Christmas is my favorite time of year; I honestly morph into an adult version of my children December 1st! With all of the festive gatherings with dear family and friends, indulging in beloved traditions, and ornate decorations adorning shops and homes, what’s not to love? Without hesitation, I want to shout…NOTHING! But, then I remember the excessive amounts of candy and presents that can leave my children’s perspectives on reality a little skewed. I was wandering the aisles of a few stores looking for some ways to dress up our routine day-to-day this time of year, when I found a vast assortment of advent calendars themed for every character you could possibly image. But one thing was the same, they all held candies behind each thin paper door waiting to be ripped open by my 3-year-old. There has to be another way, something as fun but less influential of “hey, every day you get a piece of candy,” you know for life after Christmas…
It was when I was digging through my homeschooling corner later that night that I gave my foam alphabet pack of letters a second glance. That’s it! For each day, I will put a single letter inside of my reusable advent calendar and over time we will see how the letters form words that create a message from Santa. This morning, without missing a beat, I rushed to my craft closet to swipe an “H” to place inside of the little red bag for December 1st before my 3-year-old came bursting into the playroom.
“It’s December 1st!” I shouted, “Do you know what that means?”
My son looked back at me in utter bewilderment.
“Santa left our first clue for his message to us–our first letter is in the bag marked with the number 1!”
Excitement immediately washed over his face as the corners of his mouth curved up to boast a big, toothy grin. He began to hop in his seat, bursting with excitement to go unfold the mystery behind why lied within bag number 1.
The beauty is not only are we fueling the magic and mystery of Christmas, but we are also working on letter recognition, each letter’s sound, and building words for emergent readers. That rings up “win-win-win” on my motherhood slot machine and coins are spewing onto the floor. (Okay, my imagination went a little far there..) In case you are curious, or are needing a little inspiration of your own, I figure each day’s bag will hold a letter leading up to a message along the lines of, “Hello Merry Christmas Love S.” (S for Santa; hey with 24 days, you only get 24 characters–Twitter has nothing on this.) But what is fun is you can personalize it to include your little one’s name within the message, the possibilities aren’t endless, but they are pretty darn close. Don’t feel discouraged if you start it a day (..or five after the fact, thankfully your little one will not get the gist! The light gray link above offers free one-day shipping to Amazon Prime holders if need be.)
Share the inspiration, and please comment below if you have any other creative ways you use your reusable advent calendar! Happy Holidays!