Advent is a season of preparation and a tradition that I am prioritizing. See my post about “Prioritize, do what you love, and toss the rest” which is a part of my current mini series “Thriving in the Holidays.” 
I did some advent traditions as a child, and my husband’s family did a traditional advent wreath that often had a different annual spin on it. They received a book on the first Sunday of advent and gathered each Sunday in December as a family to light a candle on the advent wreath and read a part of the story of Jesus.
I have so many wonderful traditions I want to introduce, but also want to be able to maintain or stray from them as I see fit. I found this idea for an advent calendar that would remain consistent – at least the visual aspect would stay the same. But that I could alter to my liking, or my kids needs/interests, each year. 
Twenty-five small gray pockets just cut and simply sewn (white numbers were just cut out of white felt and glued on with elmers glue) allow me to stuff them with different things each year.
This year our list looks like this:
1. Bring out your nativity and re-tell the story.
2. Enjoy hot chocolate as a family.
3. Make paper snowflakes.
4. Sing Christmas Carols and have a dance party.
5. Bake cookies and decorate them.
6. Pick one of your toys to give to charity.
7. Take treats to the neighbors.
8. Go visit Santa in downtown. (we like to keep it local)
9. Read Christmas Stories. (Each year we pick a new story to add to our collection)
10. Christmas Movie Night
11. Think of ten things we are thankful for.
12. Do a Christmas craft.
13. Bake a birthday cake for Jesus.
14. Play outside.
15. Eat dinner on the floor by the Christmas tree.
16. Write thank you cards to family and friends.
17. Read the nativity story.
18. Have breakfast for dinner and sing songs while Papa plays the guitar.
19. Build a fort and sleep in it by the tree.
20. Go see Christmas lights.
21. Draw pictures of the fun things we have done this Holiday season. (This year Cashel will just color a Christmas picture)
22. Create a snowscape with action figures and shaving cream.
23. Wrap Christmas gifts and make reindeer food.
24. Leave cookies and milk out for Santa (don’t forget something for the reindeers)
25. Find the pickle on the tree (stay tuned for more about this tradition) do our family paper chain tradition, pray together, and ENJOY each other!
They are hung in our dining room, over a mirror, which is a main focal part in our home. Just from red yarn with mini clothespins. Easy to hang and easy to change around if I need to.
Here is the picture from December 1, 2013 as Cashel opened up his Fisher Price nativity set for the first time. I bought it last year after the holidays on a great sale! I think I only paid 40% of the ticket price!
He is in love.
Stay tuned for a list of other Christmas traditions that are on our list this season. Things we wanted to do but wanted flexibility on so we didn’t include them in the calendar.
The great thing about this calendar I chose to make is that you can select the daily tasks as you go, as your schedule permits, or for us we sat down at a family calendar meeting and chose the activities according to our schedule. However, we can always move tasks around if something doesn’t work out. We also entered them into our online calendars so that we can both look ahead and anticipate what is coming or make changes.

It let’s us prioritize, be intentional, and also have some flexibility.

Such a wonderful tradition.
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    1. Thanks Sara! I am all about tradition. Sometimes I have to remind myself to enjoy and not focus so much on it… but I do think that the anticipation and preparation side can be really important and traditions can help feed that and be SO much fun too!

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