Friday, 7 December 2012

the advent calendar ♥

last december lucy was just too little to understand the excitement of an advent calendar... so instead we gave her ikea's rocking moose on the first of december and had it out as a decoration/toy for the rest of the month... then he moved downstairs to rock it out...

this year lucy gets to experience her first advent calendar ♥

i didn't give her the traditional chocolate one that i always grew up with (in fact... my mom got me one every year up until last year when lucy came along...) or one the picture ones that family sometimes sent from finland.

instead i bought these adorable little baggies from the penny paper co. and following lindsay's idea, i printed out some numbers onto an iron-on transfer sheet. 

the little baggies now hang on a birch branch from my parents' farm that is hung by some twine attached to m3 hooks high on the wall close to the ceiling. each little baggie is filled with age appropriate gifts.

on the first of december, lucy opened up the little baggie and got a santa toy i gave her last year for her first christmas (i had packed it away in january... maybe she'll get it again next year ♥

 schleich's arctic and antarctic animals (fyi - homesense sells packages of animals in scenes for a much better price than toy stores) and some of my favourite wooden animals - anamalz

a colouring book, stickers and some treats

a couple of christmas books - 'room for a little one' is a sweet book about always having space for one more animal in the manger... and then there is still space for a little Baby... i got emotional reading that one in the book store.
'silent night' is a neat looking book (since lucy might judge her books by their covers... i know i do) with pages that are layered with different parts of the nativity scene and can be sung aloud.

the lovely little finger puppets are by petit minou of christine elliott designs (i picked them up from the mamas and chicks show)
they are so beautifully and well hand crafted and are tiny enough to fit lucy's fingers ♥

'mintun joulu' is an adorable finnish book that shows many traditonal finnish christmas customs.
this was my book when i was little  and this is actually *the* 'minttu' that my lucy minttu was named after ♥
i grew up reading her comics

there are so many photos going around about how to present the advent calendar itself... or you can just look on pinterest... but i'd like to leave you with some idea of what to actually include *in* the advent calendars...

-on december first, give a chain or necklace hoop. then give one bead each following day to add onto the necklace. by the 24th, they'll have a whole necklace.

-mikko's dad did this for him when he was little: buy a lego kit. each day give a piece of the kit and the little section of the instructions that are needed to put the kit together. slowly the child will figure out what the theme is. by the 24th, the whole lego kit will be assembled and they'll have a new toy.

-playmobil makes an advent calendar - brilliant on their part! i would like to get lucy the nativity scene. i would give a different piece each day and then by the 24th, she'd have a whole nativity set. she'd be able to play with this and act out the story of Jesus' birth for years to come. i also like the 'christmas market' kit - they still have the traditional markets in finland and i'd like to show lucy that one day.

-i love 'mer mag's' idea of a christmas books advent calendar. i tried to keep my eyes open for christmas books throughout the year at thrift stores and yard sales... i managed to find maybe five books. so i'll keep those for another year. i think i'll also look for sales right after christmas.

-for a little one that doesn't have any animals yet - schleich, anamalz, playmobil and toobs all make great animals. the calendar could have all farm animals, or zoo, or wild animals... or a mix of different types

-for the child that's into arts and crafts - give them a different supply, tool or material to work with each day. though the dollar store has a lot of options, you can also find a lot of free options around the house or outside (e.g. recycled materials, pine cones, rocks...)

-the gifts in advent calendars don't have to be material objects - you can write down different christmas or winter related activities for the family to do together... the activities of course have to be appropriate for the the kids' ages. 
some examples:
- make hot chocolate - make a snowman - go caroling - go sledding - go skating - volunteer at a food bank - watch a christmas movie - go to a church's christmas concert - make an ornament - decorate the tree - make stockings - hang up christmas lights - 
it would be so cute to wrap up the little ideas into mini scrolls:

it's your turn... tell me some of your ideas for advent calendars...

... i realize we're already well into december... but that's what happened... i'm still posting this in hopes that it might inspire you for next christmas ♥

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