It all began when my son was younger than he is now. I would provide a more specific age but I seem to age two years for my children’s every one, which means that I am forgetful. Anyway, he was little and we bought a Lego Advent Calendar because we thought it would be fun to watch him countdown to Christmas.
He loved it–but who wouldn’t love opening a tiny gift every day for 24 days?
We did the Lego calendar for a couple years and then switched to Playmobil and then my daughter was born so we started stuffing extras into the Playmobil calendar so each kid would get something and then we realized that the kids were outgrowing Playmobil so we started buying 24 little treats and goyabas (a Brazilian word that means “little useless things”) and the whole thing became this big pain in the adventass!
Then, a couple of years ago, we decided to scale back on the calendar. We started doing a mix of candies and family activities. One day, the kids might get a candy cane and the next they might get a coupon for a special family movie night. The kids liked the activities and we were no longer drowning in goyabas.
This year, we weren’t feeling crafty and didn’t want to wrap all the candies and coupons so I bought blue envelopes and made a set for each kid and put coupons inside. The activity coupons speak for themselves but I also made cards that have riddles and trivia questions to be answered as well as tasks to be completed in order for them to earn their prize.
That’s right–this year, I finally got the performing monkeys I wished for when I had these children in the first place!
Dance monkeys, dance!
So far, they’ve had to answer window-related riddles to get decorative window clings (What kind of room has no windows or doors? Why did the window go to the doctor?) and had to perform their favorite Christmas carols in order to get a chocolate bear. Of course, the downside to this is that I had to listen to a hip-hop version of Jingle Bells sung while accompanied by leather chair percussion.
I wasn’t sure how the kids would feel about this change in our “calendar” but the reviews have been good.
“I love our advent calendar this year! So fun!” – Zeca, age 7
“The advent calendar is so much more fun this year because we actually get to do something!” – Miguel, age 11
My hope is that next year, I’ll be able to simply text them, “Day 1: bring me some coffee” and reward them with a Hershey kiss.
Advent victory will be mine!