This Christmas, ditch the store-bought advent calendar in favor of a trip around the world. Rather than snacking on low-grade chocolate that will rot their teeth, your child will learn about holiday traditions across the globe.
Creating Your Global Advent Calendar
The fun begins when you make the calendar, together! Choose twenty-four images to represent various countries around the world. These can be magazine cutouts, drawings, or photographs.
Let your kid choose the places and it will be even more exciting for them when it comes time to “visit” each one. Glue each image to a square piece of card stock, and number them 1-25. The last one, on Christmas Day, will showcase one of your own family traditions!
Time to Ditch the Kids
Now it’s time for the kids to go out and play, while you finish up. There are three options at this point, depending on your available time (and patience). On the back of each card you can:
- Keep it simple – include a couple of sentences about one holiday tradition for each country.
- Make it hands on – include a recipe, craft, or other activity, so your kids can really experience the tradition.
- Mix it up – surprise your kids by sprinkling in an activity once or twice a week.
Some helpful advice: Google is your friend. It only took me a few minutes to find World Holiday Traditions and Christmas Around the World.
Bringing it Home
Last but not least, card number 25 should include one of your own Christmas Day traditions. For example, in our house we always have family over for dinner, so my kids will be asked to create a little thank you note for each guest telling them how excited we are to have them with us.
You can choose to display the cards like a calendar (try using clothespins) or just tuck them into a small box in numerical order. Either way, your kid is sure to enjoy this advent-ure!
24 Days Too Much?
Regardless of how you pull this off, try not to feel overwhelmed. This is meant to be fun for everyone, not just another thing to check off your to-do list.
If you have very little free time, consider a slight variation. Instead of 24 days of advent, celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas, which runs from Christmas Day through Epiphany Eve on January 5. This allows you to take a shorter trip around the world during a time when many families are already at home enjoying each other’s company.
Not enough time to make your own calendar?