fest but it sounds fun! We are also making a snowman pizza one day for lunch.

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  3. love the idea of making a paper chain with an activities on it! Much more fun than our usual calender of events. Love the Elf breakfast idea so cute. Might have to steal that one in honor of out house elf Larek! haha

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Thank you so much for all your sweet comments. I read every.single.one. They rock my socks! Thanks!

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