Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Meaningful Advent Calendar - With No Clutter!

Up until recently, I bought  little gifts for my children and foster children to open every day of December until Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this, but this year I'm going to do something different. I'm going to write to each of my children a little email note stating something I appreciate about him/her ... something nice for grown or older children.

If you're feeling like your kids don't need a bunch of little tchotchkes to clutter up their lives (or your house), you may want to try a no-clutter advent, too. Provide experiences rather than clutter. For example,
- you could stick folded up notes on your calendar with an experience for each day
- or get an advent calendar that has little drawers in it and place your notes inside the drawers
- or put your notes in their stockings.
However you want to do it, here are some ideas for experiences to include in your advent:

Pick out a tree together and decorate while Christmas music is playing
Make popcorn garlands for your tree
Watch a Christmas movie together
Make a snowman
Go sledding
Make cookies or breads for a neighbor
Go ice skating
Decorate the house or your child's room for Christmas
Have the whole family sleep under the Christmas tree
Have your child draw a picture for grandparents and mail it
Make a video and send to grandparents or other family who may live far away
Read a short Christmas book (or chapter in a book) together
Visit a live nativity
Act out the Christmas story from Luke 2
Make simple Christmas gifts for friends and/or family
Go to a Christmas play, ballet or concert
Donate canned goods to a shelter
Make a Gingerbread house
Look at Christmas lights in your town
Cut strips of wrapping paper and start a chain garland. Have each person who comes into your home sign a strip, date it, and add it to the chain. Add to the chain every year.
Play a game of your child's choice
Make and decorate Christmas cookies
Look at old pictures or movies of the family
Work together to make a dessert your family likes to eat at Christmas
Go out to eat at a special restaurant
Pay off someone's layaway at K-Mart
Make Christmas ornaments
Attend your church's Christmas program
Go to a movie
Recall favorite Christmas memories together
Make your own Christmas cards
Attend a Christmas Eve service and open one gift afterward
Watch your town's Christmas tree lighting celebration
Donate toys to Angel Tree, Toys for Tots or similar programs
Host a Christmas party
Give a goat, chicken or soccer ball to a poor child around the world (World Vision has a Christmas catalog of such gifts)
Provide babysitting for a single mom or dad
Wrap Christmas gifts
Send a care package to a service man or woman overseas
Sing Christmas carols at a nursing home

What a meaningful Christmas! You're spending time with your child, sharing memories and talking together as you go. It's a bit time consuming, but many of the experiences are things you'd want to do anyway with your child. It just makes it a little more special when each day is a surprise.

More on having a clutter-free Christmas:

Meaningful Gifts with No Clutter
Create Clutter-Free Zones Where Clutter is Off Limits
Three Steps to Decluttering (printed book and ebook)