We've done the chocolate advent calendar with my four year old. We've even done the gift a day thing (although due to some rather testing behaviour it actually turned out to be a gift a week and he was lucky to get that many). So this year, I wanted to do something a little different to mark the days of December ... more of a focus on the ordinary (but lovely, of course) things rather than giving and receiving.
Okay. Yes. I'll admit it. This is my attempt to keep my little dudes from developing a chocolate-fuelled, wide-eyed case of the Christmas 'I wants'. Will it be a success? Well, even I can admit that the odds are against me. But I'm going to give it my best shot, nonetheless.
December chez-nous is going to be a charming affair (I'm in a state of delusion, aren't I? I blame those twinkly lights that are suddenly appearing all over the UK. They bring out the romantic nostalgic side of me that is normally kicked in to touch by a fierce sense of realism). But back to the days of December ... Each morning will see my little dudes awake and take a luggage label with the date on from our family pegboard.
On each label is a different activity - from listening to Christmas music to wearing Christmas socks, from watching Arthur Christmas to a 'midnight' trip to see the Christmas lights (anything done in the dark is 'midnight' according to my eldest). Yes, there are some days where the activity is to receive a sweet treat but on the whole, I've chosen simple things that we would probably do anyway, to be honest.
Much as making tea in a teapot and drinking it out of a cup and saucer feels more decadent than a tea bag in a mug, I'm hoping that the excitement of running downstairs and selecting the day's label combined with the anticipation of doing fun things as a family will make the passing of the days until the 25th simpler but warmer. There will be few chocolates, zero gifts but more of a shared sense of fun and excitement. I hope.
I want our home to be filled with happiness and the smell of sugary cookies baking in the oven. A home where the children are filled with the same joy at dancing around the living room to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer as they would be at tearing wrapping paper off gifts. I know it's going to be hard to achieve but this is my small attempt to hang on to some old school values and not be a marketeers dream and head straight to the shops for things that none of us need.
Fingers crossed (and prosecco in the fridge, just in case)!