Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent

I only took two things from my Dad's house after he died.  There were the tractor drawings he did in elementary school that are hanging in the boys' room, and there's this calendar.  So many sweet memories of waking up every morning in December and fighting with Corey and Steve to move the mouse.  Even when we were in High School and way too old for it, one of us would always pull it out of the trunk and pester Dad until he picked up some candy.  I can still remember the exact sensation of reaching into the pocket with one finger to fish out an m&m.

Ever since I left home, I'd wanted one of my own.   Of course there is no shortage of advent calendars out there- really gorgeous ones, clever DIY ones, grocery stores ones with the cardboard doors, and classic Nativity ones that probably fit the meaning of Christmas a lot better than a mouse with a polka-dot bowtie.  But none of them held the magic this one does.

Last year, we introduced it to the boys.  Each day they got an animal-shaped pretzel after they moved the mouse.  Back then, they weren't following any kind of diet, but Lwasn't two yet, so we didn't want him having any candy, even for holidays.  Every day M would dutifully move the mouse, report the date and how many days left until Christmas, and then pass out the pretzels. 

This year, I guess the boys will fight over moving it, just like we always did.  L is too smart and too stubborn to let M run a one-man-show this year.

I even have a dye- and artificial flavor-free treat that I could use in the pockets.  But I have another plan up my sleeve this year. (Don't worry, I have a plan for those treats. Stockings!)

I don't know who started it, but I've seen this great idea on pinterest and all over the blogworld.  You gather up all your Christmas books, borrow enough from the library to make 24, wrap them up, and let the kids choose one every night to read together as a family before bed.  I love this.  It's an advent calendar, presents, a tradition, and books all rolled into one.  What could be better?

Tonight I wrapped the library books in garish green paper I found at my school's Sweety Shop.  I'll wrap the rest (from home and my classroom) after we get some of that lovely Ikea red and white striped wrapping paper.  That way I can send the library books back before school breaks for winter, and the boys can continue opening our own books during Christmas vacation.
The green on the wrapping paper isn't actually as hideous at it looks in this picture.  But almost.

Here's hoping that they haven't all been unwrapped by the time I wake up tomorrow morning!

8 comments:

  1. My husband's family had an Advent calendar very much like yours! My MIL still puts it out each year. I love that you have continued the tradition at your house! I hope the boys have fun trying to get to the mouse first this year! :)

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    1. Isn't that great? Traditions are what makes a holiday feel like a holiday to me. Even as a kid. I hope my boys feel that way, too.

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  2. Oh my god I love that book idea!! I love reading, loved it as a kid and my favorite memories are reading books with my family.

    I always wanted an advent calendar, but we never had one :( I always felt left out, especially since we celebrated Christmas. I totally recognize yours though, and they are my favorite!

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    1. Isn't it awesome?? It's the kind of thing that I always seem to hear about 2 or 3 days after it's already started, so I have to save it for next year. But this time I heard about it with just enough time to pull it off. I had to stay up late wrapping books last night, but I didn't mind because I had glee on.

      You should totally pick up an advent calendar for you and B!

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  3. The calendar is awesome! Although we don't celebrate Christmas, I can think of a few occasions we can use it to count down.

    And a new story every night is also great. Even in my teens, I couldn't go to sleep unless I read a book, even if a few pages :)

    This is going to make beautiful memories for your boys :)

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    1. Thanks, Xae! It's true, you could count down to anything. Half the fun of something special is all the anticipation. :)

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  4. Brilliant. I love the idea of wrapping up library books!

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    1. Isn't that clever? I always feel like we're overwhelmed with stuff and don't want to add more to all the piles everywhere. Library books are a perfect compromise and my kids have been thrilled to open them for the last few days.

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