How I got in over my head….
Each year, since they were quite small, I’ve made an Advent Calendar for my kids. This began, as it did in my childhood home, as a paper chain. I’d loop strips of red and green construction paper together with small messages and TBDs written on the inside. Each day, we’d rip a loop off the chain and proceed to make cookies or find a charity donation box or have a snowball fight…
Then, the chain became more elaborate. I used fancy “scrapbooking paper” (uggh!) and metal clips to create reusable loops that could be filled with fortune-cookie style strips printed with TBDs. This way, I figured, the chain could remain a permanent decoration (yeah right!), while we still had access to our daily piece of fun.
When I started my previous parenting websites, The Lunchbox Season and Summer of Funner, our Advent Calendars became more elaborate. The first year, I filled a daily “shadowbox” with instructions, and sometimes ingredients, for our daily tasks, and I photographed it for the site.
The next year, I went fully digital, and the kids checked the site every day for elaborate blog posts, complete with recipes or DIYs I created months ahead of time. The website got lots of attention, and became affiliated with HuffPo. Yet, while the Lunchbox Season Family Advent Calendar was always crazy fun, the whole thing became incredibly taxing and time consuming. As the years went by, more often than not, I didn’t feel as if I was living in the moment. So, when I retired my parenting websites last winter, I was fairly positive that I’d never do an online Advent Calendar again.
Keeping it simple…
Of course, as the holidays rolled around, I realized how much I really like planning for advent, navigating the family’s busy schedules and finding the space and time for annual advent traditions and new tasks. At least, I love that Saturday in early November when I sit down with a huge mug of coffee, a couple of paper calendars, and make my list….But, how could I organize it so that I didn’t have to create a shiny new post for every day of the month, so that I’d actually enjoy Advent again?
This year, I created a simple events calendar for us to access and follow on a daily basis. Sure, all of the events are accessible in one fell swoop. So, the kids can “cheat” and scroll over each day of the month to figure out what we’ll be doing that day. But, they’ll still have to wait for the “day of” to take part in what we’ve got planned. Personally, I can’t wait for this one:
So, while our 2017 Advent Calendar is just as action packed as it was in previous years, I’m hoping that this marks a return to balance. I’m hoping we’ll all be able to sit back and actually enjoy everything we’re doing this year.