It is that time of year, again! Time to get ready for December. December has always been my favorite month - I mean, it's Christmas AND my birthday! But I also love how the world seems to pull together in kindness and charity, the Christmas carols begin to play, and the city lights up with glorious color. I love it!
If you are like me, though, the Christmas season flies by. I am always trying to find ways to stretch out the fun and enjoyment, and one thing that has really worked for me has been "December Daily"! You can read all about the concept of December Daily on Ali Edwards' blog. For me, it is about making each day in December into something special, in some small way - then documenting it! December Daily can be different for each person, but here is how I tackle it:
First, I make a list of 31 days on a piece of paper. Simply take a piece of paper and label it with numbers 1-31
I like to do all 31 days because the kids are off school most of the end of the month, and it really helps the fun stretch out for an entire month.
Second, in November, I pull out the family calendar.
I flip over to December and take a peek at what that month is shaping up to be and if there are already plans set (eg. work or community Christmas parties, concerts, etc.) I will add those to my list, on the dates they are set for.
I will also take note of the days the kids have off school (because that might affect what activity we choose to do) as well as days that are shaping up to be busy days, for whatever reason.
Third. I fill in the rest of the list with activities/special things to do on each day. Disclaimer: not every activity is time consuming, or expensive. It is just SOMETHING to make that day special. Here are some examples of things that we have included in the past:
December Daily Activity Ideas:
1. Put up the Christmas Tree!
2. Go to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional (or watch it at home)
3. Make homemade pizza together
4. Make a Christmas craft
5. Address and mail out Christmas Cards
6. Go to the movies!
7. Tape a Christmas video to send to the cousins (or plan a skype session!)
8. Go to the ward (church) Christmas party
9. Make cards for the teachers
10. Make paper snowflakes
11. Watch our favorite Christmas video (with snacks!)
12.Breakfast for Supper!
13. Family game night! Play a new board game
14. Shop for a secret Santa gift
15. Take photos by the Christmas tree
16. Go to a Christmas concert
17. "Secret Santa" someone
18. Drive around and look at Christmas lights (in our PJs!)
19. Unwrap a surprise from Mom and Dad!
20. Indoor picnic by the Christmas tree
21. Go out to a restaurant to eat! (this usually happens on my birthday)
22. Decorate sugar cookies - remember to save some for Santa!
23. Unwrap a new book to read!
24. Read and/or act out the Nativity Story
25. Christmas! (of course this counts as one of your December Daily Activities!)
26. Have an Indoor snowball fight (using marshmallows)
27. Try a NEW recipe - make it as a family
28. Make-over/Pampering night!
29. Ice skating or sledding (plan on a day off, so Daddy can be there to help!)
30. Snowman pancakes!
31. Ice cream sundae bar
The ideas can be endless. Do what works for your family. If your kids are grown, plan some activities with the grandkids, or even for yourself! Why not? Get creative and have fun with it! The key is to plan ahead so you can purchase whatever supplies you'll need, and have things ready so YOU can enjoy December as much as everyone else.
Fourth. I prepare some kind of advent for the kids to open each day (and reveal what that day's activity will be). This can be as simple as folding up pieces of paper with the activity written on it, and letting the kids open it each day. I have taped the activities to the backs of nativity pieces, put them in boxes, and this year, I created 31 envelopes (several of which were just ordinary white envelopes from the dollar store), numbered them, and put them in a basket for the kids to open each morning. Simple!
A few tips for helping things to go smoothly:
Plan ahead. For example, my husband and I shopped for books at a local thrift store, ready for the kids to open on that day. We found cute dollar-store crafts for the kids to do, as well, and made sure to have our Christmas cards printed and ready to address on that day. We got ours from Paper Coterie - GORGEOUS cards there, and they are having a 50% off sale for Cyber Monday! A little planning goes a long way.
Be Flexible: Chances are good that things won't go as planned. Someone will get sick, the weather won't cooperate..whatever. Just be flexible and prepared to chance plans if need be. Hide a fun Christmas movie in the closet for such an occasion, or let the kids draw Christmas pictures, or help with dinner - it doesn't have to go as planned to be amazing!
Have your Camera ready - a huge part of December Daily is documenting it! Have your camera ready for all of the fun! Whether it's an SLR or your iPhone, be prepared to capture the smiles. Keep in mind what you will be doing, and whether you'll need a flash, etc. If you happen to forget to take a photo (hello, it's happened to me LOTS), just get a stock photo, or take a photo of the aftermath :)
Write: Take a couple of moments to write down your thoughts and feelings about that day. This doesn't have to take a long time.
Put it together: Print those photos, write your thoughts on a journaling card, and stick those memories in an album for ALL to enjoy - year after year! This can be as simple as popping them into a regular photo album, using digital templates, or incorporating them into your Project Life album. A popular choice is creating a special mini album JUST for your December Daily activities, but you don't have to do it that way. Whatever works for you.
ENJOY: Really. This is about together time. Enjoy it. It's gonna be fun!
Also, for easy gift ideas, check out my free Christmas Printables! Use as cards, tags, or frame and gift! Perfect!