Christmas is one of the most exciting holidays for kids and families. Counting down the days till Christmas can be a treasured tradition that kids will always remember and hold dear, and maybe even pass down to their own children one day. Beyond the advent calendar, there are amazing ways to make each day leading up to Christmas feel special and exciting. Here are five ideas that will have younger and older kids feeling joyful throughout December.
Cuddle Up With Christmas Books
Bedtime is full of excitement and restlessness for kids in the days leading up to Christmas morning. Channel their enthusiasm into a ritual of reading a Christmas-themed book every night as you countdown to Christmas. Thrifty NW Mom beautifully details the process of bringing this gift of storytelling into your home for the holidays.
Wrap 24 books individually and place them in a basket or arrange them under your tree. You can number the books 1-24 or leave them to be selected at random. Each night, let your kids choose one book to unwrap and read it together by the glow of your Christmas lights. This is a great way to introduce your kids to your favorite Christmas stories while starting a book collection for them that they can wrap up for their own kids one day as a Christmas countdown.
Build Up to Christmas Day With LEGO
Literally build up anticipation to Christmas Day with a holiday-themed LEGO set. The LEGO Elf Clubhouse and the LEGO Gingerbread House are both festive kits you can divide into 24 pouches to piece together a little each day until their completion... just in time to be a cute centerpiece on your Christmas dinner table.
Give the Gift of Time
You really can bottle time in the case of this Christmas advent jar. Just a Girl: A Design and Lifestyle blog decorated 24 mini matchbooks with festive scrapbook paper. She then numbered the matchbooks 1-24 and filled each one with a lovely family activity scrolled across a small piece of paper. Lastly, she placed the matchbooks in a fancy jar. Each day your little elves can select one matchbook and enjoy the activity contained inside. Just a Girl: A Design and Lifestyle blog provides several ideas for what to offer in each matchbook, from decorating a gingerbread house to picking out a toy for Toys for Tots. This countdown offers a poignant way to remind kids that the holiday season is about slowing down and spending time together.
Grow Candy Canes
Younger kids will be utterly enchanted by this adorable lead-up to December 25. Grow candy canes together that fully sprout and are ripe for the picking and eating just in time for Christmas morning. Play, Learn, Grow offers a great tutorial on how to make it look like you've legitimately grown candy canes. Just like any other plant, you start with a pot, soil (or fake snow) and seeds, which in this case are circular peppermint candies. Kids will water the candy cane, tend to the sproutings (candy cane shavings), and watch it germinate and shoot up before their eyes, thanks to the adult creating magic behind the scenes. Once the holidays are over, your kids may want to plant other foods that actually grow in soil too!
Guide Baby Jesus to the Manger
Turn your nativity scene into an event by guiding baby Jesus to the manger each day before Christmas. Rhythms of Play: Raising Creative Outdoor Kids shows families how to bring this journey to life. You'll need 24 stones of any size, which your kids will love collecting on nature walks and various adventures. Set the stones up in a path that leads to the manger in your nativity scene. Each day from December 1-24 your kids can remove one stone on the path toward the nativity scene to help baby Jesus get that much closer to his birthplace on Christmas. Mary and Joseph can join the journey as well if you have more than one child and they'd all like to move a figurine toward the nativity scene.
Making Memories Together Is the Most Priceless Gift
No matter how you count down the days till Christmas, the most important thing to note is that your kids may not always remember every detail of the holiday season, but they'll always recall how you made December feel special by spending time with them to celebrate daily. With countdowns like the ones listed here, Christmas Day will be the icing on the cake.