Bring your family together with a countdown activity calendar
When our children were young, I wanted the run up to Christmas to be less about stress and more about having fun together. So every December 1, I put up this handmade calendar.
Behind each pocket I placed a piece of paper on which was written a simple activity that we could share.
You can imagine the kids’ excitement when it was their turn to pull a slip.
Few of our activities cost money. You can see a full suggestion list here (scroll down), but some examples:
- Make cookies to take to local fire department
- Sing carols and write new words to some
- Craft placemats from old holiday cards
- Walk around the neighborhood and collect items to create a holiday tablescape (our kids loved being outside at night, the colder the better!)
It wasn’t too many years until the calendar took center stage in our holiday festivities. Even when the kids became teenagers and weren’t all that thrilled about spending time with the family and declared most anything we suggested, “lame,” the ritual of getting out the calendar each year, unrolling it and joining in the activities, continued to–if not thrill–at least engage them.
When Corey had children, she “inherited” the calendar.
You don’t have to sew a fabric calendar with pockets like ours to start a similar tradition.
Here’s a cute recycled one you can make using paper bags and catalog or magazine pages.
And another from recycled toilet paper tubes!
Of course, the calendar is not the important part. The activities that draw everyone together each evening are what make this project so special.
And if your family falls in love with the idea, why not create a similar calendar for birthdays or any other annual event?
What do you do to slow down the December rush and enjoy your family?
*Photos of our calendar by Holli Dunn.
Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.