Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Countdown: Days 8-14

If you missed yesterday's post, I am doing a recap of our new family Christmas tradition. (Can you call it a tradition in the first year of its existence?) Let the COUNTDOWN continue with our nightly family activities...
(Speaking of "activities," KJ is a little confused by our constant talk of "activities" and "nativity" and calls what we do each night our "Christmas activity scenes".  Without intending to, he actually has dubbed it quite descriptively.  Activities. Check. Scenes...oh wow, most definitely!)

Days 8-14 of Christmas time fun

Day 8 (17 sleeps until Christmas)
Drink hot chocolate before bed
This worked out perfectly because it was the night of the preschool Christmas show.  We already have a tradition of going to get a treat after the kids' shows so we just got hot chocolate before we headed home.  Mostly just did not want to give you the false impression that our Christmas countdown was a formal affair.  The attire for this evening greatly exceeded our normal wardrobe of pajamas and/or sweats.

 Day 9 (16 Sleeps until Christmas)
Photo Scavenger Hunt
This was another of our very favorites.  So much fun that I think we would still do this again even if the whole "Countdown to Christmas" never resurfaces.  I gave the kids a list of 5 things...a snowman, Santa, reindeer, an angel, and a Christmas tree and we drove around to find them.  This slight variation on just "looking at Christmas lights" was a much bigger success.  We would take turns jumping out of the car, running into a stranger's yard and snapping a picture.  The kids loved 1) being "sneaky" (even though we usually stood at or near the curb) and 2) getting to sometimes be the one to take the picture. 
As a random aside...
Anyone recognize the jacket that I am sporting?  Only about 3 of my facebook friends might fully appreciate its significance but knowing that it is from junior high should leave all of you impressed that I a) still have it and b) still wear it.

Day 10 (15 Sleeps until Christmas)
Have a Christmas music dance party
So much fun.  Blast the Christmas music and dance away.  I especially loved watching the brothers dance together. And the dancing that required all of my children to stack on top of each other.  Oh, and most definitely the random but synchronized "snow-angel-dance move".

 Day 11 (14 Sleeps Until Christmas)
Go shopping for the food pantry. 
Ok, parents.  This is the BEST activity for busy little ones.  Seriously, my kids L-O-V-E it and this is not the first time we have done it.  We go buy food at the grocery store.  They love helping me check items off of a list, put things in the basket, and line up the food on the conveyor belt.
Then we deliver it to our church's foodbank.  We fill up a cart with our groceries and stock the shelves.  They LOVE the sorting and matching, the assembly line passing, and driving the cart.

Day 12 (13 Sleeps Until Christmas)
Go on a family outing in your pajamas.
Ok, gotta admit.  This one was TOTALLY rigged.  The actual ornament originally said "Go for a family walk".  But KJ drew that ornament three different times and each time asked if he could put it back.  Ok, so maybe I got a little lame with some of the activities....but hey, I needed 24.  SO, after the third time he put it back, I decided to put it to a different use.  We already had plans to go to GWL for story-time in our pajamas one evening with friends, so I made sure that ornament got picked that night and doctored it to read something that conveniently lead to our already planned activity...

We stayed at GWL last month and had a coming soon.  But one thing we heard then was that during the nightly story-time in December it would snow inside the hotel.  WE COULD NOT miss it.  This was so much fun...of course, you know where your kids are from when they get THIS excited about seeing fake snow coming from a snow-blower on a balcony.  And we had so much fun with these sweet friends, too.
And we got a cute family picture out of the deal...nothing like kiddos in their Christmas PJs, right?

 Day 13 (12 sleeps until Christmas)
Talk about the story of Jesus' birth and dress up like a nativity scene.
Yeah, totally didn't see this one going quite the way it did.  I mean who could have foreseen that when choosing roles, Cbug would say "I wanna be the Baby?"  I just thought it might be a fun and easy way to help our kids remember the Christmas story.  And it was memorable alright.  Nothing like seeing your 40 pound "middlest" dressed in "swaddling clothes" to help you NEVER forget the nativity scene. Oh wow. Even the pictures are a little blurry because I was laughing so hard I couldn't hold the camera still.
Introducing our cast of Characters...KJ and Joseph, Lou as Mary, and Cbug as sweet baby Jesus in a manger (aka the car seat box that fortuitously arrived the day before).

 Day 14 (11 sleeps until Christmas)
Choose a toy to deliver to the toy drop at the Firestation
We took the kids shopping, let them pick out a toy they would like to give and then we all delivered them to the firestation.  RRL has a friend that was coordinating one of the toy drives at firestations in our city.  He called him earlier this day to see if it mattered when we took toys by and was told that since there are firemen there 24-7, it really didn't matter.  But maybe 8:30 at night was not what he had in mind.  It was just one of those days and we didn't get there nearly as early as we thought.  When we rang the "press here for help" bell outside, three firemen came quickly to the door, probably anticipating an emergency...not these three blond cuties eagerly holding up their treasures.  Kinda threw 'em for a loop.  But they were super sweet about it and even let KJ ask his very important question "How do you decide who gets to go to sleep and who stays awake to wait for fires?"  The answer: "We ALL try to sleep".  KJ was quite satisfied.

Hope you are enjoying our countdown.  Its been so much fun...
More fun still to come!

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