Years ago I purchased a big, reusable Advent calendar. I love how it looks hung up and thought it would be special to have one we use every year. The problem has been filling it. With 4 kids and little pouches filled with chocolate… it started to turn into a daily argument of who’s turn it was to eat the chocolate instead of a special part of the holiday season. I thought about cramming 4 pieces in a day, but something about 100 pieces of chocolate and giving into their sibling disputes didn’t feel like the Christmas spirit. I was trying to think up a fun new way to fill up an advent calendar. I thought of filling it with Christmas memories.
Before I lose you… this is not a super fancy, requires a trip to the craft store, going to take up hours, Pinterest project. I actually tried it myself to see how long it would take before even recommending it to others. I did this in under 5 minutes in my email. Printed it, cut it up and then it took the same amount of time to fill an advent calendar with chocolate.
Now a little background: The Christmas season is truly magical for children. While it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and all the activities around us, no matter what there is magic. Sometimes I feel like I have to “do it all” at the holidays to make it “memorable”. We don’t. The month of December, regardless of which activities you choose and what traditions you have in your house, you are making Christmas memories. As my kids grow, I realize that sometimes it’s the super small little moments they remember vs the overpriced tickets to the holiday shows I splurged on. Or maybe it is the holiday show (with the over priced tickets) they remember and that’s why we do it right? Big and small, do what you can and enjoy it. We need to focus more on letting it “just be” a memorable season and do what we can instead of trying TOO hard and exhausting ourselves.
Also, as a parent, I’m starting to see how fast these really magical years with our kids believing in each and every bit of the magic goes. The years are flying by and no matter how hard I try, I can’t slow it down. I worry sometimes I’ll forget the little things and the memories we make each year. More on that here.
A Fun New Way to Fill An Advent Calendar
This all led me to my fun new way to fill an Advent calendar: we are filling it with Christmas memories. The really special part about taking the 5 minute to type up the 25 memories is that I’ll now have them jotted down for years to come. And just think, if I type up 25 a year, someday I can pass along a list of hundreds and hundreds of memories to my children. They’ll have these memories to take with them to their own families someday, to make more of their own.
The fun thing when we select a memory out of the Advent calendar each day is to talk about it. The kids won’t remember all of these – some things I chose happened before they were born. These memories are also conversation starters. We’ll talk about the memory, see who remembers what, etc. This year I even put a few memories from when I was little because the kids love when I tell stories from when I was a kid.
Now for the super simple “how to” Fill An Advent Calendar With Christmas Memories
- Open up your email (or Microsoft Word if you are real fancy)
- Make a list of 25 Christmas memories. These should be 1 line. Remember, they are also meant to be a family conversation starter.
- Print the list, cut it and place 1 memory in each of the 25 spots in the advent calendar
- Email the list to yourself so you have it forever
- Read 1 memory a day for the next month and enjoy!
A few examples I did to get you started:
- Watching It’s a Wonderful Life with Grammy
- When we went to see the living Nativity and fed the animals
- Maggie’s first Christmas she got the Little People doll house
- Alex’s first Christmas she got a walker and didn’t want to get out of it the rest of the day
- Tommy’s first Christmas he was so tiny – he was the youngest of all the kids at his 1st Christmas
- Miles was the oldest of the kids at his first Christmas so he could sit up, crawl around and open gifts
- Daddy’s favorite Christmas gift as a kid was a new bike
- Mommy’s favorite Christmas gift as a kid was her American Girl Doll
- The Christmas after Mommy & Daddy got engaged, they spent it at the beach house and it was warm enough to walk around on the beach all day
- When Maggie was 3 we got the front row of church even though it was so crowded because she asked nicely for a seat to see Baby Jesus
- One year the big tree in NYC came from the convent down the street from Mommy’s school where her principal lived
- We read Twas the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve