Don’t let Christmas become a stressful time for you and your family. Follow these tips to simplify Christmas with this easy family advent calendar.
Simplify Christmas this year
One of my favorite bloggers, Christy from Stained with Style, recently shared a Huffington Post article on her Facebook page. The article was titled “Holiday Magic Is Made By Women. And It’s Killing Us.” You can read the entire article here, but the general theme is that, as women, we tend to carry the burden of creating holiday magic for our families. In doing so we get exceptionally stressed out and start to think we aren’t doing a good enough job.
As I read the article, I found myself realizing that as stressed as I am with 3 kids, I’m not stressed about Christmas at all this year. In fact, this is the first year where I feel like everything is going exceptionally well (I realize it’s only Dec. 4th- check in with me on Dec. 23rd for an update). You should know that I’m still extremely overwhelmed by life, and stressed about my dirty home, work/ life balance, and a general feeling of not always being a good enough wife, mom, and friend. You know, the normal mom/ woman feelings that come with hormones. However, as far as Christmas goes this year, I feel like I’m nailing it.
The reason I feel this way is because I found a fun way to make an easy family Advent calendar, and it’s changed the way I deal with the holiday season. Everything I want to accomplish this month is written down on one calendar and I feel like I can actually accomplish it all.
I want to make sure you can feel relaxed and confident about Christmas too. That’s why I’m sharing the easy family Advent calendar that we put together.
How to create a family Advent calendar
I picked up this idea at a Moms of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting. It was my first MOPS meeting ever and I had no idea what to expect. The speaker for the meeting was a preschool director at the local Baptist church. As a cradle Episcopalian, I’ve always celebrated the season of Advent, but I’ve never done more than buy a candy Advent calendar and read the readings while lighting our Advent candles each Sunday.
Our speaker shared her family’s tradition of creating a family Advent calendar together. I’ve seen the 25 days of giving, and 25 days of kindness calendars on Pinterest, but I’d never thought to do 25 days of family activities. The best part about this is that it’s essentially a free way to celebrate Christmas with your family.
Here ‘s how to make this so easy- you put things on the calendar that you would do anyway. For example, we put Christmas preschool party, bake cookies, make presents for teachers, shop for presents, and visit Santa on our calendar. We also looked up all the free activities in our city and put those on our calendar.
We sat down as a family at breakfast one day and wrote down all the things we wanted to do during the holidays. The boys suggested hot cocoa, reading Christmas books, and watching Christmas movies. I added those to the calendar then typed them up, printed them, and put them into my reusable Advent calendar that I bought on sale after the holidays several years ago at Target for $4!
You can plan plans, but you can’t plan results
I can’t tell you how great it feels to have everything we want to do during Christmas planned for a certain day.
The secret to making this a success is to go with the flow and not get upset if we don’t have the time to do said activity on that day. For the most part we didn’t put things on the calendar that had to be done except for the preschool play and the Christmas Eve church service. This takes a lot of stress out of the holidays because I have a list of things I want to do but I don’t have to do them. I think the only issue will be if the kids get their hearts set on making cookies and we can’t fit it in on that day. That’s why I had to carefully plan our calendar to put activities on days that weren’t already too busy.
Check in with me halfway through December to see if I’m going with the flow!
24 ideas for a family Advent calendar
- decorate the Christmas tree
- bake cookies
- visit Santa
- buy Christmas presents for family members
- watch a Christmas movie
- read a Christmas book as a family and drink hot cocoa
- go on a drive to see Christmas lights
- decorate a gingerbread house
- make wrapping paper
- make Christmas cards
- have a family picnic by the Christmas tree
- have a pajama dance party to Christmas music
- make Christmas ornaments
- make presents for teachers
- make presents for friends
- host a holiday themed play date
- donate canned goods to charity
- go to a tree lighting ceremony
- make up your own Christmas carols
- color a Christmas coloring sheet
- deliver cookies to neighbors
- go to a Christmas parade
- go to Christmas events at your child’s school
- participate in Christmas events at church
More easy Advent ideas
- Create an Advent wreath and read readings during each Sunday in Advent.
- Do the 25 days of books by wrapping books from the library each week.
- Pick up the 99 cent chocolate calendars from Trader Joe’s.