I love the anticipation and excitement of the lead up to Christmas, and this year, more so than ever, I want to make it especially magical. My hope is that we will be finished with our North America project by the end of November so that we can spend the whole of December indulging ourselves with Christmas merriment!
Today I would like to share with you how I go about planning for advent.
Laf & Lof: Our Kindness Elves
When Bean was 2 years old, I customised some old and tatty looking dolls house people to make a set of Kindness Elves. I crafted them robes, cloaks and pointed hats out of felt, then embroidered them with festive details. They're not perfect, and often need minor repairs, but they are 100% unique and very much loved. Bean named them Laf and Lof.
On the 1st December each year a small door appears on the skirting board in our living room. Our sweet little elves join us for the 24 days of Advent, bringing with them little notes, gifts and activity suggestions each morning, with the overall aim of helping us to spread festive cheer. They have become an important part of our family advent tradition, and I feel confident that these elves will be passed down to my grandchildren one day.
I'm pretty sure that, at 9 years old, Bean is aware that Laf and Lof are not real, in the same way that she is beginning to question the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Father Christmas. She is either choosing to indulge me and is happy to go along with the magic, or she is still slightly on the fence. This year she has asked for Laf and Lof's door to appear in a different place each morning, so that she can go hunting for them. I'm feeling especially excited for this challenge!
Read on to find out how I go about planning activities for Laf and Lof.
Our Advent Spiral
Another way that we mark the passing of time is by using our handmade Advent Spiral. You will find full instructions on how to make one like this in my 24 Days of Advent Magic PDF Guide. Each day, we add a marble to our spiral, providing a physical and visual way of marking the countdown to Christmas. The marbles can be substituted for a Father Christmas figurine, crystal or other small object which you move along the spiral each day. A simpler version of the spiral could also be made out of paper.
Winter Inspired Loose Parts Advent Calendar
When Bean was around 3 years old, and ready to understand the concept of an advent calendar, I was keen to find an alternative to the chocolate filled ones available on the high street. I simply wasn't comfortable with her having chocolate for breakfast every day in the lead up to Christmas, at that age.
I picked out a beautifully illustrated traditional calendar for her (similar to the ones that you can find at Myriad Natural Toys here) which seemed to satisfy her for that year at least. However, the following year I felt that she was ready for a little bit more.
So, to cut a long story short, I made her a Winter Inspired Loose Parts Advent Calendar, and for the past few years we have recycled the elements in various ways for advent. This year we will have the loose parts available for decorating our mantlepiece and for play. I have a handful of these left in my online shop, and will be discontinuing these once my current stock has sold out, so this may well be your very last chance to purchase one.
We have a lovely selection of Christmas books (some of which I have shared in this blog post) which we will read together over the course of Advent. I wanted to share a few with you that are Advent specific, including a new addition for this year.