we had a "fun" advent calendar when i was growing up. i put fun in quotes, because really i think anything is fun when you're a kid as long as it involves some sort of action. the action in our calendar was simply taking the velcro ornament off of the number (of days left to christmas) and placing it on the felt tree above. we would sometimes put off decorating until the week of christmas, so i remember literal fights breaking out over who got to pull off what number and place it on the tree!!!
the last few years i've tried different ideas of that same idea:
the kids and i made a calendar with old egg cartons numbered 1-25 on them. we cut out different colored circles and numbered them and then as the days would pass we would tape the circles on the egg carton bumps. *yeah, that was kinda a lame idea, but the kids still LOVED to take their turns putting the numbers up!*
last year we just made a colorful paper chain and hung it high. each link was numbered and each day one of the kids would get to rip it off. it was fun to see that chain shorten...
this year i've been inspired by some fun and crafty friends. first, i had a friend blog about her CUTE "advent calendar" that was made by her mother-in-law who's into those stamping things. the m-i-l made these cute little baskets to fill each year with candy. my healthy friend liked the idea, but didn't like the sugar over-load part. so, she asked for more ideas here (where you can go and see pictures and everything!). then, i had a facebook friend hook me up with this website for a totally easy and much more fun idea...
this year, i'm doing THE CHRISTMAS JAR! today was our first activity (it being dec. 1) and that was: making the christmas jar!!! then, i put 24 more activities on slips of papers and each night we'll draw the activity for tomorrow. we'll do it the day prior so that i can make sure i have all the materials needed... i'm so excited and i think it'll be hard to wait each day on the activities!!! today, just as i was writing them down i wanted to do them.
in case you're interested in doing this, i'll include my 24 ideas (most of which i borrowed from the "this website" link above):
make hand/feet reindeer (which i spelled wrong, but oh well) and some reindeer food for them! (i might do this recipe though.)
sing christmas carols (which i also spelled wrong) at the piano, or GO caroling.
visit a nursing home.
drive around to see the christmas lights.
make paper snowflakes.
bake cookies to take to the fire station.
make some christmas cards.
make snow globes.
watch a christmas movie together, as a family.
act out the christmas story, or the nativity scene.
make jesus a birthday cake.
shop for stocking stuffers for each sibling.
make a snowman (either real -outside- or with art supplies).
make a christmas tree.
bake and decorate christmas cookies.
blare the christmas music LOUD.
make jello jigglers.
gather old toys and clothes to GIVE to those in need.
write a note/draw a picture for each family member. put it in their stocking.
drink hot cocoa by the fire.
read the TRUE Story of Christmas (i hope we leave this one for last!)
go to the library and pick out some christmas books and movies.
make some ornaments.
make red and green popcorn balls.
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."