Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Getting Crafty: Simple Activity-Based Holiday Countdown

We haven't had an advent calendar in our house for a few years now, since my old one self-destructed in storage one year.   But this year is different.  This year, my girls understand that Christmas comes after momma's birthday and we needed a way for them to countdown to the day (and to keep my ears from falling off from hearing "is it here yet?" 400 times a day).

I love the idea of the countdown chain that I have seen a lot of other bloggers do to help their kids get excited about family vacations, so I knew that is the direction I was going to take...I just wanted it to be something reusable.  So here's what I did.

Materials needed:

  • 4 - sheets of fun foam in holiday colours - cut into 25 strips
  • 1 - piece of cardboard 8X10
  • Self-adhesive velcro dots
  • printer paper
  • glue/glue dots/scrapbooking adhesive
  • inexpensive 8x10 picture frame
  • marker, glitter, paint, washi tape - whatever you have on hand for decorating.


Pretty much all of the supplies I used came from Dollar Tree

How to:

Cut the foam sheets into strips

Attach the velcro dots.

I found it easiest if I stuck the velcro together, stuck the combination to one end of a foam strip and then created a loop with the strip until it overlapped the velcro and press together.



Once you have 25 rings made, link them together to ensure you have the colour order in place.

Using the marker - number them from 1 -24.  You will have one ring without a number on it that will be the base ring to attach it to the frame.


Now, you can print the activity list

Here is what our list looked like, but you may want to modify it so it works with the activities that are available where you live.  Yes - the Read a new holiday story is on there 3 times, but that is because I review new kids books every week in December for my Holiday Book Roundup and I buy new books each year especially for it.

  • Decorate the house and setup the tree 
  • Go to Zoolights as a family 
  • Go to Heritage Park Christmas
  • Drop off gifts for Santa’s Anonymous
  • Read a new holiday story
  • Read a new holiday story
  • Read a new holiday story
  • Have hot cocoa
  • Deliver gifts to the neighbours
  • Make & decorate holiday cookies
  • Make a craft with Mom 
  • Write a letter to Santa 
  • Visit Santa today
  • Go sledding as a family
  • Go ice skating as a family
  • Have a family Christmas movie night with treats 
  • Wrap gifts for the dayhome kids
  • Visit Festival of Lights in Airdrie
  • Watch Elf
  • Christmas Movie Marathon!!!
  • Mail our Christmas cards
  • Drive around to look at holiday lights
  • Christmas music dance party!
  • Go to the coffee store and buy drinks for people behind us.


Cut each item out into strips.

Glue one strip inside each ring using whatever adhesive you've chosen.  I used glue tape because it was easiest and I figured it would be easiest to remove for future years.

The trickiest part here is making sure you have the ones that need to be done on a weekend on the right date.   Just make sure you have a calender nearby.

Now comes the fun part - decorating up the frame.

Decorate the cardboard however you want - I chose to make a frame on a piece of paper in Washi tape and then adding the words "Days Til Christmas" in marker. Make sure you leave space at the bottom to accommodate the chain.  I tripled up the border on the bottom to make sure I kept the room

Once it is dry and ready - put it inside the frame.

Using another velcro dot, centre it at the bottom of the frame and attach the base chain to it.



Hang it on the wall and VOILA!  Instant and fun countdown chain for Christmas!



Now, everyday leading up to the big day, we can take down one ring and do the activity listed.  I can hardly wait to see what the girlies think once we start doing it!

Perhaps the nicest part is that when all is said and done, it will all lay flat for storage - just undo the rings and put them inside of an envelope attached to the back of the frame.  Easy peasy!

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