Saturday, December 31, 2011

I love the idea of advent calendars. I love to see all the crafty ideas online, I love store bought kinds wooden, wool or otherwise as well as the cards with chocolate or little pictures inside in windows. But with all this fondness you would think that I would use one as a regular part of our Christmas preparation routine. I don't.  Last year I don't think we even had one. The problem is I never plan ahead enough to execute them properly. This is how it usually goes: end of November I see some crafty ideas and I want to make one so I don't buy a calendar. December 1, still haven't made one and haven't purchased one (and don't have the surprises to go inside) December 5th, If I am lucky I have found a card calendar at a drug store. I have a wooden calendar in Seattle that I can fill with little trinkets, and I did that one year but didn't like all the little things around the house, nor the shopping to find them. This year was no different, except there are do drug stores or card stores in St. Thomas to rely upon having a card calendar.

But inspiration hit just in time. On December 1st, sometime shortly before picking the kids up from school I did this: cut the unused christmas card envelopes from last year in half (to make a small pocket), then stamp them with a snowflake stamp I had carved. I hung the pockets and numbered them 1-17 (I'll explain in a moment). Inside the pocket for December 1st I planned something like: hang paper snowflakes, and each day after that we did something quite simple: make popsicle stick snowflakes, shrinky-dink decorations, eat ice cream after dinner on the deck, watch a christmas cartoon, watch a movie, read a christmas book at bedtime, visit the tree-lighting in town, have a christmas party (not so simple), eat a candle-light dinner, drink hot chocolate. We did this for only 17 days: the 17th day being our flight off the island and after that the days to christmas would be filled will visiting friends and family.

It totally worked - we missed one day (couldn't think of what to do but luckily we were invited to a friends home to swim) and I don't think it spun the kids up too much. I cannot say for sure if I'll do it again, but it would be nice to try. I'll just take each year as they come. This year, this calendar worked just fine.

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