the advent of advent

My mom is pretty crafty. She once made an Advent calendar out of matchboxes. Each box was wrapped in pretty paper, and decorated to look like a house, then mounted on a stiff poster with scenery. Each little house could be slid open to reveal a slip of paper with an Advent activity written on it. We visited dogs in the shelter, made paper stars for our windows, and ate Lebkuchen with hot cocoa.

My sister is pretty crafty too. Last year she did her own Advent activities, making pretzels and Christmas cookies and donating to the food pantry. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I combed her brain for ideas.

Because this year...I want to do it too.

I am so excited about Advent this year. Since around the time I graduated high school, it's been difficult to get into the Christmas spirit. There are no children around who believe in Santa, and my December days are usually fraught with the stress of finals. When I was teaching, I put Christmas lights around my whiteboard. The kids loved it. And that's all it took for me. A few souls joining in with my enthusiasm made the season so much brighter. And so Advent begins. This will be my little way of pouring some Christmas spirit into the world, with the hopes that some of it will be returned to me.

Only one rule: no stress. I don't want to ruin the whole thing by making it another check on my to-do list.

So here it is...

  1. Do a random act of kindness
  2. Put up the Christmas decorations
  3. Visit a Christkindlmarkt
  4. Watch a Christmas movie (this one will happen more than once)
  5. Snuggle with Maus
  6. Leave a card for the postman
  7. Make an orange garland
  8. Drink eggnog with Lebkuchen
  9. Mail a few Christmas cards
  10. Make a seasonal stovetop potpurri
  11. Make Christmas cookies
  12. Take some flowers to a friend
  13. Donate to a food pantry
  14. Make a crockpot stew
  15. Clean the apartment
  16. Visit the Faneuil Hall tree
  17. Drink some Gl├╝hwein with friends
  18. Start a cozy crochet project
  19. Make homemade (non-toxic) vapor rub
  20. Get coffee with a friend
  21. Buy myself a gift
  22. Donate to a charity
  23. Wrap presents
  24. Meditate
  25. Call a relative

I might be getting ahead of myself, but I'm already excited for next year too. I just know I'll get more ideas for great activities. Any suggestions are appreciated. ;-)

Until tomorrow, enjoy a few more of my favorite winter scenes...

sources found on my pinterest


  1. Oh Clair I LOVE this idea!!! I am really thinking Andrew and I should try this... He's a bit of a Grinch this year as he won't let me put up christmas lights in his apt :-(
    He does an advent calendar with his family each year, but because we're going to AZ for christmas, they aren't going to be doing it... His parents usually just put money or candy in their calendar but I REALLY like the activities idea!!!
    One thing I will add to my calendar if I do this is drive around to see all the christmas decorations and lights (that's one of my FAVORITE things to do each year)
    Love you Clair! :-)

  2. What a great list, I've never done an advent calendar, but it looks so fun. I plan on baking cookies this weekend for a cookie swap....and mulled wine is always on my list ;)

  3. I. LOVE. THIS. clair, you are brilliant. beyond brilliant. going to print this out and check it off as i prance along this christmas season! :)xo

  4. I love this idea! I've never done an advent calendar either. Sounds like you have a great list. Wonderful ideas-donating to charity and random acts of kindness :) Very inspiring. It's easy to lose sight of what's important this time of year.

  5. cool list! I'm in such a christmassy mood now :D

  6. Love this! What a great list and lovely activities to do.
    I love the photos you've got there ~ you are putting me in a very Christmassy mood as well ;)

  7. It's working already! Glad the cheer is going around.

    @ Laura: Tell Andrew he'd better be careful or he'll get coal in his stocking! And yesss...lights. Hopefully we'll see lots of these during city jaunts.

  8. How amazing!!! I love your advent calendar! I wish I was crafty. And, I'm still trying to picture how awesome your mom's matchbook calendar must have been. The craftiest thing I do over the holidays is make chocolate-dipped waffle cones. HA! My craftiness only come out in food, so that doesn't even count.
    So, tomorrow I have to watch a Christmas movie, according toy our calendar. Sounds good to me!


Thanks for making me smile. =)