Hello Angel! I loved your little Christmas wrap-up yesterday and wanted to share the ONE Christmas decoration we have put up so far: a stocking Advent garland made by Ben (with a little help from me).
I was so determined to make a beautiful Advent calendar this year but have been so busy and overwhelmed, it didn't happen. Ben has been asking about a calendar for weeks, begging me to purchase the cheap chocolate kind at the grocery store, so I decided it was time to make one, even if it is temporary!
Last week, Ben noticed the template for my Scrappy Stocking Ornament lying around my desk and asked me if he could color it. That's when a little light went off in my head. I created a coloring page for him on card stock by tracing 6 stockings. 4 pages of stockings make 24, perfect for Advent!
While I was sewing, Ben sat at the table next to me with his markers. We talked about all the special things we do during December and he drew them. Our family celebrates Winter Solstice, so several of the pictures focus on that -- making bird feeders, lighting the candle, eating mushrooms for dinner (husband's traditional Solstice recipe!). We also celebrate Christmas and many of Ben's drawings depict the magic of that holiday for him: decorating the tree, Santa and his reindeer, opening gifts with his little brother. We also talked about winter and what's special about it so he drew a lot of snow- and ice-related things.
Here are some of my favorites:
Putting the star on top of the Christmas tree
Santa and his reindeer, and Santa jumping
from behind a huge pile of presents (keep dreaming, kiddo!)
A birdhouse hanging from a tree in the snow
The Solstice candle and ice-skating
A snowman and a fierce snowball fight
Possibly my 2 favs: Santa's reindeer being attacked by a shark while flying over the ocean and a young hip Santa with a brown beard and hipster jeans
After Ben had finished drawing his 24 stockings, we glued the 4 pages onto red and green construction paper. I then cut out the stockings and arranged them by alternating colors. I stamped numbers from 1 through 24 on the construction paper side, then punched holes at the top and threaded some yarn through. I tied a little knot at the top of each stocking, then we hung the garland in the center of the house.
Instead of little gifts or candy, I wanted to do an activity or experience Advent calendar this year and this garland sort of serves this purpose. You can see great examples of this type Advent calendars on the blogs Smashed Peas and Carrots and All Things Simple, among others.
The garland doesn't have slots or pockets for activities. What we did is this: the hubby and I sat down with a calendar, a list of our existing holiday commitments and a bunch of additional ideas. We created a list of special activities for each day of the month up until Christmas, including preparing for and celebrating Solstice. Other things are: making and delivering treats to our neighbors, collecting toys we don't use anymore to give away, visiting Santa at the mall, taking a walk to collect pine cones for birdfeeders, writing a letter to Santa, making gifts for grandparents, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows, and more.
Ben at 4 is just beginning to understand the concept of calendars, so he looks at his garland in the morning and we talk about what day/number it is and what special thing we're doing that day. It's been fun so far! Even though we won't use this garland next year, this project kept him occupied with a fun, thoughtful project for a while, which we can now enjoy as a family each day of the holidays.
What fun holiday crafts are you doing with your kiddos? I'd love to hear! Please come back tomorrow for a book review and giveaway courtesy of Lark Crafts, and next week for another fabulous giveaway by our sponsor Fat Quarter Shop. Whee!! Happy Holidays!