”I’m participating in the Spend-Less Holidays: Saving While Savoring the Season Blog Carnival, hosted by The Frugal Fil-Am and Dainty Mom. We’ll be sharing our tips on how to spend less this holiday season, so that we can have a more meaningful Christmas. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”
As I had written in my post last November 5, my family will be having a K.I.S.S. Christmas this 2012. There, first on my list on how we intend to celebrate this season in a simple yet significant and meaningful way is (drum roll please)…No more Christmas tree! Call me a Scrooge but I gave it some deep thought and my inner voice told me that if I really want a K.I.S.S. Christmas, then focus on the real reason for this season. Is it the Christmas tree which we tend to elaborately decorate or the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ? So…no Christmas tree! We’ll just have our Nativity or Belen, in Filipino.
This is actually going to be my first Christmas, in my 43 years, that I won’t have any Christmas tree! Am I being a mean mom to our 14- and 11-year old daughters?
To make up for this quite radical decision I’ve made, I wanted to do something that our girls would still enjoy (and not hate me for me and my crazy idea!) and hopefully, even remember more. I’ve come across projects like a Jesse Tree and different versions of an Advent Calendar but the printables were too kiddie for our teen and pre-teen girls. So, I searched and searched for free downloads and printables that would be easy and fast to do. I even prayed hard about it, asking our Lord to show me that specific link on a DIY project for this Christmas, if He would really want me to do something meaningful with and intentional for our girls. My prayer was answered. In my mind, I wanted to try doing an Advent Calendar, which is really a Countdown to Christmas kind of calendar. It was going to be my first time to try making one, if ever. Search after search, and after feasting on eye-candy pins on Pinterest, I landed on this pdf file which I then immediately printed out and started to follow its step-by-step instructions (It’s easy!):
It’s a good thing that I already had all the materials needed and I didn’t have to spend a single centavo for anything! Nada! Talk about spend-less! Everything on the materials list were common art supplies I had in stock, all ready to be used. (If you don’t have scrapbook paper, like the 12×12 size, you can definitely make do with other materials available locally or whatever you may have in the house. For the 8.5×11 size, I simply printed out on board or cardstock paper Christmas scrapbook designs and they’re for free! All you need to do is input the password given then print away! You can even just use leftover or scrap Christmas wrappers and paste them at the reverse side of your activities printouts, to give the cards that Christmas Holiday theme. A great way to recycle those gift wrappers, too! Sticker paper can also just be substituted with ordinary blank paper and glue.)
What I really had to spend quite some time on was the 24 activities for the 24 countdown cards. I didn’t want to do the a-treat-or-candy-a-day kind of calendar, so I had to think of activities that I know we would all enjoy and not be stressed about! I also made sure that what we’d be doing would (1) require no or frugal spending, (2) allow us to do those simple things we are not able to do on our regular homeschooling days because of our busy schedules, and more importantly, (3) would mean spending more quality time together, as a family or on a one-on-one basis.
So, for our teen and pre-teen girls, Arielle and Kayla, here are a few samples of the activities on our 2012 Countdown to Christmas Calendar. (The pages on the pdf file for this would allow you to type your own):
- Choose your dessert!
- Movie or tv night!
- Make someone smile (happy) with your words!
- Make someone smile (happy) with your actions!
- You can stay up to 10:30 pm tonight!
- Watch a cartoon or kiddie show on tv!
- Visit the Blessed Sacrament and have a quiet time with God!
- Look at old photos together (If old videos would play, watch them too!)
- Let’s take a walk outside!
- Surprise Lolo and Lola with a phone call!
It was actually fun and easy to put everything together. It just took me around a day and a half to complete ours. Just in time for the countdown to begin on December 1.
I’m really thankful that, in the nick of time, I was able to come up with something as meaningful (or maybe even more?) as the symbol and tradition we’ve had for years…the Christmas tree. I am excited and am looking forward to doing this! I’m also hoping that this Calendar would be something our family, most especially our girls, would enjoy, treasure, and keep in their memories of Christmas. Who knows? This might be the start of a new Christmas tradition for us 🙂
Let the countdown begin!
Do check out the rest of our Spend-less Christmas Carnival participants!