Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Advent Calendar: Days 1-4; Baking, Decorating, Christmas PJs

I've got another year's worth of Christmas advent calendar ideas lined up for our family to enjoy this year. I love the way these activities pump me full of holiday spirit, and this year should be even more enjoyable as Tory is really starting to understand the meaning of various events and celebrations.

Day 1 included several activities, partly because December 1st fell on a Monday and Mondays are my "stay home" day when we have no extra-curricular activities scheduled. I had yet to decorate the house for Christmas since we'd been to the lake cabin over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, so that was on the "to-do" list. Tory was very excited about decorating the Christmas tree with me. I think most of her anticipation stemmed from her near-constant viewings of Mickey Mouse Christmas episodes on Netflix as of late. She kept asking me if she'd be able to put the gold star on top of the Christmas tree ... except, we don't have a gold star in any of our decorations. Luckily, she was happy to help decorate with other ornaments.

Tory's idea of how Christmas "works" is funny to listen to this year. While we were decorating the Christmas tree downstairs, she asked "Mom, what do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas this year?" Oh, a new purse, some new kitchen towels for the cabin, I said. Tory responded, "Well, I'll tell Grandma and then you put it on your list and then it'll be under the Christmas tree for you!"

Also on Day 1 of our advent calendar, Tory and I baked Christmas cookies. I normally would've spaced the two activities out, but my annual holiday cookie party was coming up later that week and Monday was the only day I had time to bake. I loved how as I was pulling ingredients together, Tory laid out a long piece of paper towel underneath the mixing bowl "so we wouldn't make a mess." I thought it was so cute and resourceful of her to think ahead in the baking process! And, I suppose her technique helped somewhat when she dumped half the measuring cup of flour all over the countertop. Tory and I mixed the dough for sugar cookies together, then the dough chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours. I rolled, cut and baked the cookies later that night after the kids were in bed.

I remember when this red Christmas apron reached Tory's toes ...

Tory and I also made a new White Chocolate Peppermint Oreo recipe. Tory wasn't as into helping with this cookie because she doesn't like to get her hands messy. She dipped the first few Oreos in melted white chocolate, but soon lost interest. Though, not before devouring a few creamy centers of the Oreos cookies first.

Day 2 on the advent calendar was an easy "Open a Christmas present!" activity. I found holiday pajamas on clearance at Carters last year and I've been waiting all year to see the kids wear them. I wrapped the pajamas in holiday gift bags and had them waiting at the kid's morning breakfast spots ready to open first thing on Tuesday. Tory was so excited to see an unexpected present! She pulled the  pajamas from the bag and exclaimed, "New jammies! Uh, that's it?" I'm not sure what she expected the gift to be, but apparently pajamas weren't what she had in mind. Aden was as happy as a 12-month old is about any present. He threw the pajamas off his high chair tray and started chewing on the gift bag.

Being the smart mama I am, I pre-washed the pajamas before I wrapped them so the kids could wear them right away. After baths that night, I dressed Tory and Aden in their holiday pajamas and we staged a little photo shoot by the upstairs Christmas tree. It's impossible to get both kids to look at the camera, of course, and now that Aden's mobile he kept bailing out of the picture. But! We did get one acceptable photo of the kids and a few funny outtakes.

This one of Andi and Tory cracks me up ... 

After Andi and the kids were in bed, I completed one my favorite holiday traditions -- homemade Chex Mix. In the past few years, I've had Tory help me with this but this year it was kind of nice to spend the evening by myself in the kitchen baking with sitcom television and wine.

Christmas advent calendar Day 3 was a simple holiday craft. I purchased a holiday sticker kit at Michaels Craft for a few dollars and Tory had a blast decorating her gingerbread house. The house looks nothing like the picture because she used all the stickers AND the sticker "outsides" but it's wonderful in its own way because Tory made it herself. It now hangs proudly on our refrigerator door.

Tory has preschool drop-off on Thursday mornings, so Aden and I took advantage of the Mommy & me time and played with the felt Christmas tree on Day 4 of the advent calendar. He isn't so interested in the felt tree this year, mostly I think because he can't stand up or walk on his own yet. But, Aden does love the Little People nativity set and plays the little characters daily. Santa might be bringing Aden some Little People sets of his own this year, and I think they're going to be a big hit.

More advent calendar activities to come!


  1. Love reading about your Christmas activities! thanks for sharing :)

  2. Little people have always been a huge hit in our house too, hope Aden likes his gifts!

  3. It's so funny that because Day 1 fell on a Monday, that was a day you could do a lot. Mondays I don't see my kids until after dark because they spend the day at my in-laws', so we can't do much of anything. I had "read a Christmas book" on the calendar, but Henry fell asleep on the drive home from Grandma's so I read Grinch to Spencer and that was it. :)