Megan asked us to share our favorite holiday tradition (the full round-up of the writers' answers is coming later this week!). It was a difficult question because I love pretty much everything about Christmas. But I finally decided. It is a newer tradition because we only started it last year, the first year my daughter was old enough to get it. She had just turned two last year.)
When I was younger, I had a book called The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle. In it, the family does one Christmas-themed activity on every day in December to anticipate Christmas. I was older when I read this, too old to really start it for myself, and I remember thinking "as soon as I have children of my own, I am going to do this!"
So, now I have a daughter, and we do this. Every day during December, we do a Christmas-themed activity. (Or we try to -- last year we were derailed by illness. This year we are doing great, so far.) And this year, I spent hours (and hours and hours) making an Advent Activity calendar for us. (Similar to Lawyerish's and Jennie's from last year.) I put a piece of paper in each mitten with what activity we are doing that day and each morning, we first open our chocolate Advent Calendars (sent to us every year by my dad, who has been getting me one every year since I can remember and mailing it to me every year since I moved out of the house) and then we see what our activity is for the day.
Since my daughter only just turned three (December 3rd's mitten said "Happy Birthday!" in it), I can get away with adding the papers a few days at a time and moving them around a lot. Also, she can't read, so if the paper I pull out that morning doesn't work for me somehow, I just tell her it says something else.
We are really enjoying our activities every day. Some of my favorites have been making ornaments, decorating a gingerbread house (thought I will confess that through no fault of the gingerbread house, this went better last year), and the winner so far, a neighborhood candy cane hunt. We still have things like taking a walk at night to look at Christmas lights and opening a present early to look forward to this week. We've done a lot of fun crafts and great activities together and I think it has really helped her little three year old mind anticipate Christmas.
Do you do anything special in December to get ready for Christmas? Or do you have any great ideas for me to add to my Advent Activity calendar next year?