Counting Down to Christmas

I’m not very good at waiting.

I seem to have created a child who’s also not very good at waiting.

To help her learn to wait, we have tried two different activities over the last couple of months.

Countdown Calendar

The weeks before our beach vacation dragged on and on. Grace didn’t understand “three weeks,” so we counted down the days on our calendar.

I put a giant beach-themed sticker on our departure date, and we put a small sticker on the calendar each night at bed time.

countdown calendar

By the night before, our calendar was covered with stickers, and Grace knew that meant we were ready to leave.

using our countdown calendar

It was a fun way for her to track each day as our vacation approached.

Grace asked if we could do another countdown calendar for Christmas, but since she asked back in August, I didn’t think it would work out all that well.

She hasn’t asked lately, but we are both having a hard time waiting.

We’re waiting for Thanksgiving.

We’re waiting for Christmas.

We’re waiting for the birth of our January baby.

There’s a lot of waiting going on around here. Plus, I’m on bed rest, which makes the days go so much more slowly than before.

We needed a way to count down the days. We needed something to look forward to each day.

Countdown Chain

Since our wait is spread across two pages of the calendar, I didn’t think stickers on the calendar would work as well as they had the last time. Instead, I decided to make a paper chain.

I thought my paper chain idea was clever and original. And then I started looking online for Christmas-themed activities, and I realized that dozens of other people have also down paper chain countdowns. Oh, well.

Paper chains are easy to make.

advent paper chain

You cut paper into strips (about 1.5″ inches wide and the width of a piece of construction paper), link them together, and staple them.

making a paper chain

To make the countdown chain activity more fun (and interesting, since I don’t have much else to do these days), I wrote one Christmas-themed activity on each paper before Joe stapled them together.

countdown paper chain

As we remove each link from the chain, we’ll do whatever I’ve written on it.

A Note About Reading

I didn’t make any links for reading activities. Grace and I read for at least an hour a day anyway, and I never put the Christmas books away.

We’ve been reading Who Is Coming to Our House? and Bear Stays Up for Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for weeks, so it wouldn’t make sense to say “Read XYZ story.” It wouldn’t be a special activity.

Christmas Activities for our Countdown Chain

  1. Bake cookies
  2. Wrap presents
  3. Make paper snowflakes
  4. Make Christmas cards
  5. Make a hand print wreath
  6. Learn & color the 12 days of Christmas
  7. Make & decorate a paper Christmas tree
  8. Make a Christmas shape book
  9. Make reindeer food
  10. Make a garland from dyed pasta
  11. Make reindeer from Nutter Butter cookies {we did these last year, and they were awesome}
  12. Make a Christmas tree from an ice cream cone
  13. Make a gingerbread house (from graham crackers)
  14. Make popsicle stick ornaments
  15. Write a letter to Mrs. Santa (Grace is seriously terrified of Mr. Clause)
  16. Make peppermint bath scrub to give as a gift
  17. Make snowman blocks
  18. Color Christmas presents (from the Christmas tot book)
  19. Make a birthday card for Jesus
  20. Match candy cane letters (from the Christmas tot book)
  21. Make button candy canes
  22. Make hand print magnets
  23. Celebrate J is for Jesus
  24. Make a Christmas symbols mini book
  25. Play Candy Cane Colors game
  26. Play a snowflake matching game
  27. Make a Jesus Loves Me mini book
  28. Make a birthday cake for Jesus
  29. Paint our finger nails and toe nails
  30. Make homemade ice cream
  31. Make salt dough ornaments
  32. Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes
  33. Write a letter to Evelyn, the child we sponsor in Ghana
  34. Make a Gifts for Jesus poster
  35. Put up a special tree in Grace’s room
  36. Make a light up cake
  37. Sew paper stars
  38. Make festive colored popcorn
  39. Bake pies
  40. Make pine cone bird feeders
  41. Make fancy place cards or placemats for Thanksgiving

Advent Traditions

Our Christmas countdown chain is totally separate from our advent traditions.

Beginning on November 28, we’ll celebrate Advent with an advent wreath, Jesse tree, and nightly prayer and Bible readings.

I have been looking forward to Advent since the summer; it’s a time of learning, hope, happiness, and anticipation.

I’ll share more about Advent in the weeks ahead.

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© 2010 – 2013, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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