Saturday, December 9, 2006

Alternative Advent Calendars

We got our tree today!! Thanks to the kindness of our neighbour Mike, who gave us a gift certificate for a local tree farm (it was given to him by his employer, but he wasn't going to use it) we got a $50 tree for ten bucks! And it's *huge* - about 8 1/2 feet tall, and very "girthy". Our living room definitely could not contain a tree any larger than this one. It's all set up and decorated, and the kids and hubby are now merrily watching a Looney Tunes DVD and admiring the thing of beauty that is our tree.

The not-so-thrifty adventure of the day was the trip to the post office. Mailing 4 little cards to England and one small package to elsewhere in Ontario cost over 13 dollars!! Goodness. Thankfully that is all my Christmas mailing for this year (the bulk of my Christmas greetings are being sent via e-card).

Although I'm quite a bit late for this year, I thought I would post a couple of advent calendar ideas that are an alternative to the buy-it-every-year-and-throw-it-away type. You can always tuck them away for next year!

This first one (an Advent Quilt) was a gift made for us by my close friend Jenn a few years ago. You can't see it very well in the photo, but at the base of the tree there are little pockets (numbered 1 through 24 of course) that each contain a mini ornament to hang on the tree above. You can see we've already got a bunch hung since it's already December 9th. I love this idea since it's both lovely and practical - you can reuse it forever!

The second reusable calendar is also cloth, with larger numbered pockets. In previous years I have filled each pocket with candy treats for the boys. This year I decided to try something new and put a written note in each pocket with a family activity we could all do together. I love this idea as it ensures we get some family time during the busy-ness of the season, but it has also made me feel a little stressed some days trying to come up with a suitable activity that I know we'll be able to fit into the day. Today's was "Go get our Christmas tree"; other days have been things like do a Christmas craft, bake a Christmas treat, take a walk to see all the Christmas lights. Others over the next week will include things we do for others (like take gifts to our neighbours, make a gift for the birds, etc).

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