Create a fun Christmas season with an Advent Calendar | www.ponytailsandpajamas.com

advent | calendar two

When I reminisce about my own childhood, many of my favorite memories surround traditions.  Combine traditions with holidays, and you create a magical combination.

Therefore, this year, I wanted to embrace the popular Advent Calendar and create a December to remember!  Many of these activities are ones that we would have done anyway, but this year I want to be a little more purposeful about the holiday season.

Create a fun Christmas season with an Advent Calendar | www.ponytailsandpajamas.com

…and with this calendar comes lots of grace.  If I don’t (and I’m sure I won’t) get to every activity, I will let myself off the hook, because mom guilt is the worst.  And my babies won’t know the difference anyway!

Great ideas for a FREE advent calendar 2015 | www.ponytailsandpajamas.com

For a FREE downloadable PDF, click HERE.

Great ideas for a FREE advent calendar 2015 | www.ponytailsandpajamas.com

For a FREE downloadable PDF, click HERE.

 

  1. Read about the birth of Jesus, watch THE NATIVITY (found on YouTUBE: 48 mins), make & eat haystacks.
  2. Watch THE SANTA CLAUSE and write letters to Santa.
  3. Listen to Christmas music all morning.  Decorate Felt Christmas Tree with Felt Ornaments.
  4. Make Christmas ornaments together.  This year’s ornament: Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments.
  5. Watch A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and decorate the small, kid’s Christmas tree.
  6. Make banana bread (or other baked treats) for friends and deliver.
  7. Go meet SANTA at the mall and get pictures taken.
  8. Watch and read THE POLAR EXPRESS.  Eat cookies and drink hot chocolate while wearing pajamas.
  9. Help put up Christmas decorations at a local retirement center with our Community Group.
  10. Watch RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER and make reindeer treats/reindeer chow.  Play reindeer games (marshmallow toss/pin the nose on the reindeer/candy cane hunt).
  11. Go to the Fayetteville Square to look at the Christmas lights and take pictures.
  12. Make fingerprint/footprint/handprint Christmas cards to mail to Grandparents.
  13. Watch ELF and eat spaghetti for dinner.
  14. Watch MICKEY’S ONCE/TWICE UPON A CHRISTMAS and eat puppy chow (in honor of pluto).
  15. Make small THANK YOU gifts (mason jar gifts) for our Church staff and deliver.  Give M&M thank you to our mailman.
  16. Watch and read FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, eat popcorn out of snowman cups (sharpie on a clear plastic cup) and make snowman cloud dough (Pinterest).
  17. Read THE GINGERBREAD MAN stories and make a gingerbread house or cookies.
  18. Attend a CHRISTMAS PARTY with friends.
  19. Drive around our city, look at Christmas lights, listen to Christmas music, and end the night with an ice-cream family date.
  20. Watch and read HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (original cartoon) and make GRINCH slime!  Grinch Kabobs for a snack (grapes/bananas/strawberries)
  21. Watch HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS ( Jim Carey) and make breakfast for dinner (green eggs, green pancakes, and green milk).
  22. Throw a BIRTHDAY PARTY for Jesus.  Bake a cake, sing Happy Birthday, and read the Nativity Story again.
  23. Attend our church’s Christmas Eve Eve services.
  24. Open Christmas Eve Box (new pajamas to wear that night, and a new Christmas book/movie), make cookies, drink hot chocolate.  Put out Santa’s Christmas plate full of cookies/milk/carrots/and THANK YOU note to Santa.
  25. Eat a large breakfast, open gifts, take naps, play games — ENJOY every moment!

After I made this list, I realized I completely left off one of our family favorites — HOME ALONE!  So at some point we will also squeeze in watching Home Alone and buying tooth brushes to put in our stockings.

Having a plan also helps me to be able to keep my eye out for great deals on things to help assist in our Advent Calendar.  For example, while at Hobby Lobby yesterday, I was able to find a magnet Nativity scene kit that we can use on a large baking sheet to help retell the story of Jesus’ birth as well as a couple of great books…all at HALF OFF!  They also have a great Happy Birthday Jesus section that we can go and get some goodies for our Birthday party for Jesus.  Win, win, win.

Advent Calendar 2015 | www.ponytailsandpajamas.com

Hobby Lobby 2015 — half off Christmas sale!

Here is to the best Christmas yet!

*If you missed the inspiration behind this all, be sure and check out my previous post ADVENT | CALENDAR ONE*

Advent Calendar | ponytailsandpajamas.com

advent | calendar one

Today, I want to introduce you to a very dear friend of mine, Megan.  Our story is one that proves just how small this world is.  We once were two wee bloggers on a hosting site called Xanga, who randomly connected, only to realize we shared family, an alma mater, a love for crafting, Jesus, and a whole lot more.

Over the past ten years, our friendship has had its own ebb and flow, as most relationships do, but one thing remains… this woman is a hero of mine and I am a better person for having her in my life.

friendships are so sweet | ponytailsandpajamas.com

My sweet friend, Megan, and I on my wedding day.

I wanted to share with you a tradition that Megan created for her family six years ago, before the popularity of advent calendars or Pinterest to help guide her.  She set out to make the holidays special for her kids — and y’all, she did just that and more.

I’ve sat back and watched her complete her advent calendar throughout these past several Christmas seasons… and this year, I finally get to do it myself!  I am SO EXCITED to start this tradition with my own family.  I’ll post my adapted version of Megan’s Advent Calendar tomorrow but I did not want you to miss out on the original inspiration behind it all!

Advent Calendar | ponytailsandpajamas.com

So without further ado… here is a creative, fun, and totally do-able Christmas Advent Calendar.

For the last 6 years, we have done a different activity for each day. You can do an activity each day through the month of December (we actually start Thanksgiving Night) or the 12 Days Before Christmas.
1: Read about the birth of Jesus, watch THE NATIVITY, make & eat HAYSTACKS*
2: THE SANTA CLAUSE–watch movies & write letters to Santa
3: Watch IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE and VT: It’s a Meaningful Life. Eat PASTA (this is a family tradition that we started a few years ago. It has nothing to do with the movie, except George’s “best friend” is Italian. We just like it).
4: Watch CHARLIE BROWN & decorate the small (kids) Christmas tree
5: Make SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS*
6: Read & watch POLAR EXPRESS. Enjoy HOT CHOCOLATE & COOKIES
7: ELOISE DAY–Read & watch. Eat OATMEAL & RAISINS for breakfast (just like Eloise)
8: RUDOLPH–watch Rudolph & make reindeer treats. Play reindeer games
9: Read ABC Pop-Up book & make pop-up Christmas cards for family/friends
10: MUSIC, LIGHTS & SWEET TREATS–look @ lights while listening to Christmas CDs. Go to Braums/Starbucks/Dairy Queen for holiday ICE CREAM (Shelby Farms Drive Through Display)
11: GRINCH DAY–read & watch Grinch movies. Eat GREEN EGGS & HAM for supper
12: A VERY FROSTY DAY–watch Frosty, have a snowball fight (white socks), make SNOWBALL COOKIES (meringue cookies* with mini chocolate chips for face)
13: MICKEY CHRISTMAS–watch MICKEY’S ONCE & TWICE UPON A CHRISTMAS, eat PUPPY CHOW* (for pluto) & have HOT COCOA (like Donald Duck)
14: A CHRISTMAS CAROL–watch movies & write your own story using people you know
Mickey. Muppets. Musical. Barbie. Jim Carey
15: Watch A CHRISTMAS STORY & eat CHINESE FOOD
16: FIRESIDE–build a fire, roast marshmallows, sleeping in the living room
17: Make cookies & other goodies for friends
18: Caroling & deliver gifts to friends
19: Take turns reading THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER and discuss how YOU would direct the play
20: Jingle Bowling (take 10 clean 2-liter bottles and fill with Christmas items such as wrapping paper strips, jingle bells, cotton ball snowballs, mini ornaments)
21. Shop for siblings gifts (or make gifts) then wrap them (we split up and each adult takes a kid, then we come home and wrap presents for each other)
22. Santa Train
23. Watch ELF! & eat spaghetti
24. Family Game Night with finger foods & apple cider
25. Read THE NIGHT BEFORE THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
26. Bellevue Singing Christmas Tree Christmas Program (or any church program)
27. Candle light church service
28. Peabody Ducks or your Local Square (Fayetteville Lights)
29. Hannukah Party. JELLY DONUTS & LINZER COOKIES
30. Read JUNIE B. JONES. Read in parts
31. Make a gingerbread house/village
CHRISTMAS EVE
Attend Christmas Eve service with N&P. Look at Christmas lights. Watch THE CHRISTMAS STORY. EAT! Open pjs from Nana
*ham, cheese & turkey rolls *sausage balls *sweet & sour sausages *cheese cubes *fruit
*pecan tassies *pumpkin fudge *something CHOCOLATY
CHRISTmas DAY!
Celebrate the birth of our Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ. Open gifts. breakfast (by the men). PLAY! Lunch. Look at lights. Left-overs. PLAY SOME MORE!
Other holiday “classics” that we like to watch
*Phineas & Ferb Holiday Specials *Elf on a Shelf (Thanksgiving) *Adventures in Odyssey *White Christmas *Holiday Inn *Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (with toast, jelly beans, & popcorn) *Shrek Christmas Special *Blues Clues Holiday Specials *Barbie Nutcracker *Home Alone *A Christmas Child
Isn’t that just AMAZING?!

Thank you so very much my friend, for giving us a glimpse into that creative brain of yours, and for allowing me to share it here to inspire others like it inspired me.   I love you, Meg!