Disclaimer: I originally wrote a Christmas Carol Countdown in 2010 when I first started this blog. I had no followers, my family were the only ones who read it. I didn't know anything about blogging or linky parties, etc. So I wrote a Countdown. This year, I decided to do "The Best of..." and re-post those blogs. I wasn't good at doing it every day, so I will also write original posts. The original set of blogs can be found in the subject list in the right hand column. Just click "Christmas."
I promised to tell you about traditions our young family had at Christmas time. My mom made each of my children an advent calendar. The one she made for my second daughter had a Christmas tree with lots of little pockets below for the countdown. It was 1980 and the girls were one- and three-years-old. That was when the most delightful Christmas tradition idea sprouted in my head.
I used the advent calendar with the pockets and in each pocket I put a slip of paper with a Christmasey thing to do. Some were traditional: go get the tree, decorate the tree, and the others ranged from the boisterous to giving service. Before December, I would map out when the Christmas shows would be on TV. Watching "How The Grinch Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and "Frosty the Snowman" were a must. A slip of paper would go in the proper day when we would watch them on TV. I might remind you right here that this was pre-video player and videos. It was just in its infancy and hardly anyone had them. We watched what we wanted to watch on TV when it was on TV at the exact time.
Next I would put in the slips for Setting Up The Manger, Reading the Christmas Story from the Bible, and also the traditional: Write Letters To Santa.
Two of the most anticipated days were for Slurping Jello and the Balloon Game. To prepare for Slurping Jello, make a regular, fruit-free jello, but add a little more water. About a quarter cup. Jello should still set up, but be a little soft. When ready, give everyone a paper plate with an equal amount of Jello on it and a straw. It helps if the straws are wider, if possible. Sitting at the table, wait for the signal: Ready, Set, Go! Everyone slurps Jello through the straw! It might be quite an easy task, I never found out. Invariably, the sound of slurped jello busted everyone out in laughter. We soldiered on until the first person slurped up all their jello and was declared Winner!
The kids LOVED it, we all had fun and it was a short little activity too. Not every one of our things took loads of time.
A couple of hints I have for Advent Activity Countdown is:
1. The slips are secret. No one knows until the pull the slip and read it aloud.
2. I would usually end up moving slips around to fit our days. Sometimes I would need a quick activity and so I would swap a longer one with a shorter one.
Tomorrow, more activities from the Advent Countdown Calendar!
I've written it before, Christmases that have children involved, around, underfoot and anticipating Santa are the richest of all.
This leads me to today's Countdown Carol. It's a song my mom often sang around Christmas and this version was done by Andrea Bocelli and children on his Christmas Special one year. Andrea is one of my treasures. I own everything he has ever recorded. One magic year, my husband gave me tickets to see him in concert! Probably about 5 years ago, the tickets were $200 a piece. It was tremendous...and all the other superlatives you can think of! Here's my pick for today. Enjoy!