For this entire year (I can’t believe it is the last month of the year already!) I’ve been doing an at home curriculum with the family (Lucy 6, Hattie 4, Beatrice 1). Tim and I call the project “Abacus” and we’re sharing it each month for the fun, challenge, and community of it. Each month we choose a theme and then come up with a bunch of activities around that theme. Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.
Explore past months themes here.
Our theme this month is “Advent.” To me December is a month of anticipation. Our family is OBSESSED with advent calendars. We literally have 5 that we will do every day this month. For me it is a way of slowing down and fully enjoying these favorite of days. I am going to share some of my favorite advent traditions here, as well as our own little “activity” advent of 25 perfect December activities – one for each day until Christmas.
DECEMBER Dates to Take Note of:
December 6-12 – Hanukkah
December 13th – The Feast of Santa Lucia – we are hoping to take a trip up to Georgetown to partake in their annual European Christmas Market –
December 22nd – Winter Solstice – I love the tradition of making a small bonfire outside on this day.
December 24th – Christmas Eve (Also my grandmother’s Birthday!) (for us, it is Christmas eve services, followed by takeout, leaving cookies for Santa, and opening a package that is always pajamas)
December 25th – Christmas Day – (for us it looks like – photos on the stairs before coming down, sausage souffle and cinnamon rolls, opening stockings and presents as slowly as possible, playing all day, a family walk in the cold, and grilling outside)
December 26th – Boxing Day
Local: Greeley, CO events:
December 5th – Teddy Bear Bash at the Festival of Trees – 9-11am
December 5th – Handmade for the Holidays 10-3 at the Kress Cinema
December 11-13th – The Nutcracker at UCCC
December 11-13th – Twas the Night before Christmas performed by the Stampede Theater Troupe
Let me know if you have other fun Greeley events I should add to this calendar!
The Coon’s Family 2015 ADVENT CALENDARS:
You might laugh at this one. But our family LOVES Jacquie Lawson’s advent calendar she releases each year. It shows up as a Snow Globe on your desktop and each day another little animated short or activity is released. It borders on overly “thomas-kinkade” sappy, but at the same time it is SO great. We all unabashedly love it. This year the theme is Victorian Christmas.
If you haven’t yet discovered Sparkle Stories, I am so happy to get to be the one to introduce you. The stories are very simple but sweet original audio stories for kids. They have a specific Advent calendar as part of their Martin & Sylvia Series. Each day showcases a very simple holiday activity. They released the advent calendar in 2014, but it is still great. We listened to it last year and are excited to relive it again this year.
Partly thanks to having a brother who manages a Lego store, we can’t miss out on the Lego Advent calendars. This year we opted for their Star Wars edition (in anticipation of the new movie). Each day you get a tiny set of legos to build.
Tim loves playing the Angry Birds seasons (which unlocks one new level each day)
25 ADVENT Activities:
These don’t have to be done in any particular order, but this is our list of 25 “Christmasy” activities that don’t require much extra money or time, but are what this month is all about for us.
- Make Gingerbread Cookies/houses (my sister just recommended this recipe)
- Cut Paper Snowflakes
- Visit a Christmas Tree Farm to pick our tree
- Take our time decorating the Christmas tree and tell stories and memories
- String popcorn and cranberries
- Bake Christmas cookies for the neighbors – Here are some recipes to get you started.
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights (especially the Greeley Grizwalds)
- Go caroling
- Eat dinner by candlelight
- Go Ice Skating (The Greeley Ice Haus or the Ice skating rink at Centerra are good choices if you are local)
- Go on an icy walk and then have hot chocolate with marshmallows
- Make snow angels
- In Hutchinson, where Tim and I grew up, they have an INCREDIBLE night of illuminaries in the Hyde Park neighborhood the Saturday before Christmas. Blocks and blocks are illuminated. They don’t allow traffic through and instead have hay rides of carolers and horse drawn carriages. I would love to have our own tiny version one night.
- Write and send Christmas cards (just wait until you see the adorable family photo I have…)
- Go sledding – just need a little more snow first!!
- Get matching pajamas for our whole family. Shhh… don’t tell Tim…and have a family game night
- Eat a candy cane – I have heard that the Hammond Candy factory tour in Denver is pretty cool
- Make a wreath (isn’t this gold feather and leaf one pretty?)
- Read all the Christmas stories out loud – We love: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Max’s Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, and so many more…
- Go to the Nutcracker (or at least listen to it)
- Write letters to Santa and deliver to the Currier Inn Reindeer Route mailbox.
- Lucy really wants to have a Christmas scavenger hunt. I am not sure what that means, but I’m working on it.
- Keep the bird feeders filled and chart the visitors
- Have a Christmas movie watching and present wrapping party
- Watch Charlie Brown Christmas and Ice Skating – the two shows we would always watch on Christmas day at my grandparent’s house.