I've been so excited to talk about this! Because THIS is my favorite Christmas tradition!
Every December we fill our advent calendar with what we call “Gifts of Togetherness”. These are simple, nonmaterial moments we share together. Many of them only take a few minutes, and some we can spend an entire afternoon with.
I was inspired 9 years ago when I was a hungry nursing mama and I saw this tiny stocking and mitten advent calendar at World Market (I see similar ones every year like this). I purchased it thinking I’d put chocolate in each date and it would be mine all mine. Then I came to my senses and thought it should carry more meaning and help us slow down the hustle and bustle of the season. December can be a stressful month for many. This is a great way to slow things down and put the focus on family.
Here’s my simple way how… We are all already doing many of these things, but sometimes just being intentional in setting aside time feels different and special. Every year we print our list and cut each “gift” into a strip. The children decide which ones they want to include. I casually put them into the numbered dates and as the days pass I adjust as needed. Meaning, the day we visit a live manger can be adjusted, vs. printing this on a calendar. Simple and flexible planning.
Feel free to copy and paste our ideas below and get your kids involved in some additional ones. I’d love to hear what you come up with!
GIFTS OF TOGETHERNESS
Drink hot cocoa under the tree
Make paper snowflakes
Walk the neighborhood to look at lights and do this.
Bake for neighbors
Go Ice skating
Wrap gifts together
Go Caroling with friends
Make a paper garland
Write letters to Santa
Build gingerbread houses
Have a fireside circle chat
Fill a box with items to donate
Hang candy canes on neighbors’ doors
Make salt dough ornaments
Make a card for a soldier
Bake with friends
Fill a stocking for someone less fortunate
Take a walk in nature
Leave a $5 bill with a Merry Christmas note on a strangers car
Have a dance party around the Christmas tree
Hot tub party (this will be our first year for this one!!)
Sing Christmas songs
Family band night (everyone chooses an instrument and gets silly)
Dance lesson night (choreography done by my daughter)
See a Christmas play
Visit a live manger
Snowball fight (yes you can do this if you live in TX with these! Serious fun! We were gifted these years ago after leaving the Chicago snow.)
Choose a friend to join us in our Gifts of Togetherness
Look through family albums (Thank you Chatbooks for keeping me up to date!)
Watch family videos
Read Christmas stories in Mom and Dad’s bed
Watch a classic Christmas movie
Sleep under the Christmas tree (this is our Adam’s Eve tradition)
And I’ll also share a “gift of togetherness” favorite my husband and I do together. We always set aside a date night to do some shop together and follow it with dinner out. His company also hosts an amazing Christmas party that we always can count on as a fun night out to celebrate Christmas together.
Happy Advent Season!