You can’t plan life. No matter how hard you try.
* I wrote this blog post this morning, when I had a very different day planned. No matter how much we plan and prepare, life happens. Read until the end to see what I mean.
It's the first of December and as usual I'm fashionably late with making my advent calendar BUT, it will be ready for this evening :)
I've long admired all the beautiful advent calendar's pictured on Instagram and Pinterest but shockingly this is the first year I've actually had time to put one together (even though I've just moments ago stuffed the last envelope and have still yet to string it up let along decide what to string the pockets up to (Ideally I'd like a beautiful branch to hang them from on the wall but it's been non stop rain for days and days and I've left it too late to dry one off so I'm thinking it'll have to be a dowelling rod from one of the teepees!).
With the kids now being 11 and 14 it's high time we experienced this type of count down to Christmas. For several years now we've been gifted a Jacquie Lawson advent calendar by a special relative, which the kids adore and look forward to each year but with the current COVID, and general world situation being as it is we need some more small things to look forward to in this dark (and extremely wet season).
There’s loads of inspiration for how your calendar could look over on Pinterest here. I folded some strips of brown paper, cut into rectangles (with the fold at the bottom) and stitched up the sides with my sewing machine as that was easy for me to do, but paper sandwich bags are just as good.
I've not gone for lots of gifts in each pocket, about 2 small gifts each and lots of little seasonal treats such as mini gingerbread folk, chocolate pretzels and candy canes (all from Hema.nl), but the main point is the opening itself and the little notes in to read each day.
Something to do, something to think about, something to make them smile.
Here's a list you are welcome to copy and paste or take inspiration from if you'd like to do something similar, it's not too late! Even if you start it in the next few days the kids will still love it.
1. Put on a Christmas playlist and set the table for dinner, make it special, use the 'good glasses', even if we only have water, light some candles, maybe even a tablecloth! :)
2. Play a game after dinner, your choice.
3. Write a letter and post it to someone. (included some little stickers for on the envelope)
4. Make gingerbread cookies (accompanied by a mini gingerbread cookie cutter from Dille & Kamille). I made sure this one was at the weekend.
5. You need this. *inside is a plastic free chap stick for Dexter by Kneipp.
6. Watch a Christmas movie together.
7. Design a Christmas card. *includes a little blank card and envelope.
8. Go for a family walk in the dark to see some Christmas lights in the neighbourhood. *includes some mini fairy lights to decorate the mouse house.
9. Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself.
10. Make cookies and take some to the neighbours.
11. Make a wish upon a star. *includes a gold paper star, you write your wish on the back and sleep with it under your pillow.
12. Make/write some Christmas cards.
13. Take turns to play a Christmas song and dance around the kitchen together.
14. Write down 10 things you are grateful for.
15. Watch a Christmas film together.
16. Make a Christmas playlist for in the car.
17. Make festive hot chocolates. *includes a little sieve for cacao or cinnamon. I found one in Dille & Kamille.
18. FaceTime someone for a chat.
19. Put on the Christmas Dee-Dee-Boppers and sing a Christmas song! *My mum sent Christmas dee-dee-boppers a few years ago, but making Christmas paper hats is also fun. I like to use brown paper, easy to recycle. I use a white Posca pen to decorate, from my local art shop.
20. Sparkle. *includes a hair elastic with lurex thread from De Kleine Parade.
21. Make a reading list for 2022.
22. Make a list of 5 things you like about the person to your right. Read them out to each other.
23. Make a list of goals for yourself or together as a family for 2022.
24. Wish upon a Christmas star. *includes a gold paper star, you write your wish on the back and sleep with it under your pillow.
25. Write down your wishes for yourself, pop them in the little white envelopes enclosed, seal them up and open them next Christmas eve, see how much you've changed x
At lunch time today, just as I was finishing this blog post our son fell on his way home from school and broke his leg. I’m now sat in a hospital room waiting for a doctor to talk to me. It’s twenty to eleven at night. Dexie is on morphine, his femur is snapped in two. He’s being incredibly brave and it’s heartbreaking to see him in pain.
Tomorrow strangers will cut his leg open and pin it back together and I am grateful. Grateful we have this care available to us and grateful it’s not worse than it is.
Hug those babies tight, they will always be our babies. Don’t take anything for granted. Make the cookies today, play the silly games, have a kitchen disco on a Tuesday evening, have allllll the cuddles and talk about EVERYTHING, life changes in s split second. Don’t stress about the ‘stuff’.
Tonight I’m sad, sad for the Christmas holiday to see our family that we probably can’t go on, to maybe see a poorly grandma at what could be her last Christmas. Sad for Dexie who can’t ride his new mountain bike or sit at his keyboard for many weeks to come. Sad that he can’t take his Sinterklas surprise into school tomorrow that he worked so hard on. But I’m oh so so grateful that he’ll be ok. He’ll be ok. He’ll be ok. x