Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Craftiness- Part 1- Advent Calendars

Despite outside obligations calling us in too many directions, I am feeling blessed that we have been able to squeeze in lots of Christmas craftiness around here. The house is a messy disaster, and we are finding stray glitter in everything, but it's fun anyway. It started the last week in November with Advent calendars. My kids have wanted to have one for years, and I have fond memories of my own childhood holidays, opening little doors each day to find a new miniature surprise. I also remember opening doors ahead of the day and sneakily eating my future treat, without ever really thinking what I was going to do when that day came.

Anyway, back to my kids and this Christmas... my younger child is always anxious to get started with the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving, but since his older sister has a birthday the first week in December, I keep the holiday decorations away until after she has had a chance to have her special day celebrated without a Christmas tree taking up half of the living room. But, both kids were excited about the idea of making Advent calendars, and it seemed a small and unobtrusive enough thing as to not take away from the birthday excitement.

We started with a large square of felt for each kid. They came up with their overall design- one with a tree theme and one with a stocking theme, and cut out and sewed on the shapes and all the little pockets. This was great experience on the sewing machine for both of them.

They numbered the pockets with fabric paint, and we hung the finished calendars with clothespins on a ribbon strung across the wall. Since the Advent calendars go through the 24th- Christmas Eve we will take them down, and hang the stockings in their place. It took a few hours and we ended up with a couple of cute calendars that are reusable for next year.

Due to the memory of myself as a child eating my treats ahead of schedule, trying to blame it on my brother, and ending up making my mom annoyed with both of us, I decided not to fill all the pockets in my kids calendars in advance. I thought I'd do it each night after they go to bed, and they'd find their surprise every morning. Unfortunately for my kids, they have a slacker mom who isn't all that on top of every day kind of things, so sometimes (OK, maybe semi-often) I don't have the present in the pocket before they get up. Sometimes, I don't even have the present itself, or any idea of what it will be, so it ends up being a surprise all around. I don't want to do a chocolate kiss or candy cane every day, so in theory, I was going to be creative with non sugar surprises too. The kids started joking that “It's not really today yet” when they get up and see the empty pocket. After my coffee, when my brain is functioning at a slightly higher level, I come up with something, and they always like it. Once though, we left early in the morning and completely forgot about it until late that night, so they had two pockets full the next day. There was a chorus of “Yay- It's yesterday and today!” around the calendars that morning.

Maybe next year I will be organized enough to have the treats in mind and on hand before the actual day, but then again, maybe I won't. Either way, I hope when my kids are grown that they will remember the fun of the projects they made. And I'll continue clinging to the ideal that in the end, the overall happiness of the season is more important than precise punctuality anyway.