Thursday, 29 November 2012

Advent Countdown Activity : Trim the tree!

I love Christmas. I really do. I love the decorations, the parties, the entertaining. I love the preparation and the anticipation. I try to do something a little different every year. Some things don't work out so well [I'm talking to you - all-handmade-gifts-idea/insanity] but some things do. This year, my difference will be in the way we trim our tree.

I was trying to think of some way, other than the same-old chocolate advent calendar, for us to mark the days until Christmas. At the same time, the kids have been badgering me since Remembrance Day to put up our tree. Putting up the tree is something I especially love to do. It's not the best tree - we bought it 10 years ago when we first moved into our house and expecting the Boy. It's lost a lower branch, and I need to string it with lights every year, but I can't bear to part with it just yet. We have a set of about 30 red "filler" ornaments and every other ornament we have is a "special" one.

Every milestone in our family is marked with a Christmas ornament. The easy ones, like going on a trip, or a new baby, and the trickier ones like my stint as a school bus driver, family baptisms, opening up my business.  Yep, there's an ornament for that.

So, when we trim our tree, I like to reflect on these moments and tell the stories that go with them. Like a scrapbook that's taken out once a year. However, after 11 years of marriage, you can imagine that we have quite a few stories to tell on our tree trimming day. So, I'm spreading it out.

I took 24 paper bags, numbered some Christmas labels and let the kids go to town decorating them.

I had to let go of my perfectionism here. In my head I pictured pretty kraft bags with bows and ribbons. Beautifully numbered etc. But this is a family activity. I just stepped back and let it happen.

The kids absolutely loved this idea. They were excited to decorate the bags and even more excited to "start Christmas". It kept them busy for a good half hour. :)

Once they were done, we lined them up on our buffet behind the table. I didn't fill them that day. I waited until they went to school to put all the decorations into the bags. I put some of our filler ornaments in each bag and then parceled out our special ornaments. I also added a few surprises in most of the bags - little chocolates or candies, little toys - nothing huge, but just an added surprise. 

These are the latest addition to our scrapbook tree! Can you guess where we went?

The newest ornaments will go into the last bag, where we also have our old tin star. It doesn't quite fit, but it works for this year.

I don't know who's more excited for Saturday to come around, me or the kids! For now, our little tree is up and lit and waiting patiently for our first bag of goodies to be opened up. Hurry up, Christmas!
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