Christmas seems to fly by faster and faster, and this year, I’m putting my foot down. I called the Farmer’s Almanac and insisted they add days to the month of December, and they were all, “Lady, that’s not what we do.” Whatever. Since I can’t extend the season, I will make the most of every single day of it.
There is no better way to heighten anticipation and make the most of a big event than with an official countdown. <insert drummers drumming here>
I’m sharing the way my fam does up the holiday with our annual Countdown to Christmas.
The kids are in charge of a literal countdown, courtesy of these creepy blocks, but my husband and I also make each day leading up to C-Day special. Going to a Christmas lights display, reading a new Christmas book, watching a Christmas movie–we try to Christmas it up as much as possible from December 1 – Christmas day. (SQUEEEEEE! CHRISTMAS!)
December 1st: Jesus is the reason for the season, so we read stories from a children’s Bible to set the tone for the month. Our 4-year-old wants to have a birthday party for the “new baby,” and I’m always down for some cake.
December 2nd: New coloring books and crayons for everyone! Of course we blast Christmas music while we color in our Elmo’s “Celebrate the Season” book.
December 3rd: Today we craft. The kids will paint ornaments that will become gifts for great-grandparents.
December 4th: Fun with bath time; I snagged some “magical” Disney towels that grow when in water. While the kids have extra play time in the tub, I’ll have extra time to clean the toilet. Life is unfair.
December 5th: Twenty days ’til Christmas! Today we build a felt Santa and add cotton balls to his beard in yet another attempt to officially count down to Christmas! We did this last year and I can’t find the picture, but I totally got the idea from the OopseyDaisyBlog, and here’s what hers looks like:
December 6th: My BFF and I decided long ago that instead of exchanging gifts no one really needs, we would spend time together. Each December, we dedicate a day to our families; this year she and her brood are coming here to build gingerbread houses, eat lunch, and do whatever the mood strikes. And if it’s up to the kids, a sugar high will strike.
December 7th: We will bake. We have special cupcake wrappers and festive sprinkles. I’ll send my kids to school on a sugar high. You’re welcome, teachers.
December 8th: I wrap a small stack of holiday books and put them under the tree. Every few days during our countdown, the kids unwrap one book and we read it before bed. Tonight is the first new book!
December 9th: Mornings are always a bit crazy for us (aren’t they for everyone?!), but today I am determined to slow things down and make a special breakfast. I’ve yet to decide, but I’m leaning toward homemade pancakes (because they’re easy) that I can garnish with raisins and strawberries and whipped cream. We will have Santa pancakes, oh yes.
December 10th: We’ll head to the mall where the kiddos will ride the train until they’re dizzy. I will sip my Starbucks from a nearby table, offering the obligatory wave as they round the bend. Choo-choo, baby.
December 11th: We’ll make homemade Christmas cards for the neighbors Mommy likes. What? Like you really enjoy every one of your neighbors! I cut two pieces of poster board into more manageable sizes, and the kids get to decorating. We’ll hand-deliver them.
December 12th: Another new bedtime book!
December 13th: We’ll hit up a local high school for their Christmas show.
December 14th: Popcorn and movie night. I bought a special popcorn tub that fits enough of the fluffy buttery stuff to weigh the kids down just in time for bed. I’m thoughtful like that.
December 15th: Today is one my family’s favorite traditions: we head to The Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum that, for a month out of the year, is transformed into a Christmas wonderland. From intricate details the adults will appreciate to interactive displays small hands can touch, the museum really is a great family-friendly spot to make your new Christmas tradition. Check out their show times HERE and make plans to go!
December 16th: We pile in the car with some hot chocolate and blare Christmas carols as we drive around looking at Christmas lights.
December 17th: Each kid gets a storage bin (10 x 10 x 10) and then has to fill it with toys that they don’t play with any more. We’ll donate them together. It’s a two-fold success: my kids learn to share and I have help cleaning up.
December 18th: My husband’s high school choir puts on a holiday show, so we’ll take the kids and say a silent prayer that our daughter doesn’t try to run up on stage. Actually, that would be pretty spectacular. I may coax her…
December 19th: New Christmas shirts for all! Just in time for school parties and forced family photos courtesy of moi.
December 20th: We got a nice surprise this year and tried out the new VTech® Kidizoom® Action Cam, which is like a kid version of the GoPro. My 6 and 4-year-olds recorded themselves and their friends jumping on a trampoline, riding their bikes, and belching words. They’re classy like that. Awesome gift for our little digital natives, and at under $60, it’s easy on the Christmas budget.
December 21st: Since I bought my weight in supplies, we craft our little hearts out. I find the BEST stuff at Michaels–we’ll paint miniature Christmas trees, build a snow-covered village out of foam and cotton balls, and make reindeer out of the baby’s feet courtesy of some paint and a canvas. We’re very simple crafters, but what we create make great Grandparent gifts!
December 22nd: Our last new book!
December 23rd: No school and no work means it’s our annual Yes Day. Kids pick the activities and, within reason, husband and I say yes. In the past, this has led to a picnic at the park, despite our warnings that it’s REALLY REALLY cold. Note to self: little kids don’t mind the cold.
December 24th: IS IT REALLY CHRISTMAS EVE?! So exciting! Kids get new Christmas PJs, we read Twas the Night Before Christmas, and then the visiting begins. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, oh my! Food, cookies, gifts, weeeeee! Can you tell I get excited?
December 25th: MERRY CHRISTMAS! The kids will wake ungodly early which is a shame because their dad and I were probably up very late putting the finishing touches on their presents. But their excitement is contagious and we oblige their pre-sunrise invitation to head downstairs to the tree. I’m ready to crash around 10am, but manage to stay awake during Mass. That’s just a prediction, I can’t speak to what will actually happen. But if you go to our church and you see me drifting, don’t judge.
May your holiday travels be safe, your days be bright, your lives be full of peace. Merry Christmas, pals!
Can I go home with you?
Special thanks to V-Tech & the Western PA Model Railroad Museum for sponsoring this post!