Day One: Open the Christmas boxes.
Such a great day one activity! For starters, it's so obviously appropriate. It also meets the criteria I came up with this year: Whenever possible, choose an activity we would be likely to do anyway. I know that sounds lazy and cheap, almost like giving your kids toilet paper and toothpaste for their birthdays, killing two birds with one stone. What I found as a drawback last year, however, was that while almost all of the activities we did were fun, it at times became stressful to try to squeeze in so many extra things. So from here on out, some things will be extras, but some things will do double-duty. So yes, we would have opened the boxes of Christmas stuff even without the fancy advent calendar, but the chicks don't seem to mind.
Two chicks examining the bag of last year's Christmas crafts:
Will the world look different if I view it through this blue glass pear ornament?
Day Two: Simple Orange Pomanders.
Day Three: Painted Walnut Ornaments.
This is the second year we've made these with our neighbors downstairs. I don't yet have photos of the ones we made this year as we left them to dry in their dining room and haven't been back to pick them up. The original idea came from Design Sponge, but we changed it up a bit. Instead of cutting and bending wire and hot-glueing it into the walnut, we simply screwed in tiny eye hooks from the dollar store--super easy. Then you decorate them however you want--we used glitter last year and red, green, gold, and silver paint this year. Thread some ribbon, string, yarn, etc. through the eye hook, and you're good to go. Some photos of last year's:
Day Four: Chop down the Christmas tree.
The chicks and I got into the car the second it started to snow Saturday morning (and, I might add, it has hardly stopped since). We drove out into the country ("into another part of the land!" as Ninna put it) to a tiny town called Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir. According to 2006 statistics, 97.83% of the town speaks French only, and the percentage of bi-lingual citizens is exactly 0.00.
I've mentioned my experience speaking French in Montreal briefly on the blog, but the general gist is this: my brain becomes immediately paralyzed whenever I'm in a situation that forces me to speak French. I studied French in high school and in college, but anyone who has spent time in Montreal will tell you that the French you learn from a textbook in the States is not the French you hear in Montreal. When we first moved here, I literally couldn't understand a single word outside of "bonjour," as the pronunciation and emphasis are so drastically different. I've come a long way since then, and I can understand a lot more, but I still have a long way to go. And the fact that I mentally freak out whenever French is required of me is certainly not helping.
So, the Christmas tree farm in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir. Let's just say that after the hayride dropped us off and Ninna chose the first tree in sight (and I chopped it down myself, woohoo!), I was resorting to hand signals to let the absolutely-French-only hayride guy know that we wanted back on now, and not to wait for it to come around again, lest we freeze to the bone.
And it turns out that I should have actually looked at the tree Ninna ran to since it's extraordinarily wide and takes up half our living room. Oops! And, no pics. The snow was coming down pretty hard, and I was afraid of ruining my camera.
Day Five: Decorate the Christmas tree
Yep, another "we would have done it anyway" activity. This has actually been dragged out over many days since during our first attempt, I discovered that every single string of Christmas lights we had was broken. I still let the chicks go ahead and put ornaments on the bottom, so they could feel like they were decorating, but we didn't actually get lights on until yesterday.
Two chicks and a tree:
Back tomorrow with more Advent catch-up.