Friday, November 30, 2012

Life with Aria: Advent Calendar

A HUGE congratulations to our Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway winner - Corey Olomon!!  If you didn't win, stick around, here in Tansy Doll Land we LOVE giveaways!  And just a little hint, you might want to follow our Facebook page closely in December.  We might be running some special promotions.  ;)

The winter holiday season is certainly upon us.  Whichever holiday you celebrate, I hope its full of good cheer and loved ones.  In my household, we celebrate Christmas.  Its the tradition that both my husband and I grew up with.  Our version is perhaps a bit more secular than the ones from our childhood, but I think that we still hold true to many of the same core values of good will, family, friends, and giving back.  One of the things I struggle with during this season is the media's obsession with consumption.  Don't get me wrong, I love hunting down the perfect gift ideas for my loved ones, but the values I want to pass down to my child are about so much more than gift giving and receiving.  When she is older, I want her to look back on her childhood and remember the love and warmth of family and friends and even more so a sense of compassion and profound love for the world.

I try my best to infuse those values throughout our daily lives but this season serves as a moment to really focus on them and to be mindful about not only how I impart those values to Aria but how I make them a part of my life not just during the holiday season but every day.  Last year, I stumbled upon a ton of lovely ideas for advent calendars.
1. Envelope calendar, 2. Matchbox calendar, 3. Stamped bag calendar, 4. Paper bag Calendar
I had these grand visions that I would make a beautiful fabric one that could be reused every year, but I never got around to it.  I ended up using simple twine, pushpins, and note cards.  It wasn't as spectacular as the ones above but it did its job. Back in January, I swore up and down that I would make one in time for this year's Christmas, but that didn't happen either.  So here I am again with twine, pushpins, and note cards. Advent Calendars can feature just about anything you can imagine.  The ones from my childhood were filled with little chocolates.  Some include small trinkets or ornaments, but we like to feature an activity a day.  One of the hardest things for me is compiling the list of activities.  So I thought I'd share my list in case others have the same trouble.  
  • Afternoon Tea at Heathmans with Mom 
  • Buy an Angel Tree Gift 
  • Drive around with Cady, Max, and Matt to see Christmas lights 
  • Get a library card for Aria and pick out multicultural holiday books 
  • Go see the Nutcracker Tea with Grandma and Mom 
  • Go to Mt. Hood to play in the snow 
  • Got to Zoo lights 
  • Grow a magic Christmas Tree 
  • Grow snowflakes 
  • Make a Jar of love 
  • Make Christmas Tags 
  • Make and decorate Christmas cookies 
  • Make and decorate gingerbread house 
  • Make and hand out care packages to those who are homeless 
  • Make Chocolate spoons for teachers 
  • Make coach gift 
  • Make Dried orange slice ornaments 
  • Make Paper snowflakes 
  • Make Salt Dough Ornaments 
  • Make snowglobes 
  • Make woven ornaments 
  • Visit Alpenrose Dairy Farm 
  • Visit Santa Claus 
  • Watch Christmas cartoons in our PJs 
These are not in the correct order so tomorrow I'll have to spend some time thinking about when we'll do each of these but I'm already excited to start our 24 days of mindful quality time together.  Some of these are repeats from last year, but I'm excited about some of the new additions.  In particular making care packages for those who are homeless and buying an angel tree gift should be really great moments to talk to Aria about systems of advantage and disadvantage and our responsibilities to reach out to those outside our close circle of family and friends.  Right now most are focused on quality time with family and friends, but as she gets older, I'd like to add more activities that focus on giving back to the community.  We are all interconnected after all and I want Aria to understand the importance of compassion, of giving back, and of shining light and warmth into the darker corners of our society. 

When I finally get it up tomorrow, I'll post the advent calendar on our Facebook wall if you're curious what it will look like.  Again, its not the prettiest or fanciest calendar, but it serves its purpose and its quick and easy. If you're doing an activity advent calendar, what's on your list?  And even if you're not, what special activities does your family have planned for the winter holidays?  We'd love to hear!


1 comment:

  1. Robin, I LOVE your calendar ideas! I bought a LEGO City Advent Calendar for Max this year, and although it's intended that Max put together a little LEGO set each day, I thought the tiny pieces would be too challenging so I let Cary & John have the fun of putting it together for Max....and what a hoot! It's definitely an "alternative" theme....with fire protection headgear and equipment (in case Santa catches on fire in the chimney??!) and a megaphone and fire hydrant......Will deliver it to Max today. Fortunately, I know that Cady has other advent calendars for him as well - I'm sure more along the lines of your wonderful ideas! I, too, LOVE advent calendars. Great post!