It’s November. And when November comes around each year, I am not thinking about Thanksgiving. No. I am already planning for Christmas. My mind is going over travel plans, gifts to buy, and how to create memories with my little ones.
When I was a child, I lived in utter anticipation of Christmas. A few years during my childhood, my mother bought a pre-stocked Advent cardboard house. Every day, we’d open a window and fight over the piece of chocolate that was hidden inside. The chocolate wasn’t even that good, but the countdown was something to look forward to each day.
Now that I am a mother, although I am not a full-on Pinterest mom, I think the idea of including a countdown in our daily routine adds to the magic of Christmas and in our family, is an opportunity to reflect each day on Jesus’ birth. Below are eight easy ways to incorporate a Christmas countdown this holiday season.
There’s an App for That
Christmas Countdown! is a free and easy-to-use app that you can pull up each day with your kids. It gives options of ways to countdown including sleeps, days, hours, minutes, seconds, heartbeats, and more.
Advent Christmas Tree
You can buy Christmas ornaments and wrap them in boxes under the tree. Every day, open one up to add to the small tree. Or if you are really ambitious? Have your kids make a Christmas ornament each day. You can use a religious or general Christmas theme.
Simple Number Garland
Make or buy the numbers for the countdown and put them on individual papers to hang on your mantle or in a common area. On the back, have Christmas themed images or scripture or nothing at all. Every day, have the kids flip that day’s number around to reveal what’s on the back or let them hang that day’s number up on the string. Simple and easy.
If you’re really ambitious, hide a small gift around the house each day and hold a scavenger hunt. It’s not just a gift but a way to expend energy and keep your kids active.
Necklace with Charms
If you would like to do the Advent calendar but don’t have time or energy to buy all the gifts yourself, this Advent calendar includes 24 charms to add to a bracelet or necklace. I’m doing this with my oldest daughter this year because she loves all things tiny (hence all the pom-poms currently residing inside my vacuum cleaner). These charms are right up her alley.
Advent Calendar with Storage Drawers
Buy an Advent calendar with storage drawers. I made my own a few years ago out of toilet paper rolls then bought one on sale after Christmas. Mom win.
Decide what is important to you about Christmas. Use the daily countdown time to teach them about it. For us, I read a scripture each day about Jesus’ birth and included either a gift or something that connected with the scripture.
Christmas Paper Chain
Your countdown can be as simple as making a paper chain. Every day the month before Christmas, add a link to the Christmas chain and by the time Christmas comes along, the chain will be long. You can add the chain to the Christmas tree or some prominent place in the house so it’s always visible.
Experiences as a Countdown
Let’s face it. If there’s any time of year when we are hit in between the eyes with the realization of the amount of toys our kids own, it’s Christmas. If you’re like me and desire to slow down on the accumulation of stuff, then consider a countdown to Christmas that includes experiences like going on a drive in your van to see Christmas lights, Christmas carols with hot chocolate around the Christmas tree, going to see The Nutcracker, or any of the light shows in the area, ice skating, visiting Santa or doing a family service project, like Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.
You can do a countdown that incorporates a mixture of experiences, gifts, scripture, or anything else, really. The sky is the limit when it comes to counting down to Christmas and the wonderful thing about this is you can make it specific to your family. What’s most important? The memories you make while doing it together.