Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Family Advent Calendar

This proves I am no longer a perfectionist. 
Dear Lauren,

For many years now, we've had a family advent calendar. I keep the four raggedy sheets of paper that contain it in the box that gets unpacked first every year. Sometimes I can't figure out where I put that box, but that's another matter entirely.

There were a couple years that we actually accomplished every single one of these daily items in a single season. But I was a perfectionist in those years and now that I'm in recovery, I only recommend that you try to achieve all of them if it makes you happy. If it's going to stress you out, just pick a few, or one a week, or just one thing! One of my very favorites, and one I think we've done every year, is tying a Christmas ornament to the rear-view mirror of our cars. I love it! It always makes me happy even when I'm stuck in holiday traffic!

If you need proof that I'm no longer a perfectionist about these things, here it is. Yes, I did get out all of the Christmas things the day after Thanksgiving. You know this, you helped me. But the house wasn't decorated by midnight, now was it? And even a few days later, the house wasn't decorated. But my floors needed cleaning, so I just took the stuff for the tree off the floor and stuck it in the tree. And then I forgot about it. It's been two weeks. It's kinda growing on me. 
Advent Calendar

November 30
Be the first one to wish everyone you meet, “Merry Christmas!”

December 1
Hang a Christmas ornament from your car’s rear-view mirror or a wreath on the grill. Don’t forget to do this on your honey’s car, too!

December 2
Record a cheerful Christmas greeting on your answering machine

December 3
Begin a family Christmas journal. Write memories you share, events, gifts and other important things.

December 4
Take a basket of goodies to a neighbor you don’t know as well as you should.

December 5
Calla nursing home and get the names of 5 people who don’t receive much mail. Make and send a Christmas card to them.

December 6
Start working a Christmas themed jigsaw puzzle and try to finish it by Christmas Eve

December 7
Listen to Christmas music in your home and car. If you don’t have a CD or tape, SING!

December 8
Make red and green paper chains to decorate a room

December 9
Compliment at least 3 people today. Try to do it every day in December. It’ll brighten everyone’s day, including yours!

December 10
Never pass a Salvation Army bell ringer without dropping in some change. Every little bit helps and giving is better than receiving.

December 11
Load the family in the car, slip in a Christmas tape or CD and go look at holiday lights. Roll down your windows and yell “Merry Christmas” to everyone you see. Kids especially love this!

December 12
Take a family picture in the same spot every year. It’s a wonderful record of growth of your family.

December 13
Eat dinner by the light of the Christmas tree.

December 14
Make it your daily practice to do something nice for someone and not tell him or her.

December 15
Write “Joy to the World” on a frosty windowpane. If you live in a warm weather part of the country, paint it on the window or use from spray on frost.

December 16
Invite a friend who doesn’t usually attend church to go with you on Sunday. Invite them for lunch, too!

December 17
Have hot chocolate with a peppermint stick in it for a stirrer.

December 18
Relax with your family by looking at Christmas pictures and videos from years past.

December 19
Go Christmas caroling with friends at church. Bring an unsaved friend along.

December 20
When someone in your family looks stressed out, give them a really big hug!

December 21
Send your Sunday school teacher a Christmas card and a note of appreciation

December 22
Hug everyone in your family today and tell them they are the best gift of all

December 23
Watch a favorite Christmas video with your family. Have hot chocolate and popcorn. Even though we’re busy it’s always calming to spend a few mites with our family.

December 24
Before going to bed, let the children read Luke 2, Record it on a tape to play back to them when they’re grown. Sing Silent Night.

December 25
It’s Christmas! Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before you open any gifts. Let people tell what they are going to give to Jesus this year. Thank God for sending his only son.

December 26
Go through your toys today and give some to someone less fortunate than you. It is more blessed to give than receive. Also remember to write thank you notes to everyone who gave you a gift.

Feel free to substitute any of the following ideas that our friends and family have contributed as ideas over the years. They are so fun!

Paint everyone’s toenails
Have hot chocolate with all the fixings (we might do milkshakes if it’s too hot)
Star gazing
Give everyone crazy hairstyles
Backyard cricket
Go out for sushi
Have an indoor picnic
Write letters to Father Christmas
Use puppets to tell bedtime story
Have breakfast for dinner (I am thinking pancakes)
Make decorations for the tree
Have a camp out around the Christmas tree
Pack a picnic dinner and have it at a park (or Botanical Gardens)
Fancy dress for dinner time
Wrap a toy and take it to a charity Christmas tree
Make handmade gift tags for relatives
Fish and Chips for dinner down at the beach
Fold origami for the Christmas tree
Dance like crazy to music
Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn
Go out for gelato
Take Grandparents out to see the Christmas lights
Have a bubble bath
Special Christmas Eve treat TBA
Go Ice Skating
Watch It's a Wonderful Life, make spiced cider.
Exchange gifts
Make Christmas Cookies for friends.
Find Mistletoe, hang it in our house and kiss under it.
Address and Mail Christmas Cards
Go to Borders and Pick out one new Christmas CD.
Go to The Nutcracker
Handel's Messiah Sing Along
Leave out wooden shoes on December 5
Go to the Oakland Temple to see the Nativity
Make Thick Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows
Host a Christmas Sweater Party
Put up a ribbon sash for Christmas cards
Donate canned goods
Give neighbors a present
Put up a wreath
Make a Gingerbread house
Make a popcorn garland
Make hot chocolate and read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sing (or listen) to favorite Christmas songs
Drive around to see neighborhood lights
Go out and see public light display
Read Christmas story from the Bible and the Book of Mormon
Open a gift (new stocking or pajamas or pillowcase)
Make a family traditional dessert
Eat out at a festive restaurant
Go to a seasonal movie
Tell stories of childhood Christmas around the fire
Have a romantic candlelit dinner by the Christmas tree
Make decorative sugar cookies
Sign up to purchase gifts for a needy child
Host a Christmas dessert party
Write out a Christ-centered goal to start early for the New Year
Have a movie party (classic Christmas clips)
Go to a Christmas Concert
Attend City tree lighting event
Have a full traditional breakfast while listening to Christmas music



  1. What a wonderful Advent calendar! I had to share this on Facebook because it is so special. I'm going to make up my own and join you a little late.

    P.S. My tree isn't decorated yet either. All in good time. :)

    1. Stacy, yay! Hope you have as much fun with it as we have!!