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Advent CLAWendar

diy holiday Dec 04, 2019

I knew I wanted to make an advent calendar focused around activities this year. I considered a lot of options like date-specific things that were planned each day, i.e. going to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, but ultimately I decided that when I plan too much and get too technical, it becomes more stressful and I'm not about that life. Plus, the surprise factor is fun for both of us! Also, concerts are expensive *shrug*

Back in 2016. Wait, 2015? I can't remember. Doesn't matter. Back when I had a house full of people, we did a "staycation" where we spun a wheel (this is the one - it's magnetic and we stuck it to the fridge) to determine what activity we would do each day. The kids freaking LOVED it. So I applied that concept in a new way. Introducing:

The Advent CLAWendar 

Every morning when my son is done with breakfast, he plays to see what we get to do that day after school. It's super fun. I'm not gonna lie, I like it too.

The Supplies:

  • This claw machine
  • Easter Eggs. I had Easter eggs already, which are a great size for this toy. I needed something that could be opened and hold a note and a little piece of candy. Would little Christmas ornaments or something be cuter? Yep. More hassle? Yep. Work smarter, friends. Kids don't care what the prize comes in, they care about playing the game! How fun would it be to include one golden egg with a super special prize in it?
  • List of activities. See my list below and feel free to take some to do with your family!
  • Candy. I used leftover Halloween candy, ha. Listen. I don't need more candy in my house, okay?

The Activities:

In no particular order, these are the activities in the eggs:

  • Collect towels and pet supplies and donate them to the animal shelter
  • Go buy and donate food to the food pantry
  • Make paper snowflakes together
  • Go ice skating
  • Decorate a gingerbread house - I got this little village and this tiny house (!) Legit one of my life goals is to own a tiny house on some land, so I couldn't pass this up for $5.
  • Read a Christmas book together - this is the one we're going to read
  • Make hot cocoa and watch a Christmas movie together
  • Go to the mall and shop for Christmas presents
  • Bake cookies for the fire fighters at the fire station
  • Go on a Christmas light scavenger hunt
  • Make snowman truffles 
  • Pack a Christmas care package to mail to someone
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Make Grinch kabobs and have snack dinner
  • Do a Christmas craft - this one, specifically
  • Make reindeer food and have game night
  • Go visit Santa
  • Do Christmas mad-libs
  • Open a present
  • Stay up late for movie or game night
  • Go see a movie in the movie theatre
  • Wrap Christmas presents
  • Donate toys you don’t play with anymore to charity
  • Christmas pancakes for dinner

Most of the activities are free or inexpensive. It's about spending time together and helping people, not necessarily spending tons of money.

Something we also do every year is adopt an angel to buy Christmas presents for. I didn't include it in the activities list because usually those gifts need to be donated by early to mid December and I didn't want to take the chance that we wouldn't make it. 

Something else I started this year is a little Christmas village. Almost the entire thing are pieces from this collection and it's on super sale right now! My son loves to look at them in the store, and I know he will love to set it up each year, even as a reluctant teenager. This year I got some basics and a couple bigger pieces - a tiny house (I'm serious, I will have one one day and I'll live in it or Airbnb it out and you can come stay in it) and a carousel that moves - and each year we will choose a new piece to add to it. I think it will be a fun tradition! Again, not super expensive (when you get them on sale, ha!) and something we will do together. That's what's most important.

Notes on the claw machine

 I bought this one. It's smaller than I thought it would be (heh), but it works as it should and I like it. No complaints. It comfortably holds about 9-10 Easter eggs in 1 layer, so I will add eggs in after a few days to get up to 24. If you have something else that isn't as slippery - like small stuffed toys or fun size candy, then you could fit more because the claw can grip those things better. My son loves it, and he's excited to keep it as a toy after we're done using it for our advent CLAWendar!

Note: This blog post uses affiliate links. If you're going to shop, I appreciate you using my links! I may receive a small commission, and that's one of many ways I earn money so that I'm able to pay my bills. Thank you so much!

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